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In recent years, there has been a reduction in rates of teen pregnancy, births, and abortions.  Similarly there has been a drop off in the share of adolescents engaging in sexual activity. Nearly half (47%) of all high school students report ever having had sexual intercourse in 2013, a decline from 54% in 1991. More than one in ten (13%) female teens and one in six (17%) male teens had more than four sexual partners in their lives. One-third (34%) of high school students are currently sexually active, defined as having had sexual intercourse with at least one person in the previous three months.
One in ten high school students who dated or went out with someone within the previous 12 months reported having experienced dating violence. Twice as many young adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) compared to older adults.
NOTE: Totals do not round to 100% because some teens may use more than one method and other teens do not use any methods.
19% of currently sexually active high school students report that they or their partner used birth control pills to prevent pregnancy at last sexual intercourse.
Emergency contraceptive (EC) pills can prevent pregnancy when taken within a few days of unprotected intercourse.


IUDs have historically had high up-front costs with insertion and supplies typically costing between $500 and $1,000. Although birth rates have fallen for teens of all races and ethnicities, the rates for African American, Hispanic and Native American teens are over twice the rates of White and Asian American youth (Figure 2). Compared to older adults, sexually active teens and young adults are at higher risk for acquiring STIs, due to a combination of behavioral, biological and cultural factors (Figure 4).
HPV is the most common STI among teens, with some estimates reaching an infection rate of 35% of 14 to 19 year olds.35 Currently, there are two vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix) that protect against strains of HPV associated with cervical cancer and genital warts. Teens ages 15 to 19 and young adults ages 20 to 24 accounted for the most reported cases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea in 2012.
Despite the high rates of infection, many young women do not receive provider counseling on STIs. Health insurance coverage and the ability to pay for services affect teens’ access to reproductive health care. 38 states require some level of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion, up from 18 states in 1991. Despite this shift, recent data indicate that the rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among teens and young adults remain higher in the U.S.


Black high school students are more likely to have had intercourse (60%) compared to White (44%) and Hispanic students (49%).
Almost one-quarter (22%) of these students reported using alcohol or drugs during their most recent sexual encounter.
More than 10% of students reported experiencing physical violence, and 10% of students reported experiencing sexual dating violence. 17 White students (26%) were more likely to use birth control pills compared to Black (8%) and Hispanic (9%).18 Approximately 9% of teens used both condoms and one other method of contraceptive during last sexual intercourse. One type of EC pill, Plan B, is available without a prescription in-front-of-the-counter without age restrictions. Prior to many of the ACA insurance coverage benefits taking effect, approximately 25% of young adults 19 to 25 years old were uninsured and 15% were covered by Medicaid in 2012. This fact sheet provides key data on sexual activity, contraceptive use, pregnancy, prevalence of STIs, and access to reproductive health services among teenagers and young adults in the U.S.



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