About 3.2 million (40.5 percent) of all IV-D families had a family income under $20,000 in 2001, while 4.6 million (57 percent) had an income under $30,000 (Table 3). Families receiving TANF or other public assistance had, on average, lower incomes than those not receiving assistance. More than three-quarters of child support-eligible families receiving cash assistance, and one-half of those reporting other public assistance, had incomes of $20,000 or below. Of IV-D families receiving no public assistance only one in five had incomes below $20,000.
Families participating in the IV-D program generally had lower incomes than non IV-D families. While the annual incomes of 40 percent of IV-D families fell below $20,000, less than 20 percent of non IV-D families fell into that same income range. In both categories, families receiving no public assistance had higher incomes than those reporting some reliance on government programs.
Ratio of Income to Poverty Level
In addition to family income, the ratio of the family's income to the poverty level is an important measure of economic well-being. Each year, the Census Bureau estimates poverty thresholds that are adjusted for the size of the family unit. In 2001, the weighted average poverty threshold was $14,630 for a family of three and $17,650 for a family of four (Table 4A).
About 2.6 million, or about one third of the IV-D families were below the poverty threshold, and about three-fifths had incomes that fell below 200 percent of the poverty level. In addition, nearly 16 percent of IV-D families were in "deep poverty", or had incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level (Table 4B). A large majority (72 percent) of IV-D families receiving cash assistance were poor, as were 42 percent of those families receiving only other government assistance. IV-D families with no public assistance were less poor, with less than one in ten having incomes below poverty and almost 70 percent having incomes at or above 200 percent of the poverty level.
In contrast to those families receiving IV-D services, only 10 percent of non-IV-D families were poor, while about 70 percent of these families had incomes above 200 percent of the poverty level. Additional outcomes for families both in poverty and near poverty (incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level) can be found later in this analysis.