Child Support Supplement Sample Notes

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The Child Support Supplement, first fielded in 1979, is a biennial survey for identifying households with children whose biological mother or father lives outside the household. Individuals were eligible for participation in the supplement if they were 15 or older and lived with own children 21 years and younger whose other parent was absent from the household. The goal of the survey is to understand the characteristics of people receiving child support payments to develop and maintain programs that further assist this population.

The Child Support Supplement data provides information on the nature of legal and informal child support arrangements including financial assistance provided by the absent biological parent, actual versus awarded child support, visitation rights, and health insurance coverage. This information complements data collected in the ASEC, fielded in March, about income from child support and alimony payments. Data gathered for the Child Support Supplement, administered in April, are matched to the same individuals in the March ASEC file instead of being included in the April basic monthly sample. The documentation explaining why this is done is scant to non-existent. As a result, households interviewed in April but not in March ASEC due to the month-in-sample rotation (explained in more detail here) are not present in the Child Support supplement in March. In addition, there are individuals who were interviewed as part of the ASEC who were not interviewed in April. These cases have blank values for all Child Support Supplement variables.

The universes for many child support supplement questions were not stated in the original documentation. Instead, we offer the suggested universes from Unicon documentation. Still, the suggested universes are not straight-forward. Responses about the same child care agreement within the household might be found on either the parent or child record. Some universes for adult record variables are determined by responses on the child's record, or vice versa, so a cross tabulation might not show the indicated universe in the IPUMS documentation. The variable description will indicate in which record the response will be found. For analyses including child support supplement variables, use the Child Support Supplement weight CSSUPPWT.

Child Support Supplement Codebooks

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