International history of child support
History of child support across the world
History of child support in the UK
History of child support in the USA
History of child support in some mainly-English-speaking countries
History of child support in some (non-UK) European countries
Comparisons across some mainly-English-speaking countries
Comparisons across some European countries
Child support systems across the world
Reciprocal arrangements with other countries
The cost of children in other nations
Can Child Support Agencies ever work?
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History of child support across the world

There are various names for these payments, even in English: "child maintenance", "child support", "child alimony", and in the UK "child support maintenance"! To add to the confusion, sometimes the term "child support" is used to include all forms of support, including state support, and some people want to include "care" in the term.

The topic here is the regular financial support by liable relatives, normally the parents, for the raising of their children.

The history project

Building up a picture of the history of child maintenance / child support across many countries in the world is a long term project. Rather than wait until it is completed before publishing any results, the intention is to publish the "work in progress" as part of new editions of this web site, for the first of each month. So the pages in this topic, identified by the links above & below, will gradually be filled out with extra dates, more information and references, and eventually more analysis.

I ask anyone with useful material to get in touch at: history@childsupportanalysis.co.uk .

The countries concerned

Many countries are being examined individually. Here are their pages:

United Kingdom (starting with England & Wales in the 17th Century).
United States of America (mainly the 19th & 20th Centuries).
Australia, Canada, New Zealand.
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden.

Comparisons between countries

Some countries are being compared with one-another in tabular format. Here are the pages concerned:

Mainly-English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States of America.
European-countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Child support systems across the world

A complementary project is to build up a view of the world's child support systems as they are now.

Why do countries operate child support systems?

This is a matter that needs to be deduced from the history. But time after time the answer always appears to be for one or both of the following objectives. Everything else is just detail.

  1. To reduce child poverty.
  2. To reduce welfare spending.
Page last updated: 17 December, 2003 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003