Differences in Family Planning Services by Rural-urban Geography: Survey of Title X-Supported Clinics In Great Plains and Midwestern States

Summer L. Martins, Katherine A. Starr, Wendy L. Hellerstedt, Melissa L. Gilliam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


CONTEXT: Understanding the nature of rural-urban variation in U.S. family planning services would help address disparities in unmet contraceptive need. METHODS: In 2012, some 558 Title X-supported clinics in 16 Great Plains and Midwestern states were surveyed. Rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes were used to categorize clinic locations as urban, large rural city, small rural town or isolated small rural town. Bivariate analyses examined key domains of service provision by RUCA category and clinic type. RESULTS: The proportion of clinics offering walk-in appointments was lower in isolated small rural towns (47%) than in the other RUCA categories (67-73%). Results were similar for sites that do not specialize in family planning or reproductive health, but no variation was seen among specialty clinics. Overall, availability of evening or weekend appointments varied in a linear fashion, falling from 73% in urban areas to 29% in isolated small rural towns. On-site provision of most hormonal methods was most common in urban areas and least common in isolated small rural towns, while provision of nonhormonal methods was similar across RUCA categories. Sixty percent of clinics provided IUDs or implants. For clinics that did not, the only barriers that varied geographically were low IUD demand and lack of trained IUD providers; these barriers were most common in isolated rural towns (42% and 70%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: While important characteristics, such as clinics' specialization (or lack thereof), are linked to the provision of family planning services, geographic disparities exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalPerspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the Guttmacher Institute.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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