Data/Method: We use the Luxembourg Income Study wave 2016, containing information on a total of 22,418 single mothers split across all the six countries (ranging from approximately 800-10,000 within each country). We use descriptive statistics to present the proportion in each country living in extended-family households, to examine the characteristics of single mothers in extended-family households, and to document child support receipt in these households. We then conduct a series of multivariate models to test whether the presence of extended relatives is related to the likelihood and amount of child support receipt.
Results: Results indicate that (1) the prevalence of single mother households living with other relatives ranged from a minimum of 13% in the U.S. to 29% in Guatemala. (2) Descriptive findings show that single mothers living with other relatives are less likely to receive any child support in all countries except Peru; however, there is no consistent pattern for the amounts received. (3) After controlling for other characteristics, mothers living in extended-family households are still less likely to receive child support in Chile and the United States, countries where extended families are less prevalent; in contrast, this association is not statistically significant in countries where extended families are most prevalent.
Conclusions/Implications: Results demonstrate the potential for extended-family members to influence fathers’ preferences in providing child support, especially for single-mother households that are already financially disadvantaged. A better understanding of these households and their financial resources can inform social work practice, as economic stability is an important social justice issue, particularly for marginalized households. We discuss implications of our findings for child support policy, child well-being, and for understanding more complex families in several countries.