The Long-Term Effects of U.S. Family Planning Programs on Child Poverty

Martha Bailey, University of Michigan
Zoe McLaren, University of Michigan
Olga Malkova, University of Michigan

The intergenerational link of childbearing and poverty provided an important rationale for funding the first U.S. family planning programs. This paper evaluates this rationale using the county-level roll-out of U.S. family planning programs from 1964 to 1973. Preliminary evidence using public use census data shows that U.S. family planning programs reduced the share of children in households below 150 percent of the poverty line by roughly 5 percent. However, we find no evidence that family planning programs affected the share of children in single-parent homes or in families receiving welfare. In ongoing work, we are using the 1970, 1980 and 1990 15-percent restricted Census data to refine these inferences and investigate the mechanisms for this relationship.

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Presented in Session 114: Public Policy and Families