The Quality of Male Fertility Data in Major U.S. Surveys

Kara Joyner, Bowling Green State University
Elizabeth Peters, Cornell University
Asia Sikora, Cornell University
Kathryn Hynes, Pennsylvania State University
Jamie C. Rubenstein, Cornell University

Researchers continue to question fathers’ willingness to report their biological children in surveys, and the ability of surveys to adequately represent them. To address these concerns, this study evaluates the quality of men’s fertility data in the 1979 and 1997 Cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79 and NLSY97), and in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). Comparing fertility rates in each survey to population rates based on the data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, we document how the undercount of births to men in different surveys varies according to several of their characteristics, including their age, race/ethnicity, marital status, and birth cohort. In addition, we use Monte Carlo simulations based on the NSFG data to demonstrate how birth undercounting biases associations between early parenthood and its antecedents.

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Presented in Session 91: Social Demographic Aspects of Fertility