Millennials are the Largest Generation of Custodial Parents in the Child Support Program

There were 10.6 million custodial parents in the child support program’s Federal Case Registry in December 2019 (Figure 1). Approximately 46% of them, or 4.89 million, were millennials, which represented the largest generation among custodial parents.2 Generation X was the next largest generation of custodial parents with 4.31 million, representing 41% of custodial parents. In contrast, there were only 1.24 million custodial parents who were Baby Boomers or in older generations, representing an estimated 12% of custodial parents and less than 200,000 who were Generation Z and in younger generations, representing 2% of custodial parents.

Figure 1. Number and Percent of Custodial and Noncustodial Parents in the Child Support Program by Generation

figure 1 millennials

Source: OCSE’s Federal Case Registry, December 2019

Note: Each generation has its age range in 2019 in parentheses. Column percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

Turning to noncustodial parents, there were nearly 10.4 million noncustodial parents in the Federal Case Registry in December 2019. Generation X was the largest generation with 4.6 million, representing 44% of noncustodial parents. Another 43% of noncustodial parents, or 4.49 million, were millennials.3 Although millennials have not yet surpassed Generation X among noncustodial parents in the child support program, we expect this to change in the next year or two.


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