Having a Baby Cuts Crime by 25%

Via Alex Tabarrok, here’s an interesting new paper about crime. It turns out that having a baby reduces crime among women substantially. This is unsurprising, and also of limited value since nearly all low-level crime is committed by men. So how does childbirth affect them? Here you go:

The chart on the left shows drops in every kind of crime. The chart on the right puts everything together and shows a gigantic overall drop in crime when men become fathers. More accurately, given the timeline, it shows that the drop in crime begins during pregnancy. The mere prospect of becoming a father in the near future is enough to cut crime rates by about 25 percent.

Nor is this effect limited to married men. Unmarried fathers offend at much higher rates than married men, but their offense rate drops far more than married men when their partner gets pregnant.

This study is based on administrative data from Washington state, and it would certainly be worth replicating elsewhere. If it holds up, it shows that becoming a parent is one of the most powerful anti-crime tools around. Even the prospect of spending 20 years in prison has nowhere near the deterrent effect of having a baby.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate