Accessibility statement

Poverty among non-resident fathers in the UK

Researchers: Christine Skinner and Antonia Keung 
Duration: January 2015 to ongoing


Very little is known about the status of non-resident fathers in the general population. The statutory Child Support Agency/ Statutory Child Maintenance services do have administrative data, but this only about those who have some contact with these agencies, so it is a particular sub-set of the general population of non-residents fathers.


The aim of this project is to explore the poverty status of separated fathers both before and after they have paid child maintenance for the upkeep of their children.


We are conducting secondary analysis of a general population survey, the Family Resources Survey (FRS), to gain a sample of separated fathers. We know from other population surveys, that around 50 percent of separated families have no child maintenance agreement in place. The secondary analysis of the FRS should help provide an indication of the affordability of payments relative to income levels. Also we intend to look at the level of informal support fathers provide in the form of gifts and other payments (school fees pocket money for example). 

Policy aims

The study will help inform the policy on child maintenance obligations and social security policy and contribute to debates about poverty in separated families, especially that potentially experienced by separated fathers.

Please see our first report - Skinner, C. and Keung, A. (30 September 2016) Department of Work and Pensions Committee Child Maintenance Inquiry – submitted written evidence: Non-Resident Fathers’ Child Maintenance Payments and the Effect On Income Poverty: Analysis of the Family Resources Survey.

Please contact for more information

Associated Research   

Child maintenance

International perspectives and policy challenges - ESRC Research Seminar Series