U.S. Census report highlights financial struggle of mothers who have custody of children


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Mothers with custody of children are nearly two times as likely as fathers with custody to be living in poverty, according to a new report. They are also less likely to have a full-time job and more likely to be unemployed.

The U.S. Census report Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2017 released in May 2020, provides a narrow financial picture of received child support focusing on key demographics. 

“Many children today live with one parent while their other parent lives elsewhere. Without the advantage of both parents in the same household, a large number of these custodial parents and their children are economically disadvantaged and live below poverty,” according to the report.

Fathers are more likely now to have custody of children than they were in 1994 but the ratio of mothers who hold custody of children is four to one. The percentage of mothers with custody was 79.9 compared to 20.1% of fathers with custody in 2018. It means 10.3 of the 12.9 million parents with custody of their children were mothers.

The more children a parent had in their custody, the more impoverished they were likely to be, the report states. 

“Custodial parents with more children had a greater likelihood to be living below poverty. Among custodial mothers with one child who had a parent living outside their household, 18.7% were in poverty. The poverty rate increased to 29.2% for those with two children and 50.8% for custodial mothers with three or more children in their custodial family,” the report said.

Parents receiving financial support for children on average get less than $300. Custodial parents who have a legal or informal child support agreement received approximately $286 a month or $3,431 a year.

Mothers were more educated in 2018 than they were in 1994. The percentage of mothers with at least an Associate’s Degree rose to 33.8% from 17.1%. 

The entire report can be found on the U.S. Census website.


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