The Missing Baby Bust: The Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Contraceptive Use, Pregnancy, and Childbirth among Low-Income Women
Multiple episodes in U.S. history demonstrate that birth rates fall in response to recessions. However, the 2020 COVID-19 recession differed from earlier periods in that employment and access to contraception and abortion fell, as reproductive health centers across the country temporarily closed or reduced their capacity. This paper exploits novel survey and administrative data to examine how reductions in access to reproductive health care during 2020 affected contraceptive efficacy among low-income women. Accounting for 2020’s reductions in access to contraception and the economic slowdown, our results predict a modest decline in births of 1.1 percent in 2021 for low-income women. Further accounting for reductions in access to abortion implies that birth rates may even rise for low-income women. These results also suggest that already economically disadvantaged families disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 economy will experience a large increase in unplanned births.
Martha J. Bailey & Lea Bart & Vanessa Wanner Lang, 2022. "The Missing Baby Bust: The Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Contraceptive Use, Pregnancy, and Childbirth Among Low-Income Women," Population Research and Policy Review, vol 41(4), pages 1549-1569. citation courtesy of