Public views on child support

This study will assess whether the British public believes the government should require non-resident parents to pay child maintenance to support their children. It will provide the first detailed examination of how much maintenance it believes it should require in different family circumstances. 

Researchers will examine whether the values of the British public align with current government proposals to reduce the State’s role in setting the amount of child maintenance non-resident parents must pay, and in enforcing those payments.

Using the British Social Attitudes 2012 survey, respondents will be asked how much child maintenance the government should require non-resident parents to pay in different scenarios. The scenarios will be desingned to reveal how people take into account both parents’ incomes, as well as their marital status, relationship duration, and their formation of new families. 

Project details



Ms Caroline Bryson (BPSR), Professor Ira Ellman (Arizona State University), Stephen McKay (Lincoln University), Joanna Miles (Cambridge University)

Funding Programme:

Children and Families

Grant amount and duration:


November 2011 - March 2014