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

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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
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

» 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

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