Big Jump In Unplanned Pregnancies For Poor Women


Every year about five percent of women in the U.S. have an unplanned pregnancy. Statistics reveal that this number has remained more-or-less steady since 1994. So nothing to be alarmed about, right?


A more thorough examination of the data reveals that while the overall unintended pregnancy rate has remained the same, the numbers for poor women have jumped up, while those for wealthier women have decreased.

Poor Women Five Times More Likely Than Higher-Income Women To Have An Unplanned Pregnancy

According to a new Guttmacher analysis of government data from the National Survey of Family Growth and other sources, in 2006, poor women were five times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy when compared to higher-income women:

In 1994, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes below the federal poverty line was 88 per 1,000 women aged 1544; it increased to 120 in 2001 and 132 in 2006-a 50% rise over the period. At the same time, the rate among higher-income women (those with incomes at or above 200% of the poverty line) fell from 34 in 1994 to 28 in 2001 and 24 in 2006-a 29% decrease. Poor women’s high rate of unintended pregnancy results in their also having high-and increasing-rates of both abortions (52 per 1,000) and unplanned births (66 per 1,000).

The rates were also higher for women who are 18-24, those who cohabitate, and minorities. However, low-income women had higher rates of unplanned pregnancies regardless of other factors, including marital status. A poor married woman’s chance of having an unintended pregnancy is more than twice as high as that of a well-off single woman.

And Yet…The Continued Fight To Restrict Abortion Rights And Defund Planned Parenthood

And yet, in tandem with these numbers, we see the efforts in so many states to restrict abortion rights and to defund Planned Parenthood continuing unabated. Have those Republican lawmakers actually considered that restricting low-income women’s access to family planning services could result in a jump in unplanned pregnancies? And have they thought about what the long-term effects of that increase could be?

Just when poorer women need more help with reproductive decisions, they are watching their healthcare options disappear.

As Care2′s Amelia Thomson-Veaux wrote here, a shocking 33 laws restricting abortion access were enacted in nine states during the month of April.

The war on women continues.

Related Stories

Over Thirty Anti-Abortion Laws Enacted During April

Planned Parenthood Ends Abortions At 70% Of Its Arizona Clinics

90 Girls Pregnant At Memphis High School


Photo Credit: Emery Co Photo via Creative Commons


Rin S.
Rin S6 years ago

Women deserve the choice to abort or not. It's sad to see these statistics, and to know that no one is doing anything about them. And as for the poll, I voted yes!

Barbara U.
Barbara U6 years ago

Pro-choicers have more to prevent abortions and unwanted pregnancies than pro-lifers, and these statistics clearly show that this is a fact. No one is "pro-abortion." People on the pro-choice side are pro-education and family planning which is essential to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. It really ticks me off that these republicans and conservatives are working so hard to defund family planning clinics and deny women these services, it's just so hypocritical.

Tierney G.
Tierney G6 years ago

So i wonder what the right winers are planning to do when they want some? Oh maybe they will lift all the restrictions secretly for their hookers or those "other" women that these scumbags go to secretly while all the time doing the nasty and then getting caught with their pants down. Does anyone come out and punish them like the churches? NO but the women must be punished always be punished because it said somewhere in their fairytale bible book that women are evil and vile. That women are dirty becaue they bleed.
These same people forget they came from those dirty, vile womens bodies which makes them no better.
Be careful what you wish for extremist righties.

Patrick C.
Patrick Clarke6 years ago

Perhaps people are viewing these statistics with far to much personal bias.

Perhaps this statistic just means rich people aren't getting any and poor people are having fun sexy-times.

Viewing a world through a straw like you are through this one statistic is bound to regress to mud-slinging.

Patrick C.
Patrick Clarke6 years ago

Perhaps people are viewing these statistics with far to much personal bias.

Perhaps this statistic just means rich people aren't getting any and poor people are having fun sexy-times.

Viewing a world through a straw like you are through this one statistic is bound to regress to mud-slinging.

Richard Zane Smith

among some thoughtful comments here, there is a lot of hostility fomenting here....
like the american political system, pick a side, get in your prospective trench and hurl grenades at the demons in the other trench...until one is "Conqueror!"
this is exactly what is wrong with the whole system
In a hate spewing fest there will never be any coming together to actually solve
some of these problems. These are the same cold destructive tendencies that the conquerors brought over. The things that DIVIDE us become the focus over the things that UNITE us.

Kathryn Nelder
Kathryn Nelder6 years ago

Wow, there is so much hatred in some of these comments - hatred of the poor, the undereducated, Mexicans as a whole (!), and, as always, women.
I do, however, appreciate the intelligent comments made by Andrew C, Lilithe M and Joe M. - kudos!
The World Health Organization (a well-respected, international authority on health) estimates that HALF OF ALL PREGNANCIES are unintended (translation: it's not just a poor/uneducated/minority thing - it's universal).
It's easy to blame people for supposed sins of sexual desire - the various churches have given us a huge platform for such blame - but it's not so easy to come up with viable solutions. Surely state funded access to contraception and sex-education is a start.
As for abortion - there are so many benefits to fully accessible abortion that I couldn't possible begin to elaborate here...

Donna B.
Donna B6 years ago

Haven't been for a long time butt... You can't get any birth control pills from Planned Parenthood anymore? Just do NOT understand WHY all of these women keep having babies if they don't plan them. SO much birth control out there. I NEVER had sex if I did NOT have birth control! Use your brain, people! I have one child and he was planned.

Laure H.
Laure H6 years ago

Among other things, I do Medicaid paperwork for people of ALL ages who are not financially ready to have children yet still chose to engage in baby-making sexual activities and end up pregnant, so they can go ahead and have the outcome of their activities (whether birth or abortion) paid for by other people's tax dollars while the State lays off employees.

What we do in our bedrooms affects others. Kids should be taught this as well.

I'm not against public support for those in need. But why are we unafraid to tell people what container they should be drinking out of in the privacy of their own homes, yet don't dare stand up for responsible sexual behavior? When the mom invites her boyfriend to live with her without a commitment, how is her 17- year-old (whose brain isn't fully developed) going to think there should be any limits on her own sexual behavior? Why aren't the costs of unplanned pregnancy to city, county, state and nation calculated and presented in sex ed class? And made a deal out of, especially in the light of the economy? Are we afraid that it will cause an erosion in women's rights? Why not couch the whole thing in terms of the Rights and Responsibilities of MEN as well as women?

Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

MD L., you got that right. Even the terrorists who drove the planes into the twin towers didn't
take the chance on the 72 virgins in heaven, they went to prostitutes the night before. ;)
These republican hypocrites and the hypocrite Pope all tell us to DO WHAT THEY SAY,
not what they DO. haha It's OK for them to do anything they want but not US. People
aren't buying this bullshit any more. ;)