State Facts About Unintended Pregnancy: New York
National Background and Context
Unintended pregnancy can have significant, negative consequences for individual women, their families and society as a whole. An extensive body of research links births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies to adverse maternal and child health outcomes and myriad social and economic challenges.(1,2)
In 2006, the last year for which data are available, the U.S. unintended pregnancy rate was 52 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, a level significantly higher than that in many other developed countries.(3,4) Half of all pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended, including eight in 10 teen pregnancies.(3) If current trends continue, more than half of all women in the United States will experience an unintended pregnancy by the time they reach age 45.(3,5) And economically disadvantaged women are disproportionately affected by unintended pregnancy and its consequences: In 2006, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes lower than the federal poverty level, at 132 per 1,000, was more than five times as high as the rate among women with incomes greater than 200% of poverty (24 per 1,000).(5)
In any given year, the two-thirds of women in the United States at risk of unintended pregnancy who use contraceptives consistently throughout the year account for only 5% of all unintended pregnancies; fully 95% of unintended pregnancies are attributable to the one-third of women who do not use contraceptives or who use them inconsistently.(6) Public programs—notably Medicaid and the Title X national family planning program—are central to women's access to affordable contraceptive services and supplies and their ability to use contraceptives effectively. In 2006, more than nine million women received publicly funded family planning services; these services helped women avoid nearly two million unintended pregnancies, which would likely have resulted in approximately 860,000 unplanned births and 810,000 abortions.(6) Absent publicly funded family planning services, the numbers of unintended pregnancies and abortions in the United States would be nearly two-thirds higher than they currently are among women overall and among teens.(6)
Births resulting from unintended pregnancy are also costly to the federal and state governments, resulting in $11 billion in government expenditures in 2006.(7) Without publicly funded family planning services, the annual cost of unintended pregnancy nationwide would be more than 60% higher than it is today. By helping women avoid unintended pregnancies, these services saved taxpayers $5.1 billion in 2008, nearly $4 for every $1 spent.(8)
Incidence and Outcomes of Unintended Pregnancy in New York
• In 2006, 56% of all pregnancies (266,000) in New York were unintended, compared with 49% nationally.(3,9)
• New York’s unintended pregnancy rate in 2006 was 65 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Nationally, the rate was 52 per 1,000, ranging from a low of 36 per 1,000 in New Hampshire to a high of 69 per 1,000 in Mississippi.(3,9)
• The teen pregnancy rate in New York was 71 per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2008. The national teen pregnancy rate was 68 per 1,000, ranging from 33 per 1,000 in New Hampshire to 93 per 1,000 in New Mexico.(10)
• In 2006, 33% of unintended pregnancies in New York resulted in births and 59% in abortions; the remainder resulted in miscarriages.(9)
• In New York in 2006, 35% of all births (86,600) resulted from unintended pregnancies, compared with 38% nationally.(7)
Public Cost of Unintended Pregnancy in New York
• In 2006, 56,000 or 65% of births that resulted from unintended pregnancy in New York were publicly funded. Nationally, 64% of births that resulted from unintended pregnancy were publicly funded, ranging from a low of 42% in Hawaii to a high of 81% in both Louisiana and Mississippi.(7)
• In New York in 2006, the federal and state governments spent $749 million on births resulting from unintended pregnancies; of this, $375 million (50%) was paid by the federal government and $375 million (50%) was paid by the state.(7)
• The total public cost for births resulting from unintended pregnancies in 2006 was $182 per woman aged 15-44 in New York, compared with $180 per woman nationally.(7)
Preventing Unintended Pregnancy in New York
• In 2008, 1,160,400 New York women aged 13-44 were in need of publicly funded family planning services.(8)
• Publicly supported family planning centers in New York served 471,800 female contraceptive clients in 2008. Those centers met 41% of New York women’s need for contraceptive services and supplies, compared with 41% met by family planning centers nationally.(8)
• In 2010, the reported public expenditures for family planning client services in New York totaled $127.5 million; this includes $83 million through Medicaid and $11.6 million through Title X. Most states also use some of their own money (in addition to funds required to match federal grants) for family planning services; in 2010, New York contributed $29.4 million.(11)
• The services provided by family planning centers in New York helped avert 98,000 unintended pregnancies in 2008, which would likely have resulted in 43,600 births and 40,900 abortions.(8)
• Averting these unintended pregnancies in New York helped save the federal and state governments $395.9 million in Medicaid costs for pregnancy-related and newborn care in 2008.(8)
1. Guttmacher Institute, Testimony of Guttmacher Institute, Submitted to the Committee on Preventive Services for Women, Institute of Medicine, 2011, <http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/CPSW-testimony.pdf>, accessed Oct. 23, 2012.
2. Frost JJ and Lindberg LD, Reasons for using contraception: perspectives of U.S. women seeking care at specialized family planning clinics, 2012, Contraception, <http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2012.08.012>, accessed Oct. 23, 2012.
3. Finer LB and Zolna MR, Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006, Contraception, 2011, 84(5):478–485.
4. Singh S, Sedgh G and Hussain R, Unintended pregnancy: worldwide levels, trends, and outcomes, Studies in Family Planning, 2010, 41(4):241–250.
5. Guttmacher Institute, Facts on unintended pregnancy in the United States, In Brief, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2012, <http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-Unintended-Pregnancy-US.html>, accessed Nov. 12, 2012.
6. Gold RB et al., Next Steps for America’s Family Planning Program: Leveraging the Potential of Medicaid and Title X in an Evolving Health Care System, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2009.
7. Sonfield A et al., The public costs of births resulting from unintended pregnancies: national and state-level estimates, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2011, 43(2):94–102.
8. Frost JJ, Henshaw SK and Sonfield A, Contraceptive Needs and Services, National and State Data, 2008 Update, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2010.
10. Guttmacher Institute, U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008: State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2013
11. Sonfield A and Gold RB, Public Funding for Family Planning Sterilization and Abortion Services, FY 1980–2010, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2012.