Child Custody Stats of Interest


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Child Custody Stats of Interest

After seeing a twitter post setting out “custody facts” in the USA, we at Evans & Company Family Lawyers decided to do a comparison.

Below is a summary of the data and conclusions:-

  • The core USA data comes from information available from 2009; and
  • The Australian data comes from Census 2011 and the Department of Human Services’ 2014 Annual Report available online; and
  • Because of the way the data was expressed, in some aspects, direct comparison is unavailable, but a close comparison remains available in the format below.

In the USA, the following statistics were circulated:-

  • There are 13.7 million single parents on record in the USA;
  • Those parents care for 21.8 million children (i.e. this is the number of children living in single parent families);
  • Of single parents in the USA, 82.6% are women and only 17.4% are men;
  • Expressed as a percentage, 26.3% of kids under 21 years of age in the USA, are living in single parent families; and
  • As regards child support, only 63% of child support payments are made on time – even in a jurisdiction where jail time is an option for serial non-payers.

In Australia, the following statistics exist as located by our staff from Government records:-

  • Via Census 2011 data updated for accuracy in 2013, Australia’s population totalled 22,819,000 and there were a total of 6,705,000 family groups;
  • Of the 6.7m families, 909,000 were single parent families (or 13.55%);
  • 2.49m people were living in single parent families (10.91% of the entire population);
  • There are 1.012m dependent children living in single parent families;
  • The gender divide in Australia is that the gender ratio amongst single parents in Australia is 82.4% female and 17.6% male – very similar to the USA result; and
  • As regards child support, the stats are expressed somewhat differently, with the Government recording that as at June, 2014, the percentage of parents paying child support who had no arrears was 75.7%.

The surprises for us as lawyers is how closely we model the USA and that almost 1 in 5 single parent families involves a father custodial parent in both Countries.

The negative data for us, is that at least a 1/4 of the child support accounts in Australia involve arrears – that’s 1 in 4 families reliant upon support are not getting it paid properly.

Thanks for reading.