50-State Data Report Confirms Urgent Need to Make Game-Changing Expanded Child Tax Credit Permanent

Annie E. Casey Foundation: Smart Policies Will Help Families With the Basics, Fuel Budding Recovery

Posted June 21, 2021
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Child Tax Credit Awareness Day is June 21

Today, as the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment launched a new web­site and oth­er resources for par­ents and care­givers eli­gi­ble for an expand­ed child tax cred­it, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion released a 50-state data report that argues for mak­ing the expan­sion per­ma­nent. The Foundation’s analy­sis comes from the 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a report released annu­al­ly with state rank­ings to present a com­pre­hen­sive pic­ture of child well-being — an assess­ment that indi­cates near­ly a decade of progress after the Great Reces­sion could be erased by the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic unless pol­i­cy­mak­ers act bold­ly to sus­tain the begin­nings of a recovery.

The Foun­da­tion iden­ti­fied chal­lenges faced by kids and fam­i­lies dur­ing the cri­sis, from food and hous­ing inse­cu­ri­ty to health con­cerns — and urged imme­di­ate action from Con­gress — in a Decem­ber report. Since then, the fed­er­al child tax cred­it has been increased as well as restruc­tured to pro­vide advance month­ly pay­ments to most fam­i­lies of $250 to $300 per child.

Read the 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book

The COVID-19 cri­sis has brought many fam­i­lies to the break­ing point, espe­cial­ly par­ents and care­givers who have lost jobs and income,” said Lisa Hamil­ton, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. Mak­ing the expand­ed child tax cred­it per­ma­nent will con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing crit­i­cal finan­cial sup­port for fam­i­lies who are strug­gling to make ends meet and help reduce long-stand­ing dis­par­i­ties that affect mil­lions of fam­i­lies of color.”

Data from sur­veys con­firm that house­holds with chil­dren were hit espe­cial­ly hard dur­ing the pan­dem­ic in 2020 but that the U.S. appeared to be expe­ri­enc­ing the start of a recov­ery in the first months of 2021. The fig­ures from this year’s Data Book illus­trate that return­ing to a pre-pan­dem­ic lev­el of sup­port for chil­dren and fam­i­lies would short­change mil­lions of kids and fail to address per­sis­tent racial and eth­nic disparities.

The annu­al KIDS COUNT data and rank­ings rep­re­sent the most recent infor­ma­tion avail­able but do not cap­ture the impact of the past year:

  • In 2019, the lat­est year for which the nation­al esti­mate is avail­able, 12 mil­lion kids (17%) lived in pover­ty. The pan­dem­ic brought on dire eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances for mil­lions of peo­ple, some of whom were already liv­ing in pover­ty and oth­ers who found them­selves strug­gling in new ways.
  • In 2019, 4.4 mil­lion chil­dren (6%) lacked health insur­ance. This was the first rate increase in a decade, and that was before the pan­dem­ic hit.
  • Some good news: in 2019, an all-time low one in sev­en high school stu­dents (14%) failed to grad­u­ate from high school on time, and the rate of chil­dren liv­ing in high-pover­ty areas fell for the fourth straight year, to 9%.

Sur­vey data from the last year add to the sto­ry of America’s chil­dren and families:

  • Dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, in 2020, more than one in eight adults with chil­dren in the house­hold (13%) lacked health insur­ance. How­ev­er, by March 2021, this fig­ure had fall­en to 11%, sug­gest­ing the begin­nings of a recovery.
  • Dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, in 2020, more than one in five house­holds with chil­dren (22%) said they had only slight con­fi­dence or no con­fi­dence that they would be able to make their next rent or mort­gage pay­ment on time. How­ev­er, by March 2021, this fig­ure had fall­en to 18%, also reflect­ing pos­i­tive momentum.

Mass­a­chu­setts, New Hamp­shire and Min­neso­ta placed first, sec­ond and third in the annu­al KIDS COUNT rank­ings that are based on pre-pan­dem­ic data. Thir­teen states (AL, AR, AZ, GA, KY, LA, MS, NM, NV, OK, SC, TX, WV), all in the South or West, land­ed in the bot­tom 20 in those rank­ings and also appeared among the worst-per­form­ing states in most or all of the pan­dem­ic indi­ca­tors reviewed by this Data Book.

Addi­tion­al Data Book recommendations:

  • State and local gov­ern­ments should pri­or­i­tize the recov­ery of hard-hit com­mu­ni­ties of color.
  • States should expand income sup­port that helps fam­i­lies care for their chil­dren. Per­ma­nent­ly extend­ing unem­ploy­ment insur­ance eli­gi­bil­i­ty to con­tract, gig and oth­er work­ers and expand­ing state tax cred­its would ben­e­fit par­ents and children.
  • States that have not done so should expand Med­ic­aid under the Afford­able Care Act. The Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan offers incen­tives to do so.
  • Lead­ers should strength­en pub­lic schools and path­ways to post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion and training.

Read or down­load this news release in Spanish

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