Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Rural women start having sex earlier, are likelier to have more kids, and use more reliable methods of birth control

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chart
A new analysis of federal data by the National Survey of Family Growth found that women in the rural U.S. tend to have sex earlier, and have more children than their urban counterparts. They are also more likely to report choosing long-term or permanent methods of birth control because more reversible methods like condoms are less likely to be accessible. The researchers analyzed responses from in-person interviews with more than 10,000 women ages 18-44, between 2011 and 2015.

"On average, women living in rural areas said they had their first sexual encounter earlier than women living in urban areas, according to the survey. The mean age of first sexual intercourse among women living in rural areas was 16.6 years old. For women living in urban areas, the average age of first intercourse was 17.4," Patti Neighmond reports for NPR.

About 41 percent of metro-area women had no children, significantly more than the 30 percent in rural areas. And women in rural areas are slightly more likely to have two or more children than women in urban areas are.

"When asked about contraception, one in five women in both groups reported they'd had sexual intercourse without using contraception. And, notably, more women in urban areas reported using less effective birth control methods to prevent pregnancy (a condom or withdrawal, for example) than their rural counterparts, who were more likely to use one of the most effective contraceptive methods — an IUD or sterilization," Neighmond reports.

Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, a research epidemiologist at the University of California, Davis, who wasn't involved in the study, told Neighmond that the difference in birth-control methods likely stems from the fact that women in rural areas can't access reversible methods of birth control as easily. "If we really want to help young women and teens have a healthy and safe sexual life, we need to get effective resources and education to them before 16," she said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Only then can we curb the birth rates in rural areas and affect changes across the board. Mainly, regarding social and political changes, and a movement away from conservative and/or Republican politics and social influences. That is at the core of why we hold interest in reproduction issues in rural areas. Not that it is a problem of single-parent households but of social activism and rerouting political influences to benefit the Democratic Party."