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Children's exposure to paternal imprisonment: Incidence, evolution, and correlates among young nonmarital children

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  • Chung, Yiyoon

Abstract

Although the well-being of nonmarital children has been the focus of recent public policy developments and academic research, relatively little is known about the risk of paternal imprisonment among these children. Particularly in a context of declining public assistance, the unprecedented imprisonment rate may place additional stress on nonmarital children if a substantial portion of their fathers are incarcerated and therefore unable to provide support. Research on this topic has been impeded by methodological difficulties, such as the lack of representative data on nonmarital children's fathers, and inaccurate or insufficient information on fathers' incarceration. Using unique combined administrative data sets from Wisconsin that largely overcome these methodological obstacles, I provide improved estimates of paternal imprisonment risk among young nonmarital children. I distinguish between point-in-time and cumulative risks and assess the length of paternal imprisonment, first considering only biological fathers and then also including the mothers' other partners. I also estimate the risks separately by socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Results suggest that nonmarital children face a high risk of paternal imprisonment, a substantial proportion also face an elevated risk of lengthy paternal imprisonment, and the racial disparity in risk is significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Chung, Yiyoon, 2011. "Children's exposure to paternal imprisonment: Incidence, evolution, and correlates among young nonmarital children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 575-587, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:33:y:2011:i:5:p:575-587
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 863-876, June.
    2. Marcia Carlson & Sara McLanahan & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2008. "Coparenting and nonresident fathers’ involvement with young children after a nonmarital birth," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(2), pages 461-488, May.
    3. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
    4. Amanda Geller & Irwin Garfinkel & Carey E. Cooper & Ronald B. Mincy, 2009. "Parental Incarceration and Child Well‐Being: Implications for Urban Families," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1186-1202, December.
    5. Christopher Wildeman, 2009. "Parental imprisonment, the prison boom, and the concentration of childhood disadvantage," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(2), pages 265-280, May.
    6. Geoffrey L. Wallace & Robert Haveman, 2007. "The implications of differences between employer and worker employment|earnings reports for policy evaluation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 737-754.
    7. Stéphane Mechoulan, 2006. "Divorce Laws and the Structure of the American Family," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 143-174, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chung, Yiyoon, 2015. "Does SNAP serve as a safety net for mothers facing an economic shock? An analysis of Black and White unwed mothers' responses to paternal imprisonment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 179-192.
    2. Maria Cancian & Yiyoon Chung & Daniel R. Meyer, 2016. "Fathers’ Imprisonment and Mothers’ Multiple-Partner Fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 2045-2074, December.

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