Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1097–1123 | Cite as

Planning parenthood: the Affordable Care Act young adult provision and pathways to fertility

  • Joelle Abramowitz
Original Paper


This paper investigates the effect of the Affordable Care Act young adult provision on fertility and related outcomes. The expected effect of the provision on fertility is not clear ex ante. By expanding insurance coverage to young adults, the provision may affect fertility directly through expanded options for obtaining contraceptives as well as through expanded options for obtaining pregnancy-, birth-, and infant-related care, and these may lead to decreased or increased fertility, respectively. In addition, the provision may also affect fertility indirectly through marriage or labor markets, and the direction and magnitude of these effects is difficult to determine. This paper considers the effect of the provision on fertility as well as the contributing channels by applying difference-in-differences type methods using the 2008–2010 and 2012–2013 American Community Survey, 2006–2009 and 2012–2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abortion surveillance data, and 2006–2010 and 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth. Results suggest that the provision is associated with decreases in the likelihood of having given birth and abortion rates and an increase in the likelihood of using long-term hormonal contraceptives.


Fertility Affordable Care Act Young adult provision Health insurance 

JEL classifications

I12 I13 I18 J13 



I am grateful to Ausmita Ghosh, Catherine Massey, and three anonymous referees for their invaluable comments and to Sara Zobl for excellent research assistance. I would also like to thank seminar participants at Dickinson College, the University of Michigan Survey Research Center, and the 2016 American Society of Health Economists Biennial Conference for their helpful feedback.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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