The 2019 Minnesota Student Survey was administered to public school students in grades 5, 8, 9 and 11. Sexual health questions are only asked in grades 9 and 11. Approximately 66% of 9th graders and 54% of 11th graders participated in the 2019 MSS.
From 2016 to 2019, the number of students who identified as something other than ‘heterosexual’ (straight) increased dramatically. In 2019, 14% of male high school students and 26% of female high school students surveyed identified as something other than heterosexual. This category includes the following identities: bisexual, gay or lesbian, questioning or not sure, pansexual, queer, or none of the above.
The 2019 MSS asked students about their gender identity. 1.4% of both 9th and 11th grade students identified as transgender, genderqueer, or genderfluid (those whose experience of their gender doesn’t match their birth-assigned sex). Additionally, 1.6% of 9th graders and 1.2% of 11th graders were not sure about their gender identity.
Importantly, transgender, genderqueer and genderfluid students are represented throughout Minnesota, in urban and rural areas alike.
Sexual activity among Minnesota teens is lower than national figures, with 12% of 9th graders and 34% of 11th graders reporting ever having sex in 2019, compared to 20% of 9th graders and 47% of 11th graders in the United States in 2017 (21).
Encouragingly, trends show more youth are talking with their partners about preventing pregnancy (64% of 9th graders; 74% of 11th graders) and protecting against STI/HIV (58% of 9th graders; 66% of 12th graders).
After several years of a downward trend in condom use, 2019 saw an increase. From 2016 to 2019, condom use increased 3% among both 9th and 11th graders. Despite this increase, there has been a nearly 10% decline since a record high of 71% among 9th graders in 2007.
Condoms continue to be the most common contraceptive method
used by both 9th and 11th graders. Notably, use of very
effective methods like IUDs and implants increased 40% among 9th
graders and 55% among 11th graders since 2016.
The vast majority of 9th and 11th graders - 86% of students - reported no alcohol or drug use before last sexual intercourse.