Where to start? I think I’ll stick with the question and answer that floored me the first time I took this quiz — number 11: “In the United States, fathers currently owe mothers 24 billion dollars in unpaid child support.” The statistic comes from the Report of the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, 1990. So I’m going to google “Report of the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement 2010” and see if there’s an update. My prediction — not too much change.
Hmmm. Several links to state offices. I need to go to the main site. I googled “office of child support enforcement” and found the OCSE main page. Looks like the bureaucratic order is as follows: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services > Administration for Children and Families > Office of Child Support Enforcement. The Fact Sheet looks promising. I’ll try that, and then use any search option I can find on the page.
Nope. Can’t find the amount easily on the Fact Sheet. I’m trying Frequently Asked Questions in the left-hand menu. Nope. OK — search box: “How much money do fathers owe mothers?” Nope. OK, I’m trying google outside of the OCSE site — same question. Second page of hits has one to “Child support” on Wikipedia, so I’m trying that.
OMG — the United States, along with Somalia, are the only two nations in the UN who did not ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1992). The Wikipedia entry has LOTS of information. But I still can’t find what I need. I don’t know how much money fathers in the U.S. owe mothers, but the OCSE site does say that it recovered $25 billion in child support in 2007.
There’s another Wikipedia entry focused on the U.S.: Child support in the United States.
AHA! I don’t even know how I got to this information, but it was through one of the external links at the bottom of the “Child support in the United States” Wikipedia article. At U. S. Census Bureau > Child Support, I found a pdf called “Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007,” which states the following:
About 62.7 percent of the $34.1 billion in child support due was reported as received, averaging $3,350 per custodial parent who was due support.
I have found the update! In 2007, fathers in the U. S. owe mothers $34.1 billion in child support. Difference between 1990 — $10.1 billion. So $10,100,000,000 divided by 17 years equals 594,117,647.0588. Each year since 1990, the amount fathers owe mothers in child support in the U.S. increases by almost $600 million. Whooopeeee!
There are other very disturbing facts from that same pdf:
One-quarter (24.6 percent) of all custodial parents had incomes below poverty, while 18.2 percent of those who received at least some child support payments were below poverty.
D’oh! Went back to the Wikipedia article to see how I got the information. If you scroll down to the External Links and then click on the last link under Census, that leads you to the U. S. Child Support Statistics – U. S. Census. And guess what! The link above that one says that $37 billion was due custodial parents in 2003. But that’s not fathers owing mothers. Hmmm. Did I get the update correct? Nope. The statistic on the pdf says the amount due custodial parents, NOT the amount fathers owe mothers. I’m pretty sure the majority of custodial parents are mothers, but those custodial parents include fathers, extended family.
So I have yet to find the update. Sigh. I was ecstatic when I thought I’d found the update. So easy to mis-read information when I want to find something so badly. And I have not even tried to find the original 1990 stats from the OCSE.