The Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study, also referred to as the "The Survey of New Parents," is designed to track a cohort of new parents and their children over a 5-year period. The purpose of the study is to provide new information on the strengths, conditions, and relationships of both wed and unwed parents and how Federal and state policies affect family composition and child well-being. The study is a stratified random sample of U.S. cities with a population of 200,000 or more, designed to provide a representative sample of nonmarital births in U.S. cities with populations over 200,000. Mothers were approached and interviewed at the hospital within 48 hours of giving birth, and fathers were interviewed at the hospital or elsewhere as soon as possible after the birth.
Eventually, four waves of data will be available. Baseline data were collected between 1998 and 2000, and followup interviews were conducted at 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years after the baseline. Currently, three waves are available for reanalysis: baseline, Year 1 followup, and Year 3 followup. Baseline data are available on a sample of 4,898 families (3,712 nonmarital births and 1,186 marital births). One-year followup data are available on a total of 4,365 mothers and 3,367 fathers, and Year 3 followup interviews are available on 4,231 mothers and 3,299 fathers. At least one wave of followup is available on 94 percent of the mothers, while 82 percent of the mothers were interviewed at both followups.3 The database constructed for this reanalysis focuses on the mother, with data about the father given where appropriate.