(January 2008) The 2005 U.S. abortion rate was 19.4 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, a 9 percent decline from 2000 and the lowest rate since 1974. The finding came from a survey of all known abortion providers in the United States.

The authors of the study conclude that reasons for the decline in abortion rate may include improved access to and use of contraceptives or decreased access to abortion services. More than one-third of women ages 15 to 44 (35 percent) lived in counties with no provider in 2005. Eighty-seven percent of counties contain no provider.

Access to abortion providers varies considerably by region. In the West, 15 percent of women ages 15 to 44 live in counties with no provider. In the Midwest, half live in such counties. The same is true for the South (47 percent).

Slightly more than one in five pregnancies (22 percent) ended in abortion in 2005.

The study, “Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005,” can be found at: www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/4000608.pdf.

Sandra Yin, Editor, Population Reference Bureau