Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 553–579 | Cite as

Challenges in Measuring and Studying Multipartnered Fertility in American Survey Data

  • Karen Benjamin GuzzoEmail author
  • Cassandra Dorius


Multipartnered fertility (“MPF”) has become a major topic of interest in the United States due to potential negative linkages with parental, child, and family wellbeing. A first step in studying any newly emerging (or newly identified) social phenomenon is to properly define the issue and identify its prevalence. However, this is problematic in the case of MPF because most existing sources of data were not originally designed to study MPF. We examine the major data sources used to produce estimates of MPF in the United States, discussing the methodological issues that produce conflicting prevalence estimates and providing guidelines for producing comparable estimates. We also discuss important considerations for research seeking to link MPF and outcomes. Our recommendations will help researchers situate their findings in the broader literature and spur future research.


Half-siblings Measurement Multipartnered fertility (MPF) Stepfamilies 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Center for Family and Demographic ResearchBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.Human Development and Family StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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