(HealthDay)—Almost two-thirds of U.S. women aged 15 to 49 years were currently using contraception in 2015 to 2017, according to a December data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D., and Joyce C. Abma, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, used data from the 2015 to 2017 National Survey of Family Growth to examine the current contraceptive status for U.S. women aged 15 to 49 years.

The researchers found that 64.9 percent of the 72.2 million U.S. women aged 15 to 49 years were currently using contraception in 2015 to 2017. The contraceptive methods most commonly in use were female sterilization, the oral contraceptive pill, long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), and male condoms (18.6, 12.6, 10.3, and 8.7 percent, respectively). LARC use was higher among women aged 20 to 29 years versus those aged 15 to 19 and 40 to 49 years (13.1 versus 8.2 and 6.7 percent, respectively); use was also higher among women aged 30 to 39 years (11.7 percent) versus those aged 40 to 49 years. There was no difference in current condom use among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic women (about 7 to 10 percent). With higher education, there was a decrease in female sterilization and increase in use of the contraceptive pill.

“Understanding variation in contraceptive use across social and demographic characteristics offers potential insight into larger fertility patterns, including birth rates and incidence of unintended pregnancies,” the authors write.

Source: CDC: Almost 65 percent of U.S. women currently using contraceptives