Advertisement

Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 817–840 | Cite as

Child Support in Immigrant Families

  • Lenna Nepomnyaschy
  • Louis Donnelly
Article

Abstract

In this study, we use nationally representative data from the U.S. Current Population Survey-Child Support Supplement (N = 28,047) to examine differences in nonresident fathers’ material contributions between children of native and foreign-born mothers. We focus on contributions provided through the formal child support system (whether the mother has a child support agreement and the amount received), as well as support provided informally (the amount of informal cash and whether she receives any in-kind support). We control for a variety of individual and household characteristics, including whether the nonresident father lives in a different state or in a different country. We find that foreign-born mothers are much less likely to have a child support agreement than native-born mothers, but have similar amounts of formal support, once an agreement is in place. Compared to native-born mothers, foreign-born mothers are also much less likely to receive in-kind support, but this difference is completely explained by fathers’ distance from the child. Foreign-born mothers do not differ at all on the amount of informal cash support received from fathers. Nonresident fathers’ residence outside the U.S. is an important mechanism through which nativity affects the likelihood of having a child support order and receiving any in-kind support, but not the amount of formal support (given an order) or the amount of informal cash support. Aggregate comparisons mask important differences within the foreign-born group by mothers’ and children’s citizenship status, years in the U.S., and region of origin.

Keywords

Nonresident fathers Child support Nativity Citizenship Children in immigrant families Custodial mothers 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by generous funding from The Foundation for Child Development Young Scholars Program.

References

  1. Atkinson, A. B., Rainwater, L., & Smeeding, T. M. (1995). Income distribution in OECD countries: Evidence from the Luxembourg Income Study. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.Google Scholar
  2. Beller, A. H., & Graham, J. W. (2003). The economics of child support. In S. Grossbard-Schechtman (Ed.), Marriage and the economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Borjas, G. J. (2011). Poverty and program participation among immigrant children. The Future of Children, 21(1), 247–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Capps, R., & Fortuny, K. (2006). Immigration and child and family policy: The Urban Institute and child trends roundtable on children in low-income families. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  5. Capps, R., Horowitz, A., Fortuny, K., Bronte-Tinkew, J., & Zaslow, M. (2009). Young children in immigrant families face higher risk of food insecurity. Research brief #2009–2007: Child Trends. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  6. Chaudry, A., & Fortuny, K. (2010). Children of immigrants: Economic well-being. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  7. Chuang, S. S., & Moreno, R. P. (2008). On new shores: Understanding immigrant fathers in North America. Lanham: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  8. Chuang, S. S., & Tamis-LeMonda, C. (2009). Gender roles in immigrant families: Parenting views, practices, and child development. Sex Roles, 60(7–8), 451–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coltrane, S., Parke, R. D., & Adams, M. (2004). Complexity of father involvement in low-income Mexican American families. Family Relations, 53(2), 179–189. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-2445.2004.00008.x.Google Scholar
  10. De Anda, R. M., & Bachmeier, J. D. (2008). Immigrant fathers’ labor market activity and its consequences for the family. In S. S. Chuang & R. P. Moreno (Eds.), On new shores: Understanding immigrant fathers in North America. New York: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  11. Este, D. C., & Tachble, A. A. (2009). The perceptions and experiences of Russian immigrant and Sudanese refugee men as fathers in an urban center in Canada. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 624(1), 139–155. doi: 10.1177/0002716209334470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Flippen, C. A. (2012). Laboring underground: The employment patterns of Hispanic immigrant men in Durham, North America. Social Problems, 59(1), 21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fortuny, K., & Chaudry, A. (2009). Children of immigrants: Immigration trends. Faction Sheet No. 1. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  14. Fortuny, K., & Chaudry, A. (2011a). Children of immigrants: Growing national and state diversity. Brief No. 5. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  15. Fortuny, K., & Chaudry, A. (2011b). A comprehensive review of immigrant access to health and human services. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  16. Garasky, S., Stewart, S., Gundersen, C., & Lohman, B. (2010). Toward a fuller understanding of nonresident father involvement: An examination of child support, in-kind support, and visitation. Population Research and Policy Review, 29(3), 363–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Garfinkel, I., Meyer, D. R., & McLanahan, S. S. (1998). A brief history of child support policies in the United States. In I. Garfinkel, S. S. McLanahan, D. R. Meyer, & J. A. Seltzer (Eds.), Fathers under fire: The revolution in child support enforcement. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  18. Graham, J. W., Beller, A. H., & Hernandez, P. M. (1994). The determinants of child support income. In I. Garfinkel, S. McLanahan, & P. Robins (Eds.), Child support and child well-being. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  19. Grall, T. (2013). Custodial mothers and fathers and their child support: 2011: Current Population Reports, No. P60-246. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  20. Greene, A. D., & Moore, K. A. (2000). Nonresident father involvement and child well-being among young children in families on welfare. Marriage & Family Review, 29(2/3), 159.Google Scholar
  21. Hall, M., Greenman, E., & Farkas, G. (2010). Legal status and wage disparities for Mexican immigrants. Social Forces, 89(2), 491–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hernandez, D. J. (2004). Demographic change and the life circumstances of immigrant families. The Future of Children, 14(2), 16–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hernandez, D. J., Denton, N. A., & Macartney, S. E. (2010). Immigrant fathers: A demographic portrait. In S. S. Chuang & R. P. Moreno (Eds.), On new shores: Understanding immigrant fathers in North America. New York: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  24. Hernandez, D. J., & Napierala, J. S. (2012). Children in immigrant families: Essential to America’s future. New York: FCD child and youth well-being index (CWI) policy brief: Foundation for Child Development.Google Scholar
  25. Kalil, A., & Chen, J. H. (2008). Mothers’ citizenship status and household food insecurity among low-income children of immigrants. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2008(121), 43–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lamb, M. E. (2008). The many faces of fatherhood: Some thoughts about fatherhood and immigration. In S. S. Chuang & R. P. Moreno (Eds.), On new shores: Understanding immigrant fathers in North America. New York: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  27. Lamb, M. E., & Bougher, L. D. (2009). How does migration affect mothers’ and fathers’ roles within their families? Reflections on some recent research. Sex Roles, 60(7–8), 611–614. doi: 10.1007/s11199-009-9600-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Landale, N. S., Thomas, K. J., & Van Hook, J. (2011). The living arrangements of children of immigrants. The Future of Children, 21(1), 43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Meyer, D. R., & Cancian, M. (2012). “I'm not supporting his kids”: Nonresident fathers' contributions given mothers' new fertility. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74(1), 132–151. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00880.x.
  30. Migration Policy Institute. (2013). Mexican immigrants in the United States: Migration Information Source. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.Google Scholar
  31. Mincy, R., & Nepomnyaschy, L. (2005). Child support and minority fathers in Fragile Families. Center for Research on Child Wellbeing Working Paper #2005-23-FF. Princeton University. http://crcw.princeton.edu/workingpapers/WP05-23_mincy.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2012.
  32. Motel, S., & Patten, E. (2013). Statistical portrait of the foreign-born population in the United States, 2011. Washington, DC: Pew Research Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
  33. NCSL. (2012). State policies regarding pass-through and disregard of current month’s child support collected for families receiving TANF-funded cash assistance, 2010. National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington, DC. http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/human-services/state-policy-pass-through-disregard-child-support.aspx. Accessed 28 Aug 2013.
  34. Nepomnyaschy, L. (2007). Child support and father-child contact: Testing reciprocal pathways. Demography, 44(1), 93–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nepomnyaschy, L., & Garfinkel, I. (2010). Child support enforcement and fathers’ contributions to their nonmarital children. Social Service Review, 84(3), 341–380. doi: 10.1086/655392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nepomnyaschy, L., Magnuson, K. A., & Berger, L. (2012). Child support and young children's development. Social Service Review, 86(1), 3–35.Google Scholar
  37. Parke, R. D., Vega, E., Cookston, J. T., Perez-Brena, N., & Coltrane, S. (2008). Imagining the future of immigrant fathers. In S. S. Chuang & R. P. Moreno (Eds.), On new shores: Understanding immigrant fathers in North America (pp. 289–318). New York: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  38. Passel, J. (2011). Demography of immigrant youth: Past, present, and future. The Future of Children, 21(1), 19–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Passel, J., & Cohn, D. V. (2012). Unauthorized immigrants: 11.1 million in 2012. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
  40. Pouncy, H., Green, A., Mincy, R., Huang, C.-C., & Nepomnyaschy, L. (2003). Minority noncustodial fathers and child support: Attitudes and perceptions—a final report. Report prepared for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Small Business Innovation Research.Google Scholar
  41. Qin, D. B. (2009). Gendered processes of adaptation: Understanding parent–child relations in Chinese immigrant families. Sex Roles, 60(7–8), 467–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Strier, R., & Roer-Strier, D. (2010). Fatherhood in the context of immigration. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (pp. 435–458). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  43. Tamis-LeMonda, C., Kahana-Kalman, R., & Yoshikawa, H. (2009). Father involvement in immigrant and ethnically diverse families from the prenatal period to the second year: Prediction and mediating mechanisms. Sex Roles, 60(7), 496–509. doi: 10.1007/s11199-009-9593-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. U.S. Census Bureau. (2012a). America’s families and living arrangements, 2012. Housing and Household Economics Statistics Division, Fertility & Family Statistics Branch. http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2012.html. Accessed 2 Aug 2013.
  45. U.S. Census Bureau. (2012b). Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2011: Current Population Reports, pp. 60–242.Google Scholar
  46. U.S. Census Bureau. (2013). Current Population Survey, March/April 2012 match file: Child support technical documentation. Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  47. U.S. DHHS. (2013). Handbook on child support enforcement. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement.Google Scholar
  48. Van Hook, J., & Balistreri, K. S. (2006). Ineligible parents, eligible children: Food Stamps receipt, allotments, and food insecurity among children of immigrants. Social Science Research, 35(1), 228–251. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2004.09.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ziol-Guest, K. M., & Kalil, A. (2012). Health and medical care among the children of immigrants. Child Development, 83(5), 1494–1500. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01795.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkRutgers, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations