Does Using Birth Control Lead to Higher Future Incomes?

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A recent paper published by University of Michigan economist Martha Bailey suggests that "family planning programs provide a cost-effective strategy for promoting opportunities and...longer-term prosperity." What does this mean? It means that women who have access to birth control have an increased ability to achieve financial and career success because they can delay or even prevent having children. It also means that children born into families who utilize birth control have the opportunity for greater success later in life.

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The study found that parents who lived in areas with easy access to family planning were able to delay having children in order to achieve more education, work experience, and job training, which increased their earning potential. It also showed that children born in areas with higher legal or financial access to the birth control pill were associated with a two-three-percent increase in income as adults. Children in these areas also had a two-seven-percent higher chance of finishing college. The study linked these future successes to smaller families who have more financial resources to devote to their children. These financial advantages may help their prospects later in life.

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