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Higher poverty risk for Texas children of single-parent homes

For single parents in Texas, trying to balance raising a child with bringing in an income can be incredibly difficult. Being present and supportive for the child can be difficult while also trying to secure an income to provide clothes, food, school supplies, health care, child care and everything else.

Compared to children raised in two-parent households, Texas children that live in a single-parent household are more likely to live in poverty. In fact, 60 percent of children living in single-parent household are subjected to long-term poverty. This circumstance can often deprive the child of future opportunity, creating barriers to a better quality of life.

Child support payments are critical for children of divorced parents or parents that were never married. For single parents, child support payments can cut poverty rates by a quarter. However, an alarming and overwhelming percentage of parents ordered to pay child support are behind on those court-ordered payments.

Across the entire state of Texas, an estimated one million parents are required to pay child support, but:

  • 460,000 are behind on payments
  • Collectively, an estimated $11 billion is unaccounted for in child support payments

It can be confusing for a child in Texas when his or her parents split ways. Divorce might not be initially easy, but there are studies that indicate that children of divorce very often grow up to be healthy adults with functional relationships. However, in order for a child to remain resilient in the face of divorce, it is critical that the child continues to feel supported. This includes financially supported.

Source: Valley Morning Star, “Child support has major impact on poverty,” Bill Reagan, May 10, 2013

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