Census Bureau: 44 Percent of Custodial Parents Receive the Full Amount of Child Support

Approximately two-thirds (69.3 percent) of custodial parents who were due child support received some payments from noncustodial parents, while only 43.5 percent reported receiving the full amount of child support due. This latest information comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2015 report.

The report includes demographic and income data about custodial parents and details child support income for custodial parents living below poverty levels. The poverty rate of custodial-mother families in 2015 (29.2 percent) was significantly higher than the poverty rate for custodial-father families (16.7 percent). Of the 1.6 million custodial parents with incomes below the poverty level who were supposed to receive child support in 2015, 39.2 percent received full payments.

Highlights from the report:

  • About half (50.2 percent) of all 13.6 million custodial parents had either legal or informal child support agreements. Custodial mothers were more likely to have agreements (52.7 percent) than custodial fathers (39.6 percent).
  • The aggregate amount of child support due in 2015 was $33.7 billion, a decrease of $14.0 billion from 2003.
  • About 60 percent of the child support due in 2015 was reported as received, averaging $3,447 per year per custodial parent who was due support.

This data comes from the Child Support Supplement to the April 2016 Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS provides demographic information about custodial parents, as well as child support and other income or program data for the 2015 calendar year.

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