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Since the expanded Child Tax Credit monthly payments expired at the end of 2021, nearly 3.7 million more children are living in poverty, according to a new study from Columbia University.
In just one month, from December 2021 to January 2022, the monthly child poverty rate fell from 12.1% to 17%, the highest rate seen since the end of 2020. Black children and Latinos experienced even larger increases in poverty, with 5.9% and 7.1% increases, respectively.
The study comes from the university’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy, which had tracked child poverty rates and the impact of expanded monthly Child Tax Credit payments. Since payments began in July 2021, an increasing number of children were no longer in poverty. In other words, the longer the monthly CTC payments were in place, the more families they helped.
The expanded CTC program sent checks monthly rather than an annual lump sum during tax season. It also increased the amount of money sent to families and increased the number of families eligible for payments. Families who file taxes will receive the remaining half of the credit when they file this year.
The researchers say child poverty rates often drop during tax season when people receive their returns. Thus, the second half of the credit received from the tax return is “likely to cause substantial, but temporary, declines in monthly child poverty rates.”
However, after April, the researchers say the child poverty rate “could remain high for the remainder of 2022” if monthly Child Tax Credit payments are not renewed by Congress.