On January 18th, Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy released its newest policy brief detailing the impact of the Child Tax Credit, announcing that the sixth payment kept 3.7 million children out of poverty in the final month of 2021.
Researchers at Columbia University have tracked the impact of the CTC over time and the Center has released these poverty analyses each month. In this newest report, they found that, “the Child Tax Credit reached 61.2 million children in December 2021, an increase of 2 million children over six months since the rollout to 59.3 million children in July.”
This increase in the number of children covered by the CTC also increased the anti-poverty effect over time: “the first payment kept 3 million children from poverty in July and the sixth Child Tax Credit payment kept 3.7 million children from poverty in December. On its own, the Child Tax Credit reduced monthly child poverty by close to 30 percent.”
According to the research roundup published in December, the CTC payments reduced food insufficiency, helped families meet basic needs, and had no discernable impact on parental employment.
As a result of Congress not extending the expanded CTC through the Build Back Better reconciliation, families did not receive monthly checks in January.
The Center on Poverty and Social Policy has projected that without these payments, the monthly child poverty rate could increase from 12.1 percent in December 2021 to at least 17.1 percent in January. This would be equivalent to 3.7 million additional children living in poverty at the start of 2022.
Advocates continue to push Congress to extend the CTC payments for families. On January 14th, several advocacy groups hosted a day of action, as that was the day families would have received checks, had the program still been active. Stories focused on how families would have used the checks if they had received them and highlighted what the loss of income meant for them and their children.
This day of action generated thousands of social media posts as well as both national and local press stories. Additionally, several lawmakers held their own events to bring attention to the CTC, amplifying the stories of families in their districts that are directly impacted by the end of the monthly payments.
Advocacy groups, including CWLA, will continue to encourage Congress to act to extend the expanded monthly payments, as this program has proven to be successful in addressing poverty for millions of children.