In Memory of Allen Wells
This set of web pages for Allen Wells has been recreated
from web pages archived at
Key Page for Allen Wells
Re: 70% don't pay child support?
From: allenwe@microsoft.UUCP (Allen WELLS)
Subject: Re: 70% don't pay child support?
Date: 14 Feb 91 19:52:37 GMT
Reply-To: allenwe@microsoft.UUCP (Allen WELLS)
Organization: Microsoft Corp., Redmond WA
In article <1991Feb12.email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (Andy
>A friend of mine recently came up with the (astounding, to me!)
>statistic that 70% of all divorced men don't pay child support.
>Now, this immediately raised all sorts of questions in my mind,
>which she didn't know the answers to, such as:
> Does this count divorces w/o children involved?
> Does this mean "never paid a cent," "late once," or
> something in between?
> What percent of divorced men are SUPPOSED to pay child support?
I'm afraid that this statistic is even more warped than that. The
only studies that have come even CLOSE to the number you quote are
limited to samples in inner-city ghettos, where the unemployment
rate is astronomical and a huge percentage of men who do work are in
the underground economy. Most of these men are never ordered to pay
support. In fact, most of the women don't even try for it. There
is an entire underclass which is starting to be dominated by 2-3
generations which have never had a male role model, and are bailed
out by public support.
Unfortunately, the statistic is often used out of context - which
has led to the 'urban myth' that you cite.
>If anybody out there has heard of this 70% number and can tell me
>where it comes from, I'd be grateful! Of course, unbiased statistics
>on topics like this are VERY hard to come by...It usually seems that
>nobody does a survey without already having some sort of axe to grind.
>If nobody's heard of the 70%, can anyone offer an alternate number,
>with references? Many thanks,
One thing that you should keep in mind is that these numbers are
taken from SURVEYS - which is much easier to do than actually doing
some real research. There are two different things you need to know
about the survey:
- Whether the survey was of men or women
- Whether the survey was measuring ANY child support paid
or FULL compliance. Any support will count a father as
in compliance if he is making an attempt to pay, but isn't
paying in full or is late with a payment. Full compliance
will count a father as being non-compliant if he is late by
as little as a day.
The surveys I have seen seem to have generated reasonably consistent
numbers. I'll post them in a grid below:
ANY ~90% ~80%
FULL ~80% ~60%
A few cudos on these numbers:
- I have yet to see nation-wide numbers concerning compliance
after the recent enactment of the interstate compacts, IRS
enforcement, and wage garnishments. I would guess that the
numbers are likely to be up, and small-area compliance
numbers I have seen give credence to this assumption.
- These numbers are for men ordered to pay support (not just
divorced men). The percentage of men getting divorced
who are ordered to pay support is extremely high (over 95%
in every survey I have seen), but I have yet to see anyone
try to measure what percentage of children born out of
wedlock have fathers ordered to pay support.
Needless to say, which number from the above grid someone uses
depends on the point they are trying to make ... ;)
---------- "Never seal dead flies in a closed container. Doing so
Alien | may result in hazardous explosion."
---------- - documentation for the 'Fly Sniper'
Next article by Allen Wells:
Re: Boycotting the Berenstain Bears
Posted 2006 09 04