Nonresident Fathers’ Spending on Children: Child Support Payments and Housing Instability

Patricia Lewis, Sabino Kornrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research finds that fathers’ monetary contributions are associated with housing instability, but it is unclear whether effects are similar across more and less severe types of housing instability. In this research, we investigate how nonresident fathers’ monetary contributions are linked to having skipped rent or mortgage payments, moving in with others (“doubling up”) in the last year, moving residences more than once, or having been evicted or homeless. We use data on a population of at-risk families using the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study (FFCWS) (n = 1,919). We estimate logistic regression models that control for socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Both formal and informal financial support from fathers was significantly associated with lower mother/child housing instability. Housing instability appears to diminish more rapidly with greater informal support than with greater formal support, but the confidence intervals for these estimates overlap, making them indistinguishable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1470-1497
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • child support
  • father–child relationship
  • household living arrangements
  • housing instability
  • single parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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