Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 55–71

Does single parenthood increase the probability of teenage promiscuity, substance use, and crime?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-005-0019-x

Cite this article as:
Antecol, H. & Bedard, K. J Popul Econ (2007) 20: 55. doi:10.1007/s00148-005-0019-x


There is longstanding evidence that youths raised by single parents are more likely to perform poorly in school and partake in “deviant” behaviors such as smoking, sex, substance use, and crime. However, there is not widespread agreement as to whether the timing of the marital disruption differentially impacts youth outcomes. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and its Young Adult Supplement, we find that an additional 5 years with the biological father decreases the probability of smoking, drinking, engaging in sexual activity, marijuana use, and conviction by approximately 5.3, 1.2, 3.4, 2.2 and 0.3 percentage points, respectively.


Family structureMarital dissolutionYouth outcomes

JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsClaremont McKenna CollegeClaremontUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA