Volume 34 - Article 40 | Pages 1129–1160 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

Understanding patterns of contraceptive use among never married Mexican American women

By Kate Choi, Erin R. Hamilton

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:19 Jun 2015
Date published:24 Jun 2016
Word count:6258
Keywords:contraceptive use, family planning, Mexican immigrants, racial/ethnic differences, United States of America
Additional files:readme.34-40 (text file, 3 kB)
 demographic-research.34-40 (zip file, 17 MB)


Background: Non-marital fertility differs considerably by race, ethnicity, and nativity. These differences arise largely from racial and ethnic disparities in contraceptive practices. Empirical work has not assessed the relative importance of the various mechanisms proposed to account for racial, ethnic, and nativity differences in contraceptive behavior among never married women.

Objective: Our objective is to describe racial, ethnic, and nativity disparities in contraceptive practices and determine the relative importance of the various mechanisms proposed to explain those disparities among never married, non-cohabiting women.

Methods: Pooling data from the 2006‒2010 and 2011‒2013 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), we compare the age- and parity-standardized patterns of contraceptive use among never married, non-cohabiting Mexican immigrants, US-born Mexican Americans, Blacks, and Whites. We also examine the extent to which socioeconomic characteristics, access to family planning, and attitudes towards family life give rise to group differences in patterns of contraceptive use.

Results: Never married, non-cohabiting Whites are more likely than their minority counterparts to use very effective methods of contraception. Socioeconomic disparities explain some of the group differences in contraceptive practice. Differing levels of access to family planning also explain a significant portion of the difference in contraceptive practice between Whites and Mexican immigrants.

Conclusions: Policies aimed at alleviating socioeconomic inequality and differential access to family planning services may be effective at reducing disparities in contraceptive use between White and non-White never married, non-cohabiting women, especially White/Mexican-immigrant differences.

Author's Affiliation

Kate Choi - University of Western Ontario, Canada [Email]
Erin R. Hamilton - University of California, Davis, United States of America [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Differences in occupational homogamy by race, ethnicity, and national origin: A social mobility strategy for Asian Americans
Volume 48 - Article 18

» Stability and outcome of interracial cohabitation before and after transitions to marriage
Volume 46 - Article 33

» The health of biracial children in two-parent families in the United States
Volume 41 - Article 8

» Gendered disparities in Mexico-U.S. migration by class, ethnicity, and geography
Volume 32 - Article 17

» Fertility in the context of Mexican migration to the United States: A case for incorporating the pre-migration fertility of immigrants
Volume 30 - Article 24

» Assimilation and emerging health disparities among new generations of U.S. children
Volume 25 - Article 25

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Contraceptive use and fertility transitions: The distinctive experience of sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 46 - Article 4    | Keywords: contraceptive use, family planning

» Low perceived susceptibility to pregnancy as a reason for contraceptive nonuse among women with unintended births
Volume 44 - Article 31    | Keywords: contraceptive use, United States of America

» Child poverty across immigrant generations in the United States, 1993–2016: Evidence using the official and supplemental poverty measures
Volume 39 - Article 40    | Keywords: racial/ethnic differences, United States of America

» Contraceptive use and lengthening birth intervals in rural and urban Eastern Africa
Volume 38 - Article 64    | Keywords: contraceptive use, family planning

» Migration, legality, and fertility regulation: Abortion and contraception among migrants and natives in Russia
Volume 38 - Article 42    | Keywords: contraceptive use, family planning