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The Economic Impacts of Contraception

Over 47 million American women aged 15-49 relied on contraceptives in 2017-2019. But people of color, lower-income individuals and those without insurance can face significant barriers to accessing affordable, reliable contraceptives.

Contraceptives Have Been Key to Preventing Unplanned Pregnancies and Associated Economic Costs 

  •  45 out of every 1,000 women in the United States experience an unplanned pregnancy, the lowest rate on record.  

  • Studies suggest the declining rate of unplanned pregnancies is due to an overall increase in contraceptive use—with publicly funded birth control preventing over two million unplanned pregnancies.  

  • However, unintended pregnancies still represent 45% of all pregnancies each year in the United States.  

  • Federal and state government expenditures on births, abortions and miscarriages resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide totaled $21 billion. 


Contraception Access Generates Savings for the Broader Economy 
  • Every dollar spent on contraceptive services saves almost $6 of public spending through reducing unwanted pregnancies alone. 

  • Each year, public investments in contraception save $10.5 billion dollars 


Access to Contraceptives Improves Educational Opportunities and Lifetime Earnings 

  • Enrollment in college is 20% higher for individuals who have legal access to birth control early in life than for those who did not, and completion rates are higher for those with access to contraception. 

  • Women with access to contraception in their early twenties earned $2,200 more per year by their early forties than women who did not.  

  • Women with access to contraception are also more likely to participate in the labor force and work more hours annually than their counterparts with restricted access 

  • By age 50, women who had early access to contraceptives earned 8% more per hour than those who did not.  

  • Early legal access to contraceptives has been shown to reduce female poverty.   

  • By the 1990s, contraception alone was responsible for nearly one-third of the reduction of the gender wage gap.  

  • Men also see educational benefits from contraception access. Young men whose partners had legal access to oral contraception are more likely to complete college.  

  • Children whose parents had access to contraception also see benefits, including higher levels of education and future earnings. 

    See the full fact sheet.