CitationGanser, Brittany & Guzzo, Karen Benjamin (2023). Criminal Offending Trajectories During the Transition to Adulthood and Subsequent Fertility. In Schoen, Robert (Ed.), The Demography of Transforming Families (pp. 255-278). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
AbstractBehaviors during the transition to adulthood have the potential to influence long-term childbearing trajectories. Though overlooked in prior work, criminal behaviors are one such set of possible influences on later fertility. Criminal activity during adolescence and young adulthood could be linked to fewer children (if deviance reduces partnerships due to lower desirability as a mate or if incarceration reduces exposure) or more children (if deviance is indicative of sexual risk-taking or, perhaps counterintuitively, makes one more more desirable as a partner). Further, the link likely depends on the timing and duration of such activity. Using the National Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), we consider both timing and persistence of offending in adolescence (Wave I) and young adulthood (Wave III) as a predictor of the number of births by early-mid adulthood (Wave V), accounting for union experiences, incarceration, and risky sexual activity, along with a number of sociodemographic characteristics. For both men and women, offending is linked to fewer children. Compared to those with no history of offending, men who began offending in young adulthood and women who offended in both adolescence and young adulthood have significantly fewer children (b = −0.175 and b = −0.136, respectively) even after accounting for potentially confounding factors. Offending in young adulthood appears to indicate unique processes that depress fertility. Future work should identify specific mechanisms, such as lower desire for children or more stigmatization in the relationship market, that reduce childbearing.
Reference TypeBook Chapter
Book TitleThe Demography of Transforming Families
Guzzo, Karen Benjamin