Jennifer Frost and Laura Lindberg of the Guttmacher Institute in New York said few U.S. studies ask women why they use contraception and what benefits they expect or have achieved from its use.
Frost and Lindberg surveyed 2,094 U.S. women receiving services at 22 family planning clinics nationwide.
Sixty-five percent of the women said they could not afford to take care of a baby at the time. Nearly 25 percent said either they or their partners were unemployed, and nearly all of those who had children said having more children would affect how much care they were able to provide for the children they already had.
Sixty-three percent of the women said contraception allowed them to take better care of themselves or their families, 56 percent said it allowed them to support themselves financially, 51 percent said contraception allowed them to complete their education or 50 percent said it allowed them to keep or get a job.
"Women value the ability to plan their childbearing, and view doing so as critical to being able to achieve their life goals," Lindberg said in a statement. "They need continued access to a wide range of contraceptives so they can plan their families and determine when they are ready to have children."
The study is scheduled to be published in the journal Contraception.