Ending Child Poverty

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Learn More2018-06-04T13:49:22-05:00

Ending Child Poverty

More than 13.2 million children in America were poor in 2016, with more than two-thirds in working families. A disproportionate number are Black and Latino. Poor children often lag behind their peers in many ways beyond income: They are often less healthy, can trail in emotional and intellectual development, and are less likely to graduate from high school. Poor children are more likely to become poor parents. Every year we let children live in poverty, it costs our nation half a trillion dollars in lost productivity and increased health and crime costs.

Our vision is to end child poverty. We must ensure all parents and caregivers have the resources to support and nurture their children: jobs with livable wages, affordable high-quality child care, supports for working families like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and safety nets for basic needs like nutrition and housing assistance. We must also ensure every child in our rich nation has access to high-quality early childhood development and learning, comprehensive health coverage and care, and quality K-12 education so all children can reach their full potential.

Our groundbreaking report Ending Child Poverty Now shows how we can shrink overall child poverty by 60 percent, Black child poverty by 72 percent, rural child poverty by 68 percent, and improve the economic circumstances of 97 percent of poor children simply by investing more in programs that work like the EITC, SNAP, housing subsidies, subsidized jobs, the Child Tax Credit, child care subsidies and others. Read the report and spread the word about its important findings. You can also sign up here to receive updates on how you can support our campaign to end child poverty now.

How to End Child Poverty

To end child poverty we must ensure all parents and caregivers have the resources to support and nurture their children: jobs with livable wages, affordable high-quality child care so that caregivers can work, supports for working families like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and safety nets supports like TANF, nutrition, and housing assistance to make sure children’s basic needs are met.

NEW! Read about how the nation could cut child poverty by 60 percent just by investing more in programs and policies that work. The Children’s Defense Fund’s new report Ending Child Poverty Now shows that contrary to what some believe, we do not have to accept having the second highest child poverty rate among advanced economies. For the first time this report shows how we can shrink overall child poverty by 60 percent, Black child poverty by 72 percent, rural child poverty by 68 percent, and improve the economic circumstances of 97 percent of poor children simply by investing more in programs that work like the EITC, SNAP, housing subsidies, subsidized jobs, the Child Tax Credit, child care subsidies and others. Read the report and spread the word about its important findings. You can also sign up here to receive updates on how you can support our campaign to end child poverty now.

To help today’s poor children succeed in adulthood and reach their full potential we must also ensure every child in our rich nation has access to high-quality early childhood development and learningcomprehensive health coverage and care, and quality K-12 education. Finally we must replace the Cradle to Prison Pipeline® with a pathway to college and career.”

Legislative Priorities

Extension of the ARRA improvements to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are two of the most effective anti-poverty tools for working families with children. In 2009, as part of the stimulus bill, the two credits were modified to increase their impact for lower income families, married families, and families with three or more children. These improvements are slated to expire at the end of 2017, and if the do, an estimated 1 million children would fall into poverty and 7 million poor children would fall deeper into poverty. Approximately 50 million Americans with modest incomes — including 31 million children — would lose part or all of their Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit. Families raising children on minimum-wage earnings would be particularly hard hit.  A single mother raising two children on full-time, minimum-wage earnings of $14,500 would lose her entire child tax credit of $1,725 – worth more than 10 percent of her earnings.

CDF urges lawmakers to permanently extend the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit improvements so that children in low-income working families can continue to benefit from the extra boost these improvements provide.

Raising the minimum wage to $10.10

A parent with two children working full-time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour currently earns $4,700 below the poverty level. Nearly 70 percent of the 14.7 million poor children in America live with an adult who works, and 30 percent live with an adult who works full-time year-round. It is way past time we increase the minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is worth 32 percent less in inflation-adjusted terms than it was at its peak in 1968. If it had grown at the same rate as productivity, the minimum wage would be $18.30 today.

CDF urges lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour so no one working full-time earns below poverty wages.

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