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Child Support Engagement in Rural and Non-Rural Counties: More Engagement and Lower Amount Owed in Rural Areas

Publication Date

This brief describes differences in engagement in child support for custodial parents living in rural and nonrural areas. Key findings are below.

Key Points:

  • Custodial parents in rural areas were more likely to have a formal child support agreement than those in nonrural areas over the entire period from 2010 to 2018.
  • Between 2010 and 2018, there was a decline in the percentage of eligible custodial parent with a child support order, with the largest decline in rural areas. Though child support orders continued to be more common in rural areas than nonrural areas, the gap between rural and nonrural areas decreased from about seven percentage points in 2010 and to about four percentage points in 2018.
  • On average, custodial parents in rural areas received less in child support and had lower child support order amounts—this is, they were supposed to receive less child support than those in nonrural areas. They also did actually receive less.
  • Custodial parents in rural areas were more likely to have formal parenting time agreements than those in nonrural areas.

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Product Type
ASPE Issue Brief
Children | Families with Children | Underserved Populations
Location- & Geography-Based Data
County Data