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Child Support and Alimony: 1983 (Supplemental Report)

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Report Number P23-148


The concern has continued over the financial situation of women and their children after divorce and separation and over the situation of never-married mothers.2 This concern is in large part due to the low average incomes and accompanying high incidence of poverty among families with female householders and no husband present.3 The demand from both public and private concerns has correspondingly continued for data on the economic situation of women and children after marital dissolution and of never-married mothers.

This report presents information on both the award and actual receipt of child support to women on behalf of their children and on alimony for their own support. Additional data concerning receipt and type of property settlement following divorce is provided for ever-divorced women.

The Bureau of the Census, under the joint sponsorship with the Department of Health and Human Services, first conducted a survey specifically designed to obtain data on child support and alimony in the spring of 1979. The survey, with minor modifications, was conducted again in both the spring of 1982 and 1984 by the Bureau of the Census and sponsored, in part, by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), Department of Health and Human Services. Data from the 1979 and 1982 surveys were presented in Current Population eports, Series P-23, Nos. 112 and 140, respectively.4 Findings from the 1984 survey are presented in this report.

2 In 1984, such concern culminated in the enactment of amendments to the child support enforcement legislation. These amendments, provisions of which were to take effect prior to 1986, strengthen currently existing enforcement regulations and add new sanctions for nonpayment of support. See the “Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984." Pub. L. No. 98-378, 98 Stat. 1305, 42 USC Sections 601 et seq. (1984).

3 For example, in 1983 of families with children under 18, those with a female householder and no husband present had average incomes of $11,730 with a poverty rate of 47 percent, compared with $31,520 and 11 percent for all other families. Income figures for families can be found in table 28 of Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 146; poverty rates in table 18 of Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 147.

2 For a comparison of the 1982 and 1979 surveys, see Current Population Reports, Series P-23, No. 140, the section entitled “Changes in the Survey".

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

Page Last Revised - October 28, 2021
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