The timing and structure of fertility have important implications for individuals and society. Families play a critical role in fertility; however, little is known about how parental incarceration shapes fertility despite it being a common experience in the life course of disadvantaged children. This study examines the consequences of parental incarceration for children's fertility using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. I employ multiple-decrement life tables and survival analyses to estimate the relationship between parental incarceration and fertility. Individuals who experience parental incarceration have different timing of fertility, with earlier first births and a quicker pace of subsequent births, as well as more nonmarital fertility, compared with those who do not experience parental incarceration. This analysis finds consistent evidence that parental incarceration is associated with the timing and structure of fertility and suggests that a parent's incarceration carries consequences over the life course of children. This study advances our understanding of how mass incarceration shapes American families, illustrates how the broader consequences of mass incarceration contribute to social inequality, and provides evidence that the enduring implications of incarceration span multiple generations.

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