Home / Health / Articles / How many abortions occur in the US?

In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of 625,978 abortions from 46 states and Washington, DC.[1] This is a 0.9% increase from 2020, but a 10.5% drop since 2012.

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There were an estimated 204 abortions for every 1,000 live births nationwide, or roughly one reported abortion for every five newborn children in 2021.

While nationwide abortion data has not been made publicly available through the CDC since Roe vs. Wade was overturned in June 2022, the organization’s data provides an overview of the demographics of abortion patients from 2012 up to 2021.

Where are abortions most common?

In 2021, Florida had the highest number of abortions out of any reporting area at 79,817 reported cases, followed by New York (63,487) and Texas (51,860).

New York City, which shares its own data, had 37,813 reported abortions that same year. Washington, DC, the only other city included in the data, reported 3,870 abortions.

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While these city and state totals roughly correlate with population sizes, the nation’s abortion ratio – which measures the number of reported abortions per 1,000 live births – varies greatly by state. Illinois had the highest abortion ratio out of any state at 392, followed by Florida at 369, and Georgia at 337.

Missouri had the lowest abortion ratio at 2, followed by South Dakota and Wyoming, both at 17. Each state had laws in 2021 banning abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.

New York City and Washington, DC, had abortion ratios higher than any state, at 404 and 447, respectively.

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The CDC has also collected data on where out-of-area residents go to receive an abortion, providing insight into which states are likely to receive women who must leave their home state to obtain the procedure.[2]

Overall, Illinois received 11,307 out-of-area women seeking abortions in 2021, making up 21.8% of the state’s reported cases that year. The highest overall percentage was in Washington, DC, where 70.8% of all reported abortions, 2,740 cases in total, came from outside the district.

Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma[3] had the highest percentage of out-of-area abortion cases in 2021, possibly due to their proximity to other states with abortion bans, such as Texas.

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At what ages are abortions most common?

In 2021, the most common age group having abortions was 25–29-year-old women at 28.7%. This is a shift from 2012, when the largest group was 20–24-year-old women in 2012, the largest at the time at 32.8%. Adolescents 15 and younger made up the smallest cohort at 0.2% but for the purposes of the visual below, they have been included in the <15-19 group.[4]

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Abortion rates — the number of abortions per every 1,000 women — have fallen in almost every age group since 2012, apart from women ages 30–34, which has gone up 1.6%. This tracks with the 10.5% decline in abortion rates between 2012 and 2021.[5]

However, abortion ratios, have gone up for women ages 15–29, meaning that while fewer abortions are occurring overall, a higher proportion of pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) are ending in abortion.

How do abortion rates vary by race and ethnicity?

In 2021, among the 33 areas (New York City, Washington, DC, and 31 states) reporting race and ethnicity data, non-Hispanic Black women had the highest percentage of abortions (41.5%), followed by non-Hispanic white women (30.2%), Hispanic women (21.8%), and women of other races (6.5%).

Non-Hispanic white women had the lowest abortion rate (6.4 per 1,000 women aged 15–44) and abortion ratio (116 per 1,000 live births), while non-Hispanic Black women had the highest abortion rate (28.6 per 1,000) and ratio (498 per 1,000 live births).[6]

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Overlaying the CDC’s ethnic and racial group data over the 33 reporting areas highlights variations among these regions. For instance, in Mississippi, non-Hispanic Black women are less than 40% of the state’s population, but represented over 80% of abortion patients.

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Other demographic findings

Based on 2021 data from the same report, unmarried women had 87.3% of that year’s reported abortions. This group also had a higher abortion ratio, with 404 abortions per 1,000 live births, compared to 41 per 1,000 live births for married women.[7]

Additionally, in that year, 60.7% of women who reported having an abortion were already mothers, , while 57.3% of people overall indicated that it was their first abortion.

Where does this data come from?

The CDC annually requests aggregate data from the central health agencies of all 50 states, Washington, DC, and New York City to document the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal induced abortions in the United States. The term “women” is used consistently for data collection, although not all individuals who obtain abortions identify as women.

The CDC requests data on specific variables such as age, gestational age, race, ethnicity, abortion method type, marital status, number of previous births or abortions, and residence. The data are aggregated without individual-level records.

Reporting to the CDC is voluntary, and not all areas provide complete data. For example, some reporting areas don’t collect data on abortion rates by race/ethnicity or age group. This inconsistency leads to varying levels of detail in the CDC’s reported data annually. To standardize data collection, the CDC, with assistance from the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems, has developed technical guidance for data collection.

The report only includes data meeting CDC standards, and there are suppressions to maintain confidentiality. Data variability and quality differ by year and reporting area.

Learn more about abortion restrictions by state. Get the data directly in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter.

Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2021
Last updated
November 24, 2023
State Laws Restricting or Prohibiting Abortion
Last updated
March 22, 2023
Reproductive Health - Data and Statistics
Last updated
November 21, 2023
[1]

California, Maryland, New Hampshire, and New Jersey did not report abortion data to the CDC in 2021.

[2]

Not everyone who obtains abortions identifies as a woman; the term “women” has been maintained in this report to be consistent with the collection and reporting of denominator data used to calculate abortion rates and ratios.

[3]

Oklahoma’s full abortion ban did not take effect until May 2022. Kansas has an abortion ban after 22 weeks of gestation. New Mexico currently has no abortion ban in place.

[4]

Data collected for the report includes women between the ages of 13 and 44.

[5]

Data collected on abortion rates by age group does not factor in population changes over time, meaning it only tracks people in these age categories at the time the data was collected.

[6]

All these rates focus on women ages 15–44.

[7]

Data from 37 reporting areas excludes 15 reporting areas (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York City, New York State, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming) that did not report, did not report by marital status, or did not meet reporting standards.

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