Unintended Pregnancies Increase for Low-Income Women

The Guttmacher Institute released a new study indicating that while the overall rate of unintended in the US pregnancies has remained steady since 1994, with approximately 5 percent of woman experiencing an unintended pregnancy each year, the rate of unintended pregnancies has actually increased dramatically, while the rate for higher-income women has steadily declined. According to “Unintended Pregnancy in the United States: Incidence and Disparities” by Lawrence Finer and Mia Zolna, the rate of unintended pregnancies was higher for women between the ages of 18 and 24, those who cohabitate, and minority women.

In 1994, the rate of unintended pregnancies for lower-income women ages 15 to 44 was 88 per 1,000 women; whereas in 2006 the rate was 132 for every 1,000 women, which represents a 50 percent increase. By contrast, the rate of higher-income women who experienced unintended pregnancies decreased by 29 percent in that time frame.

Sharon Camp, President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute stated, “The growing disparity in unplanned pregnancy rates between poor and higher-income-which reflects persistent, similar disparities across a range of health and social indicators-is deeply troubling. Addressing them all requires not only improved access to reproductive health care, but also looking to broader social and economic inequities. At a minimum, however, we must ensure that all women and particularly those who are most vulnerable, have access to the education and range of reproductive health services and counseling they need.”


Guttmacher Press Release 8/24/11;

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