Who Responds to Survey Questions about Child Support? Turnover in the Survey of Program Dynamics Child Support Sample

Samara Gunter, Colby College

Surveys that collect data on child support orders use whether children have a parent living outside the household as a screening question for the child support module. If parents transition in and out of households frequently, this screening question may not capture the true child support-eligible population. I use the Survey of Program Dynamics,a large-scale panel dataset with yearly information on child support orders, to examine transitions in the child support survey population and find turnover of about one-third of the child support sample between waves. If sample turnover is high because parents return to the household, current estimates of the number of children without child support orders may be overstated. Another possibility is that the screening questions miss eligible households and the child support-eligible population is underestimated. I explore the reasons for turnover in the child support sample and compare the sample characteristics to other national surveys.

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Presented in Poster Session 7