Are moms less likely than dads to pay child support?

In 2011, America’s custodial fathers were owed a total of $1.7 billion and custodial mothers were owed $12.1 billion (keep in mind, moms who are owed child support outnumber dads almost 9 to 1).

So far, the data isn’t looking great for mothers who don’t live with their kids, is it, Jack? But there’s more to it — custodial fathers are in a better situation financially, even without child support payments. Custodial dads who don’t receive the child support they’re due have an average household income that is $9,749 higher than dads who do get child support. For custodial moms, it’s a completely different story: Those who don’t receive the child support they’ve been awarded have a household income that’s $4,132 lower than moms who do.

That’s not all. The average household income of a dad who doesn’t get the child support money he’s due is $51,791. For moms, that figure is $26,231.

Poverty rates also differ between custodial mothers and fathers, even if you set aside whether or not they’re receiving child support payments. In 2011, 31.8 percent of custodial mothers were living in poverty — the figure for custodial fathers is half that. That gap has persisted since 1993, although it narrowed in 2001 and again in 2009. Looking at the chart below, I’d hazard a guess that was because more custodial fathers lost their jobs in a bad economy.