Survey estimates of the prevalence of clients of prostitute women are biased because men underreport sex with prostitutes. We conducted capture-recapture analyses of prostitution arrest records in several United States metropolitan areas and found that about two to three percent of adult male residents patronized local street prostitutes during observation periods of two to five years. An estimate from Colorado Springs, based on the prevalence of local prostitutes, the mean number of their client sex partners, and clients' mean number of prostitute sex partners, showed a client prevalence of 3.5 percent for a one-year period. These prevalence estimates were almost twice as large as those based on self-reports in the General Social Survey. There was no increasing or decreasing trend in client prevalence over time. Furthermore, almost three-quarters of clients identified in a Colorado Springs study patronized on the street, suggesting that off-street activity accounts for a fairly small portion of prostitution in that city.

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