Characteristics of Families Using Title IV-D Services in 1997. Families at or Near Poverty

05/01/2002

Another subgroup analysis focuses on the outcomes for low-income child support-eligible families. Tables 10A and 10B show the characteristics for families with incomes below the federal poverty line, both for all families and by race and ethnicity. Tables 11A and 11B show the same characteristics, but include families who are near poverty (with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level).

In 1997, 3,930,765 child support-eligible families, or 29 percent of the total population of families eligible for child support, had incomes below the federal poverty line. An additional 25 percent of families had incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of poverty, leaving a majority of child support-eligible families either at or near poverty. Poor families were much more likely than the general population of child support-eligible families to receive IV-D services. Over 83 percent of poor child support-eligible families were in the IV-D system in 1997, compared to 60 percent of the general population of child support-eligible families.

Poor families generally fared worse than all child support-eligible families across a number of outcomes. Poor families had lower incomes and custodial parents were more likely to be never married than in other child support-eligible families. In addition, child support-eligible families who were poor were slightly less likely than families with incomes above the poverty line to have a child support award in place or be receiving child support. However, approximately the same percentage (74 percent) of poor families had the non-custodial parent living in the same state as was the case for all families.