Press release


August 27, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) – More youth are using contraception, according to the 2019 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, large disparities of usage still exist among youth of color.

The survey, which is conducted every two years, is the latest and reflects estimates of condom and contraceptive use among sexually active U.S. high school students. In 2019:

  • Condom use increased with 54.3% of youth reporting using a condom, as compared to 53.8% in 2017.
  • 89.7% of youth reported using some form of contraception the last time they had intercourse.

However, the survey also found that using no method to prevent an unplanned pregnancy was more common among Black youth (23.2%) and Hispanic youth (12.8%) compared to their white counterparts (6.8%).

“While we are encouraged to see the majority of young people are using contraception, we are still alarmed at the disparities among Hispanic and Black youth who are sexually active,” said Colleen Murray, Senior Science Officer, Power to Decide. “We also recognize this data further underscores the need to improve access to and information about condom and contraceptive usage among all youth.”

The survey also showed that only 9% of sexually active high school students reported using a method to prevent both sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy at last sexual encounter. In addition, youth reported the lowest levels of sexual activity since the survey began nearly 20 years ago, with only 27.4% of high school students reporting having sex, as compared to 47.8% in 2007.

“All young people deserve access to accurate and comprehensive high-quality sex education in order to make informed decisions about when to start a sexual relationship,” Murray added. “Given that most young people want to hear from the champions in their life, champions should have open conversations about sex, love, relationships and ultimately contraception. Talking is Power and providing them with the access and information they need ensures that all young people have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child.”

Power to Decide’s #TalkingIsPower program can help parents and champions to initiate conversations about sex, love, relationships and contraception. For various tools and resources visit #TalkingIsPower.

Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.