Child Support in Immigrant Families
- 410 Downloads
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.
KeywordsNonresident fathers Child support Nativity Citizenship Children in immigrant families Custodial mothers
This research was supported by generous funding from The Foundation for Child Development Young Scholars Program.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Chaudry, A., & Fortuny, K. (2010). Children of immigrants: Economic well-being. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
- Chuang, S. S., & Moreno, R. P. (2008). On new shores: Understanding immigrant fathers in North America. Lanham: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
- 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
- Fortuny, K., & Chaudry, A. (2009). Children of immigrants: Immigration trends. Faction Sheet No. 1. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
- Fortuny, K., & Chaudry, A. (2011a). Children of immigrants: Growing national and state diversity. Brief No. 5. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
- Fortuny, K., & Chaudry, A. (2011b). A comprehensive review of immigrant access to health and human services. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Migration Policy Institute. (2013). Mexican immigrants in the United States: Migration Information Source. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.Google Scholar
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Nepomnyaschy, L., Magnuson, K. A., & Berger, L. (2012). Child support and young children's development. Social Service Review, 86(1), 3–35.Google Scholar
- 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
- Passel, J., & Cohn, D. V. (2012). Unauthorized immigrants: 11.1 million in 2012. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- U.S. Census Bureau. (2012b). Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2011: Current Population Reports, pp. 60–242.Google Scholar
- 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
- 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