Contraceptive Use Among Black and African American Women: A Look at Racial Disparities in Utilization of Birth Control Methods


Uwaila Stewart

Faculty Mentor(s)

Tishra Beeson (Physical Education, School & Public Health)


This study aims to understand contraceptive disparities and identify opportunities to improve access to and utilization of high-quality contraceptive care for women who may experience a higher burden of unintended pregnancy and other disproportionate outcomes. The research questions are (1) do Black and non-Black women utilize any form of contraception at similar rates, (2) are there differences in whether or not women are using their preferred (first choice) contraceptive method, by race, and (3) are there differences in contraceptive method type reported between Black and non-Black women. This study used secondary data from an original survey done with non-random sampling fielded from 2014-2015 on family planning experiences of women receiving primary care in a community health center (FQHC) setting. A total of n=2,117 participants recorded responses to survey items, and respondent’s use of any FDA-approved contraceptive method was recorded. The findings show that while a majority of women reported using some form of contraception, approximately 1-in-4 women report not using a contraceptive method to protect against unintended pregnancy, and specifically, 1-in-3 Black women reported no contraceptive use. Future research should continue to investigate disparate experiences among Black and African American women receiving reproductive health care and how factors like access, cost, education of both the woman and health care provider, and community perceptions of contraceptive care could all affect disparities in contraceptive use. This study’s preliminary look into the racial disparities in contraceptive care creates a foundation for more research surrounding disparities and lack of access to high-efficacy contraceptives.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Contraceptive Care, Birth Control Methods, Diversity


6 thoughts on “Contraceptive Use Among Black and African American Women: A Look at Racial Disparities in Utilization of Birth Control Methods”

  1. Hi Uwaila, thanks for shining a spotlight of racial disparities within contraceptive use. I was not aware of the issue beforehand, and I learned a lot about the issue from the presentation. One question I have is would you recommend looking at this issue with other minority groups as well? Great presentation!

    1. Hi Joanna,
      Thank you so much for watching my presentation! I am glad that I was able to bring awareness to this important issue and that you were able to take some information away from the presentation. To answer your question, yes, I would definitely recommend continued research on this issue for other minority groups! When creating this presentation and doing my own research, it became very clear that this issue greatly affects all minority women. For example, while researching, I found that rates of high-efficacy contraceptives are also lower among Hispanic women. I think continued research into this topic with an expanded look into data surrounding all minority women would be very important and critical to how we move forward in providing better access to contraception.

  2. Uwaila, this presentation is very well put together. I love that you are shining a light on the disparities within minority communities in the United States. I think another recommendation would be to improve the physician-patient relationships with African American women and their doctors. But, education and access to health care and contraceptive options are also much needed in these communities as well. Nice job!

    1. Hi Kecia,
      Thank you for taking the time to watch my presentation, and for your feedback! I agree, building back patient-doctor trust among African American women and medical doctors is a very important part of combatting this issue and other issues surrounding women’s health. In my presentation, I touch on how racism and discrimination have impacted whether African American women trust their healthcare providers. By acknowledging the history of wrong that has been done to the community and working to regain trust, we will be taking a step in the right direction and helping to address an important aspect that has helped to create these disparities.

  3. Uwaila,
    Your presentation is well organized and easy to follow. I enjoyed the layout, it made it very easy to follow as you were discussing the findings within your study in regards to contraceptives and black women. I also like how you mentioned the limitations of your study and how it is solely to provide a foundation for future research into the matter. With that being stated, the only recommendation I would make in regards to your presentation would be having a survey of questions that ask participants why they are not on contraceptives. It would help show future researchers the start of underlying reasons why Black and African American women still have limited access to contraceptives even with the Affordable Care Act, as you mentioned causes questions on how truly effective it is. Well done!

  4. Hi Uwaila,
    Thank you for this informative presentation! I had no idea that there was also racial disparities in the kinds of contraceptives that African American women are likely to use compared to non-hispanic White women. You had such valuable information that was easy to digest and so well articulated.

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