No Criminal for a Parent? The Effect of a Criminal Career on Parenthood Chances

Doreen Huschek, Stockholm University
Arjan Blokland, Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR)

Demographic transitions are often studied for their potential in influencing criminal careers. However, little attention has been paid to how a criminal lifestyle in return may influence demographic transitions. This inhibits our understanding of how crime resonates through the lifecourse. This study therefore examines the role of a criminal lifestyle on the chance to become a first-time parent and possible variations by age, gender and marital status. We use the longitudinal Criminal Career and Life-Course register dataset on a large sample of offenders (4,061 men and 385 women). For men, criminal involvement is differently associated with parenthood at different stages in the life course. Women heavily involved in crime are at all ages more likely to become a mother. To explain the results, we discuss the possible importance of age-related social expectations for crime involvement, the special situation of criminal women and the possible importance of planned and unplanned parenthood.

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Presented in Session 99: Demography of Crime