- In July, parents across the country received their first monthly payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit.
- Those payments meant millions of children did not experience hunger and poverty.
- Democrats want to expand it until at least 2025, with some saying it should be permanent.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
President Joe Biden’s expanded child tax credit didn’t just boost incomes and cut down on poverty – it also helped reduce hunger for millions of kids.
Under the expanded credit, families can receive up to $300 a month for children under 6 years old, or get $250 for children between 6 and 17. Altogether, families can receive up to $3,600 per child under 6, and up to $3,000 per child who is 6 to 17.
In the credit’s first month, the number of households where someone goes hungry fell, as did child poverty. Lower-income Americans used the money to pay off bills, and the credit made up over 1% of disposable personal income. It shows the immediate impact that the monthly payments – and could have for years (or forever) if Democrats get their way.
The Child Tax Credit cut down on poverty and boosted disposable income
A new analysis from the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities looks at data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey from the two weeks that end July 5 to the two weeks that end August 16. That period captures the first monthly check from the expanded Child Tax Credit, which was distributed starting July 15.
During that period, 3.3 million fewer adults reported their households didn’t have enough to eat – an almost one-third drop from 10.7 million to 7.4 million. And, among those households, the number of survey-takers who reported that their kids didn’t have enough to eat fell by 2 million.
That period also saw marked decreases in food hardship for Black and Latino households where someone doesn’t get enough food, according to CBPP. The food hardship rate for Black adults with children fell from 20% to 15%, and for Latino adults with children it fell from 21% to 13%.
Insider’s Madison Hoff reported that the credit didn’t just have a drastic impact on child hunger – it also stopped 3 million children from falling below the poverty line. That’s according to research from Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. As Zachary Parolin, one of report’s author noted on Twitter, normally volatile child poverty will “will likely stay low and stable through the end of 2021.” The Census Bureau found that, from 2013 to 2016, children were more likely to stay in poverty longer than adults ages 18 to 64.
-Zach Parolin (@ZParolin) August 23, 2021
And, as Hoff also reported, lower-income households were more likely to use their monthly check to pay down debts. An analysis by economists at Indeed found that, in July, the tax credit made up 1.2% of disposable personal income.
-AnnElizabeth Konkel (@AE_Konkel) August 27, 2021
Right now, the expanded tax credit is set to last for just a year, but Democrats want to extend it until at least 2025. Some want to keep the credit – and its benefits for lower-income and hungry children – forever.
“The expanded credit is in place for only one year. We cannot stop now,” several legislators – including Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, said in a statement on the day of the first payment. “Kids do not grow up in one year or five years. Parents deserve the predictability a permanent expansion would provide as they raise their families.”
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