Of 100 women whose partners use condoms inconsistently or imperfectly, 18 will become pregnant in the first year of use. Consistent condom use resulted in two became pregnant.
High failure rates in some studies occur because many people over-report contraceptive use to shift the responsibility for an unintended pregnancy to a “faulty” contraceptive. Such over-reporting artificially inflates failure rates (Trussell, 1998).
Condom failure rates are also inflated because some young people have been shown to inaccurately report condom uses, use condoms incorrectly, and respond to survey questions with what they perceive to be socially desirable answers (Rose et al., 2009). In fact, most people who use condoms do not experience breakage or slippage.
Most condom failures occur among a minority of users because they are less experienced and/or less careful about using condoms than more successful users. In the U.S., the actual breakage rate is a low two per 100 condoms.