Demographic and Socioeconomic Characteristics of Nonresident Parents

Congressional Research Service
October 2021

More than 9.7 million parents in the United States don’t live with their children. Recognizing the important role nonresident parents play in their children’s life, policymakers requested data on nonresident parents and suggestions for beneficial policies. The data in this report, obtained from the 2018 Survey of Income and Program Participation, captured demographic, relationship, and economic information. The survey also asked the parents about their compliance with child support orders. Specific to child support, the data suggests that finding child support policies that balance a parent’s ability to pay and the parent’s ability to meet basic needs will be challenging but beneficial. The data also suggests that visitation and child support, while historically treated as separate issues, are intertwined and should be dealt with as such.