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Child Support Facts and Stats according to the U. S. Census Bureau:

An estimated 13.4 million parents lived with 22.1 million children under 21 years of age while the other parent(s) lived somewhere else.


One of every six custodial parents (17.5 percent) were fathers.


More than one-quarter (26.6 percent) of all children under 21 years of age lived in families with only one of their parents while the other parent lived elsewhere.


About half (48.1 percent) of all Black children lived in custodial-parent families.


Most custodial parents had one child (54.7 percent).


The proportion of custodial mothers with income below poverty (31.2 percent) was higher than that of custodial fathers (17.4 percent).


About half (48.7 percent) of all custodial parents had either legal or informal child support agreements, and custodial mothers were more likely to have agreements (52.3 percent) than custodial fathers (31.4 percent).


About three-quarters (74.1 percent) of custodial parents who were due child support in 2013 received either full or partial payments and less than half (45.6 percent) received full payments.


About 68.5 percent of the $32.9 billion in child support due in 2013 was reported as received, averaging $3,950 per year per custodial parent who was due support.

Child Support Receipt:
Of the 6.5 million custodial parents with child support agreements or awards, 5.7 million (87.3 percent) were due child support payments in 2013. The remaining 800,000 custodial parents with child support agreements or awards were not due child support payments because either the child(ren) was too old, the noncustodial parent(s) had died, the family lived together part of the year before the interview, or some other reason.  Approximately 88.6 percent of custodial parents who were due child support were mothers, and about half (49.3 percent) were currently divorced or separated.

Contact with Government for Assistance:
In 2014, less than one-quarter (22.4 percent) of all custodial parents had ever contacted a child support enforcement office (IV-D office), state department of social services, or other welfare or TANF office for child support-related assistance. This was a decrease from 1994, when 42.2 percent of custodial parents had ever contacted a government agency for help. In addition, the total number of individual contacts for related assistance decreased over one-third (36.4 percent) during this time, from 13.0 million to 8.3 million. Contacts were made for many reasons, and the reason provided most frequently was to collect child support that was due (27.2 percent). Other reasons included to establish a legal agreement or court award (24.3 percent), to obtain welfare or public assistance (18.1 percent), and to locate the noncustodial parent(s) (10.6 percent).

Noncash Support Received by Custodial Parents: 2014 (In Percent)
At least one type of support (61.7)

Birthday, holiday, or other gifts (59.0)

Clothes, diapers, shoes, etc. (45.1)

Food or groceries (33.4)

Pay for medical expenses (21.9)

Pay for child care or summer camp (11.6)

Reasons No Legal Agreement Established for Custodial Parents: 2014 (In Percent)

Other parent provides what he or she can (36.9)

Other parent could not afford to pay (36.4)

Did not feel need to make legal (36.4)

Did not want other parent to pay (24.4)

Did not want to have contact with other parent (19.5)

Child stays with other parent part of the time (19.1)

Could not locate other parent (17.5)

Other reasons (10.5)

Did not legally establish paternity (8.8)

Child was too old (0.1)


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, April 2014.


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