Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 55–71 | Cite as

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

  • Heather AntecolEmail author
  • Kelly Bedard
Original Paper


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 structure Marital dissolution Youth outcomes 

JEL Classification

J12 J13 



We thank Eric Helland; Janet Currie; Duncan Thomas; seminar participants at the 2001 Society of Labor Economists meetings, the 2001 American Law and Association meetings, the UCLA/RAND labor economics seminar, the 56th European Meetings of the Econometric Society, and the 16th Annual Congress of the European Economic Association; and two anonymous referees for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

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

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