Abortion Counts and Rates

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The data presented here are based on the latest statistics available from the Federal government's Centers for Disease Control as of November, 2016. Note that it takes several years for the CDC to compile and publish the statistics, so they are always three to four years behind.

The CDC have been collecting these statistics for 40 years and your humble author of this article has been studying these reports for 30 years. Over this period of time the way they collect and report the data has changed. Sometimes they report in more or less detail, which is why some of the groupings on the charts below are inconsistent. There are some gaps where numbers appearing in reports for one year were not included in other years. Etc.

Abortions by Year

Percentage of Pregnancies
Ending in Abortion


Characteristic 1972 1976 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2011 2012 2013
Estimated total legal abortions (x1,000)1 587 988 1,298 1,329 1,430 1,211 1,108 1,093 1,008 961 921 873
Reported legal abortions (x1,000) 824 820 766 730 699 664
Abortions per 1000 live births2 180 312 359 354 345 311 246 238 227 219 210 200
Abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 13 21 25 24 24 20 16 16 15 14 13 13
Percentage distribution
Age group (years)
<=15 33 32 29 26 22 20 19 1 1 <1 <1 <1
15-19 17 15 13 12 11
20-24 33 33 36 35 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33
25-29 35 35 35 39 44 47 48 24 25 25 25 25
30-34 15 15 16 16 16
35-39 9 9 9 9 9
>=40 3 3 3 4 4
Race3
White 77 67 70 67 65 60 57 51 46
Black 23 33 30 30 32 35 36 41 44
Other 4 3 5 7 8 10
Hispanic origin
Hispanic 10 15 17 19
Non-Hispanic 90 85 82 81
Marital status
Married 30 25 23 19 22 20 19 15
Unmarried 70 75 77 81 78 80 81 85
Number live births4
0 49 49 58 56 49 45 40
1 18 21 19 22 24 27 28
2 13 15 14 15 17 18 20
3 9 8 5 5 6 7 8
>=4 10 8 3 3 3 4 4
Type of procedure 5
Suction Curettage 65 83 90 95 96 97 96 77
Sharp Curettage 23 10 6 3 3 2 2 <1
Intrauterine instillation 10 6 3 2 1 1 <1
Medical 1 1 1 1 <1 1 2 23
Other <1
Weeks of gestation
<=6 34 47 52 50 52 16 23 31
7 17 18 18
8 21 17 14
9-10 31 28 26 27 25 23 20 17
11-12 18 14 12 13 12 11 10 9
13-15 8 4 5 6 6 6 6 6
16-20 8 5 4 4 4 4 4 4
>=21 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1972 1976 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2011 2012 2013

Notes

1. California and New Hampshire quite reporting abortions in 1998. Maryland quit reporting in 2007. Alaska did not report from 1999-2002, Louisianna did not report in 2005, Oklahoma did not report in 1999, and West Virginia did not report in 2003 and 2004. Thus, the "reported" row shows the number of abortions reported for 52 "reporting areas" (50 states, DC, and New York City, which reports separately from the rest of the state) through 1997, but for only varying numbers of reporting areas from 1998 on. Thus the "reported" number of abortions can not be meaningfully compared from year to year after 1998. When it was reporting, California accounted for about 27% of all US abortions, so missing data from this state makes a huge difference. The other non-reporting states have smaller populations so they make less difference, but of course still skew the numbers.

Therefore, we have added an "estimate" row, which is our estimate of what the total would be if all states had continued to report. Note this is Pregnant Pause's estimate and not the CDCs. We calculate this estimate by taking the abortion ratio, i.e. the number of abortions as a percentage of live births, for those areas that did report, and multiplying this by the total number of live births nationwide. We then adjust this number to account for the fact that the abortion ratio in California and other non-reporting states is higher than in the rest of the country. When California was reporting, the abortion ratio including California was about 11% higher than the abortion ratio not including California. So our final estimate formula is abortion ratio X live births + 11%. Of course we don't know that California's abortion ratio goes up and down with national rates or remains higher by a consistent amount. That's why this is an estimate and not an exact number. As the estimate for 1998 is significantly less than the actual for 1997, our estimate may well be low. On the off chance that you have referenced this page in the past: We changed our method of estimating to something I think is more accurate in 2016, so the estimates you see now are not what you would have seen prior to 2016. Note we recalculated all estimates to make them consistent.

All other statistics in this chart are based on all 52 reporting areas through 1997, but only those who actually reported each year afterward, so numbers are not strictly comparable.

2. The source of data for the number of live births for the comparison was changed in 1996, so the numbers from 1996 on are not strictly comparable to the numbers before 1996. Also see Note 1 for changes in 1998.

3. Before 1985, statistics were kept as "white" and "non-white". From 1985 on, statistics are kept as "white", "black", and "other".

4. Before 1980, this is number of living children. From 1980 on, this is number of live births before the abortion.

5. "Medical" is non-surgical methods, such as RU-486. "Other" includes hysterotomy and hysterectomy and anything reported as "other". "Medical" is included with "Other" before 2005.


Sources:
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Surveillance Summaries, December 8, 2000. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2000;49 (No. SS-11).

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Surveillance Summaries, November 29, 2002. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2002;51 (No. SS-09).

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Surveillance Summaries, November 28, 2003. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2003;52 (No. SS-12).

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Surveillance Summaries, November 24, 2006. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2006;55 (No. SS-11).

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Surveillance Summaries, November 23, 2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2007;56 (No. SS-9).

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Surveillance Summaries, November 25, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2011;60 (No. SS-15).

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Surveillance Summaries, November 25, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2016;65(12);1-44.


Pregnant Pause Home Statistics Search this site

Posted Dec 29, 2000. Updated Jan 4, 2017.

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