< Back to Search

Demographic Survey Results from Nine State IV-D Programs

DCL-08-24

Published: June 4, 2008
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies, Tribal Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Federal Reporting
Types:
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL)

DCL-08-24

DATE: June 4, 2008

TO: ALL STATE AND TRIBAL IV-D DIRECTORS

RE: Demographic Survey Results from Nine State IV-D Programs

Dear Colleague:

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) recently sponsored a pilot State demographic survey to identify State-level demographic data on the social and economic characteristics of the child support population. Nine States with the largest IV-D programs were selected to participate in this survey: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. The primary goals of the survey were to ascertain the types of demographic and socioeconomic data that States collect on IV-D clients and to summarize the information that States provided on these characteristics. Following is a brief summary of the final report, which provides details about how the study was conducted and some of the key findings.

SUMMARY

OCSE contracted with Courtland Consulting and its subcontractor, the Urban Institute, to conduct this survey and to analyze the data that the States provided. This was OCSE’s first effort at obtaining and analyzing demographic information including estimates of income and poverty, race/ethnicity, public assistance status, employment status, marital status, geographic distribution, and education. While the demographic characteristics of the child support population have been explored in prior studies, the data that was collected with this demographic survey was unique in that it was collected directly from State IV-D programs.

The survey was conducted during the second quarter of Federal fiscal year 2007 and States had the option of completing the survey electronically through a web-based questionnaire or in hardcopy form. States completed three sections of the survey: one for custodial parents (CPs), one for children, and one for non custodial parents (NCPs). All of the States were able to provide some of the requested demographic information.

The results of this survey provide quantitative data on the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of parents and children in nine States that together serve nearly 50 percent of IV-D clients nationally. According to the demographic survey, the nine surveyed States have 6.6 million CPs in their active caseload. The survey finds that 46 percent of NCPs and 39 percent of CPs were over 40 years old. While the IV-D programs serve a large number of children under 18 years of age, they also serve some “children” who are 18 years old or older. Specifically, 22 percent of the “children” in the IV-D programs in the surveyed States are 18 years old or older. The race/ethnicity composition varied among all the States and the survey found that overall 45 percent of CPs were identified as White; 32.1 percent were Black; 19.3 percent were Hispanic and 3.6 percent were classified as Other Race, which consisted of those who were identified as Asian, American Indian, and other races.

Seven of the nine States provided employment data indicating that 57 percent of CPs and 64 percent of NCPs were employed at the time of the survey. Average monthly earnings for CPs and NCPs who were employed were about the same when averaged across the three States that provided this information; average monthly earnings were $1,811 for employed CPs and $1,834 for employed NCPs. Other key findings from the survey are listed below.

Very little information was collected for some demographic characteristics such as poverty status, marital status, educational attainment and receipt of public assistance other than TANF and Medicaid; and the extent to which NCPs have a Tribal case. Despite these limitations, the findings from the survey are indicative of a very diverse child support population and help point the way to improved services that are more closely tailored to the needs of the children and families.

KEY FINDINGS OF THE DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY

  • 84 percent of children served by the IV-D programs lived with their biological mother, 5 percent lived with their biological father and 11 percent of children lived with a third party
  • At the time of the survey, 10 percent of CPs and 12 percent of children in the IV-D programs were receiving TANF; 26 percent of CPs and 32 percent of children were receiving Medicaid; and 2 percent of children were receiving Foster Care Services
  • 11 percent of CPs and 18 percent of NCPs had private health insurance for their children; 22 percent of children in the IV-D program had private health insurance
  • 94.6 percent of CPs were female; 90.5 percent of NCPs were male
  • 11 percent of NCPs had an interstate case
  • The average percentage of NCPs with an international case among the six States that provided this information was 1 percent, ranging from a high of 6 percent to a low of 0%

 

If you have any questions or would like a copy of the full report, please contact Angela Ingram-Jones at aingram-jones@acf.hhs.gov or (202-401-5735).

Sincerely,

Margot Bean
Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement