Across the United States, two phenomena have emerged: high rates of multi-partnered fertility (having children by more than one partner) and high rates of male involvement with the criminal justice system. This paper is a first step in an exploration of the possible connection between these two phenomena. The first part of the paper provides measures of the prevalence of multi-partnered fertility among mothers during the period 1985-2008, for the overall population and for select subgroups, based on a nationally representative survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation. This constitutes a useful addition to the literature, which contains few estimates of women's multi-partnered fertility or its evolution over time. In the second part of the paper, we explore the association between multiple-father fertility and local arrest rates between 1985 and 2001. We find a positive correlation between the lagged arrest rate in a mother's city and the probability that she has children by more than one man. (Author abstract)
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