Quick Facts 2019: Sex Education in America, part 1
Teen Sexual Behavior
Among 15-17 year olds, 69% of boys and 72% of girls have never had sexual intercourse.1
- Among 15-17 year olds, 52.4 % of boys and 60.3% of girls have never had any sexual contact with the opposite sex, which includes sexual activities that are not limited to sexual intercourse.2
- Between 1991 and 2017 the percentage of high schoolers that never engaged in sexual intercourse increased by 32%.3
- In the past 26 years, the percent of high school females who are waiting for sex has increased 27%.4
- In the past 26 years, the percent of high school males who are waiting for sex has increased 38%.5
- The percent of black teens who have not had sex increased 193%, but the increase for black males was 297% between 1991 and 2017. This signifies the greatest improvement of
any other group.6
- Since 1991, teen birth rates have declined 67%.7
- 89% of all teen births are to unmarried parents.8
- The most recent data reports that about 29% of pregnancies among 15-19 year olds end in abortion, down from 46% in 1986.9
- Teen abortion rates are at their lowest point since abortion was legalized and just 24% of the peak rate in 1988.10
- The likelihood of using contraception increases the longer a teen delays sex, providing an additional reason to promote sexual delay. 11
- More sexually active high schoolers are using long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), but are failing to use a condom as well, in order to offer STD risk reduction.12
- Sexually active high school students were 13% more likely to use a condom in 2007 than in 2017.13
- 54% of sexually active high school students used a condom during last intercourse, the only contraception that also reduces the risk of acquiring an STD.14
1 National Center for Health Statistics. (2015, Nov) Key statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth– T Listing. National Survey of Family Growth. National Health Statistics Reports 2011-2015. Retrieved on February 16, 2018 at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/t.htm#teenagers Abma JC, Martinez GM. Sexual activity and contraceptive use among teenagers in the United States, 2011–2015. National health statistics reports; no 104. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017.
2 National Center for Health Statistics. (2011). Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: Data from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth. National Health Statistics Reports. 36 :17, 18
3 CDC (2018). High School YRBS: 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2018 at https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/index.htm
6 Ibid. Two decades ago nearly 9 in 10 black male teens had sex and now the number is slightly less than 5 in 10. While still too high, the improvement translates into more options and opportunities for these teens.
7 National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. (2016) National and State Date. Retrieved February 16, 2018 at http://thenationalcampaign.org/data/landing#page-content. This data is 2015 data. Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Osterman MJK, et al. Births: Provisional data for 2016. Vital statistics rapid release; no 2. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. June 2017. Available from: https://www.cdc. gov/nchs/data/vsrr/ report002.pdf.
8 Child Trends (2016, Nov). Teen Births. Page 2. Retrieved February 2018 at https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/13_Teen_Birth.pdf Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Ventura, S. J., Osterman, M. J. K., Curtin, S.C., & Mathews, T. J. (2013). Births:
Final data for 2012. National Vital Statistics Reports, 62(9). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr62/nvsr62_09.pdf
9 Kost K, Maddow-Zimet I and Arpaia A, Pregnancies, Births and Abortions Among Adolescents and Young Women in the United States, 2013: National and State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/us-adolescent-pregnancy-trends-2013.
11Abma JC, Martinez GM. Sexual activity and contraceptive use among teenagers in the United States, 2011–2015. National health statistics reports; no 104. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017.
12CDC (2018). Youth Online High School YRBS: 2017. Atlanta: author.
13CDC (2018). Youth Online High School YRBS: 2017, 2009. 62% of sexually active high school students used a condom during last intercourse in 2007 and only 54% did so in 2017.
14CDC (2018). Youth Online High School YRBS: 2017. Atlanta: author.