Contraceptive Consistency and Poverty After Birth

Polina Zvavitch , University of Maryland
Michael S. Rendall, University of Maryland
Constanza Hurtado, University of Maryland
Rachel Shattuck, University of Maryland

Unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. disproportionately occur among poor, less educated, and minority women, but it is unclear whether poverty following a birth is itself an outcome of this pregnancy planning status. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and National Survey of Family Growth, we constructed three sequences of contraceptive behavior before a birth that signal unplanned versus planned behavior. We regressed poverty immediately after the birth both on this contraceptive-sequence variable and on socioeconomic indicators including race, education and partnership status. Compared to sequences indicating a planned birth, sequences of inconsistent use and non-use of contraception were associated with higher likelihood of poverty following a birth, both before and after controlling for socioeconomic status, and before and after controlling for poverty before the birth. These findings encourage further exploration into relationships between contraceptive access and behavior and subsequent adverse outcomes for the mother and her children.

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 Presented in Session 149. Contraceptive Behavior in Developed Countries