Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Economic Security Risk Factor 8. Child SUPPORT

10/01/1997

Child Support provides critical income to families with children and reduces the likelihood of dependence. These child support risk factors reflect the presence and magnitude of child support payments made by noncustodial parents for families receiving services from the Child Support Enforcement Program.

Figure ECON 8a. Total Non-AFDC and AFDC Title IV-D Child Support Collections, 1978 - 1996 (In billions)

Figure ECON 8a. Total Non-AFDC and AFDC Title IV-D Child Support Collections, 1978 - 1996 (In billions)

  • Total collections paid through the Child Support Enforcement system (Title IV-D of the Social Security Act) increased at an annual rate of 14.5 percent (current dollars) from FY 1977 to FY 1996. The average increase was higher for collections on behalf of non-AFDC families (16.6 percent) than for collection on behalf of AFDC families (10.5 percent). This increase was attributable to both increases in the number of non-custodial parents paying child support and increases in the amount of child support paid per case.

Table ECON 8a. Total Non-AFDC and AFDC Title IV-D Child Support Collections, 1978 - 1996 (In millions)

Fiscal Year Total Collections
Total

AFDC Collections

Non--AFDC Collections Total IV-D Administrative Expenditures
Current Dollars Constant '96 Dollars Total Payments to AFDC Families Federal & StateShare of Collections
1978 $1,047 $2,461 $472 $13 $459 $575 $312
1979 1,333 2,876 597 12 584 736 383
1980 1,478 2,860 603 10 593 874 466
1981 1,629 2,870 671 12 659 958 526
1982 1,771 2,913 786 15 771 985 612
1983 2,024 3,198 880 15 865 1,144 691
1984 2,378 3,599 1,000 17 983 1,378 723
1985 2,694 3,932 1,090 189 901 1,604 814
1986 3,249 4,625 1,225 275 955 2,019 941
1987 3,917 5,423 1,349 278 1,070 2,569 1,066
1988 4,605 6,124 1,486 289 1,188 3,128 1,171
1989 5,241 6,651 1,593 307 1,286 3,648 1,363
1990 6,010 7,266 1,750 334 1,416 4,260 1,606
1991 6,886 7,925 1,984 381 1,603 4,902 1,804
1992 7,964 8,896 2,259 435 1,824 5,705 1,995
1993 8,907 9,658 2,416 446 1,971 6,491 2,241
1994 9,850 10,405 2,550 457 2,093 7,300 2,556
1995 10,827 11,128 2,689 474 2,215 8,138 3,012
1996 12,018 12,018 2,854 480 2,374 9,163 3,048

Note: Not all states report current child support collections in all years.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1996 Data Report, 1997, and Twentieth Annual Report to Congress, for the period ending September 30, 1995 and earlier years.

  • From FY 1984 through FY 1996, the first $50 dollars of each month's child support collection was passed-through to families that were receiving AFDC benefits. The "Collections Paid to Families" shown in Figure ECON 8a reflects the $50 pass-through and other benefit adjustments. Because the pass-through payment was capped at $50, the increase in payments was mostly attributable to increases in the number of families receiving collections and not to increases in the amount of child support passed-through to individual families.
  • Over 80 percent of AFDC collections (collections on behalf of AFDC recipients and for past due support assigned to the state by former AFDC recipients) was retained to reimburse the state and federal government for the cost of welfare benefits paid to the family.

Figure ECON 8b. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Paymentsfor Current Support by Noncustodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment,1986 - 1996

Figure ECON 8b. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Paymentsfor Current Support by Noncustodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment,1986 - 1996

  • Figure ECON 8a represents the average annual payment of current support by non-custodial parents for families receiving services through the child support enforcement system. Payments on behalf of families not receiving AFDC were about twice as large as those payments for families receiving AFDC. (Note that many families not on AFDC may have received AFDC sometime in the past.)
  • Annual payments on behalf of AFDC and non-AFDC families have increased by about 33 percent in current dollars between FY 1986 and FY 1996. However, when converted to constant dollars, per capita payments have not quite kept pace with inflation (ECON 8a).
  • In FY 1996 collections were received from about 60 percent of the cases with orders and those collections represented about 52 percent of the current child support due (Table ECON 8b2). About 32 percent of the current support due on behalf of AFDC families was collected, compared to 60 percent collected on behalf of non-AFDC families.

Table ECON 8b1. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Paymentsfor Current Support by Noncustodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment,1986 - 1996

  Current Dollars Constant '96 Dollars Current Dollars Constant '96 Dollars Current Dollars Constant '96 Dollars CPI-U
1986-96
$ Change

$321

-$93 $655 -$181 $719 $101 47.3
As Percent 33.5% -6.8% 33.8% -6.5% 50.2% 4.9% 43.2%
1986 $959 1,373 $1,936 2,772 $1,433 2,051 109.6
1987 910 1,257 1,851 2,557 1,416 1,956 113.6
1988 975 1,293 1,793 2,378 1,468 1,947 118.3
1989 1,046 1,324 1,770 2,240 1,457 1,844 124.0
1990 1,110 1,333 1,998 2,399 1,672 2,007 130.7
1991 1,049 1,208 1,989 2,291 1,711 1,971 136.2
1992 1,210 1,353 2,314 2,588 1,919 2,146 140.3
1993 1,230 1,336 2,498 2,712 1,990 2,161 144.5
1994 1,178 1,247 2,266 2,399 1,889 2,000 148.2
1995 1,294 1,332 2,595 2,672 2,167 2,231 152.4
1996 1,280 1,280 2,591 2,591 2,152 2,152 156.9

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1996 Data Report, 1997, and Twentieth Annual Report to Congress, for the period ending September 30, 1995 and earlier years.

Table ECON 8b2. Proportion of IV-D Cases with Orders and Collections and Proportion of Amount Paid to Amount Due, FY 1996

 

AFDC Cases

Non-AFDC Cases

Total Cases

Number of Cases with Orders

(Current Support)

2.44 4.13 6.57
Number of Cases with Collections

(Current Support)

1.20 2.76 3.96
Percent of Cases with Collection

(Current Support)

49% 67% 60%
Amount of Current Support Due $4,795 $11,971 $16,766
Amount of Current Support Paid $1,535 $ 7,150 $ 8,684
Percent Paid 32% 60% 52%

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1996 Data Report, and unpublished data.

Figure ECON 8c. Percent of Single Mothers Receiving Child Support and Alimony by Marital Status and Receipt of Income Assistance, 1978 - 1996

Figure ECON 8c. Percent of Single Mothers Receiving Child Support and Alimony by Marital Status and Receipt of Income Assistance, 1978 - 1996

Table ECON 8c. Percent of Single Mothers Receiving Child Support and Alimony by Marital Status and Receipt of Income Assistance, 1978 - 1995

 

Divorced

Separated

Never Married

AFDC Non-AFDC AFDC Non-AFDC AFDC Non-AFDC
1977-95 - Change

21.8

-6.2 19.2 -1.6 14.0 15.2
1977 13.2 57.5 7.1 34.2 2.6 3.7
1978 14.0 56.1 7.2 32.4 5.4 9.9
1979 12.2 55.2 9.3 34.3 4.6 9.9
1980 13.0 53.3 7.4 28.4 1.8 9.2
1981 13.9 56.9 10.4 33.2 3.3 5.6
1982 10.8 52.0 8.0 30.3 4.0 9.7
1983 13.8 49.5 9.1 32.3 3.9 8.2
1984 15.6 53.3 6.2 28.6 4.2 10.9
1985 18.3 54.1 10.3 28.2 9.0 11.2
1986 29.4 55.0 16.7 32.5 9.0 12.2
1987 30.6 52.2 14.8 31.1 11.3 9.6
1988 26.5 50.3 14.4 30.3 10.3 11.3
1989 32.9 52.4 17.3 30.0 13.5 11.1
1990 25.0 53.7 16.6 30.3 14.0 12.4
1991 27.9 54.5 15.0 27.1 12.7 13.1
1992 30.6 54.6 17.2 30.4 14.8 15.5
1993 33.1 53.7 23.0 28.1 13.4 18.1
1994 33.6 52.1 24.2 32.1 14.4 18.9
1995 35.0 51.3 26.3 32.6 16.6 18.9

Note: Married women also receive child support, but the proportion of eligible married women cannot be identified on the March CPS file. Child support and alimony were not collected as separate items prior to 1988. They are left combined for all years to ensure comparability across years.

Source: Elaine Sorensen, the Urban Institute, unpublished data from the March Current Population Survey Public Use Files, 1978 - 1996.

  • Figure ECON 8c reflects the proportion of single-parent female-headed families receiving child support by marital status. Divorced and separated women are more likely to receive child support than are never-married women.
  • Since the Child Support Enforcement Program was authorized in the mid 1970s the proportion of divorced, separated, and never-married AFDC recipients families receiving child support has been increasing.
  • The proportion of never-married women receiving child support but not AFDC payments is very similar to the proportion of never-married AFDC recipients receiving child support. Both trend lines reflect the paternity establishment activities of the Child Support Enforcement Program, as very few paternities are established outside of the CSE system.
  • The proportion of divorced and separated women receiving child support but not AFDC payments has remained relatively constant.

Figure ECON 8d. Children Under 18 Born Outside of Marriage with Paternity Established

Figure ECON 8d. Children Under 18 Born Outside of Marriage with Paternity Established

  • Due to the increasing numbers of children born outside of marriage, each year the cumulative number of children needing paternity to be established has risen steadily over the last two decades. As shown in Figure ECON 8d the cumulative total of children born outside of marriage as of 1996 was about 17.6 million and more than half of these children did not have a legally identified father.

Table ECON 8d. Children Under 18 Born Outside of Marriage with Paternity Established (In thousands)

  1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1995 1996
Children Under 18 Born Outside of Marriage 6,361 7,130 7,992 8,900 9,939 11,106 12,539 14,130 15,723 16,452 17,167
Paternity Not Established 3,847 4,314 4,849 5,409 6,090 6,758 7,500 8,402 9,191 9,267 9,298
Paternity Established 2,514 2,817 3,143 3,491 3,849 4,348 5,039 5,728 6,532 7,185 7,870
Percent of Children 39.5% 39.5% 39.3% 39.2% 38.7% 39.2% 40.2% 40.5% 41.5% 43.7% 45.8%
Paternities Established for Non-Marital Births in a Year:
Paternity Not Established 544 666 715 770 878 1,005 1,165 1,225 1,290 1,254 1,267
Paternities Established 111 144 173 219 245 307 393 512 676 931 1,002
Percent of Children 20.4% 21.6% 24.2% 28.4% 27.9% 30.5% 33.7% 41.8% 52.5% 74.2% 79.1%

Note: Total children under 18 years of age who were born outside of marriage is the cumulative total of nonmarital births less deaths; paternities established is the cumulative total of voluntary and C.S.E. paternity establishment as well as estimated births legitimized by marriage and adoption. An unknown number of children born outside of marriage are living with step-fathers who may have assumed paternal responsibility without legal adoption.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics of the United States, annual and Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 46, No. 1, Supplement 2, September 11, 1997 and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1996 Data Report, 1997, and Twentieth Annual Report to Congress, for the period ending September 30, 1995 and earlier years.

  • As shown in Table ECON 8d the number of paternities established each year as a percent of the number of children born outside of marriage each year has more than tripled between 1978 and 1996. This increasing rate of paternity establishment kept the overall proportion of children with paternity established at 40 percent even though the number of children born outside of marriage was increasing over time.
  • The proportion of all children under age 18 with paternities established has increased slightly over the past three years, increasing to nearly 46 percent by 1996. This increase reflects the additional paternities now being established in the hospitals at the time of the birth of the child.
  • Reporting of in-hospital paternity establishments is voluntary and reflects reports from only 32 states, therefore the rate of increase in paternity establishments over the past three years may be underestimated.