In my post The child support catastrophe I originally referenced US Census Statistics from 1991. At the time I wrote the post, this was the most recent data I could find. This is obviously very old, and much could have changed since then. I spent some more time searching and finally found new data. The PDF version of the report is here, and I’ve created an image of the source table you can view here. I’ll update the original post to reflect this new data, but I wanted to call out this most recent data in a separate post. In the 1991 data, every step of the process was biased against men, with the end result being that women received over 94% of child support dollars paid. This new data is very similar. All of the steps of the process are biased against men except the percentage of support due which is collected (the two are now roughly equal).
It starts with who is granted custody:
Looking at the figures for 2007, it appears to me that there may be a sampling anomaly. The percentage of custodial mothers awarded support dropped by 4% between 2005 and 2007. This is 3% lower than any other year in the series. I’m not aware of any sweeping changes which occurred in this time frame, and since parents receive child support for between 18 and 21 years it seems highly unlikely that the makeup of the population would change this much in just 2 years. I ran the same data using a 2 report moving average to smooth out sampling variability some:
I’m not sure why they don’t have data beyond 2007. Since they publish this every other year they should have data out for at least 2009. Once they publish the 2009 and 2011 data we will have a better understanding of if the 2007 data shows a trend towards slightly less bias against fathers or if it was in fact a sampling error.
Update June 2012: The 2009 data is now available. It appears that the 2007 data was in fact an anomaly due to sampling error.