Fact Sheet: Expand the Child Tax Credit to Significantly Reduce Child Hunger

February 18, 2021
Photo: August de Richelieu/Pexels

Expanding the CTC would do more to reduce hunger and poverty among our nation's children than any single policy has in decades.

As part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, President Biden proposes a one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) that would make it available to all low-income families with children. Expanding the CTC would do more to reduce hunger and poverty among our nation’s children than any single policy has in decades.

Presently, an estimated 27 million children under age 17 live in families who do not earn enough to qualify for the full CTC for children because they do not have sufficient taxable income. The CTC needs to be available to all children in need, including children in immigrant families with ITIN numbers, children living in U.S. territories, children in large families, and children involved with the child welfare or other intervening system. These are families in which food insecurity and hunger are most prevalent.

A CTC expansion would not only contribute to better life prospects for the most vulnerable children in the country but would also offer a good return on investment. In a way, the United States cannot afford not to reduce poverty among children, because every year, it costs the economy between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion. The costs come in lower productivity, higher healthcare costs, and the need to spend more on public safety, services for homeless people, incarceration, and care for survivors of child abuse.

Major Components of the CTC Expansion:

  • Would increase the benefit from $2,000 per year to $3,600 for children up to age 6 and to $3,000 for children 6-17.
  • Would pay in monthly installments of $300 per month for each younger child and $250 per month for each older child.
  • Equally available to all families starting at $0 income through middle-income status.

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