Contraceptive Deserts

Jan 20, 2023
  • Description

More than 19 million women of reproductive age living in the US are in need of publicly funded contraception and live in contraceptive deserts. Living in a contraceptive desert means that they lack reasonable access in their county to a health center that offers the full range of contraceptive methods. Around 1.2 million of these women live in a county without a single health center offering the full range of methods. For all of these women getting contraception means having to do more than showing up to an appointment. They must find a babysitter, take time off work, or travel long distances to access their preferred birth control method. And they're not alone. 

We know that there are women across the US who aren't eligible for publicly funded contraception but still rely on the same health centers. Whether for convenience, privacy reasons, or instances of reproductive coercion, women who have insurance may still seek contraception at health centers that primarily serve low income women. It only tells part of the story to say that 19 million women live in contraceptive deserts.

This resource provides a visual description of where women in need can access birth control—and where they can't—across the country. As the map moves from dark purple to yellow to dark pink, access declines.

Contraceptive Deserts