The Economic Reality of Nonresident Mothers and Their Children

Brief

The Economic Reality of Nonresident Mothers and Their Children

Abstract

In 2002, 4.7 million children lived apart from their mother, up from 3.7 million in 1997. Despite their growing numbers, nonresident mothers and their children have remained largely under the radar. This brief provides a national portrait of nonresident mothers and their children, using data from the 2002 National Survey of America's Families (NSAF). It shows that nearly 40 percent of children living apart from their mother live apart from both of their parents. Most of these children do not receive child support and those living apart from both parents experience relatively high rates of poverty. Nonetheless, nonresident mothers are more economically insecure than their children who live elsewhere. Despite these high poverty rates, many of these children may benefit from increased child support enforcement.

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