The U.S. Census Bureau announced last week that the federal child tax credit contributed to a decline in child poverty and a new survey from DataHaven and Siena College Research Institute found that since its expiration food insecurity for families with children has nearly doubled.
A survey of 1,196 randomly-selected adults in every Connecticut town found that food insecurity went from 12% in the second half of 2021 to 23% in August 2022.
Although inflation, which is 11.4% for food, has likely contributed to food insecurity, the data shows that the child tax credit may be “among the most significant drivers behind this year’s sharp increase,” Mark Abraham of DataHaven said.
He said food insecurity spiked in the recent survey for families with children who were receiving $250 per child, per month between July and December 2021.
He said that’s nearly $800 for a family with three children and while they might not have spent all that money on food, it made an impact.
Abraham said DataHaven’s findings on food insecurity mirror those of national studies. There has been a gradual rise in food insecurity almost every month since the end of 2021 among households living with children.
Comparing households with and without children, national researchers have found that the start of the child tax credit was associated with a 16% to 26% reduction in food insufficiency in 2021.
Abraham said they are already seeing a higher reliance on food pantries by these families.
He said they have shared the data with Connecticut lawmakers who have their own task force dedicated to the issue.
The Connecticut Food Insecurity Task Force began its work earlier this month. The task force will conclude its work no later than Jan. 1, 2023, with a final report on its findings and recommendations to the General Law Committee.
According to the Office of Legislative Research, 148,000 more people in Connecticut became food insecure in 2020 compared to 2018, including 53,000 children. Some of that food insecurity disappeared with the child tax credit and other pandemic relief, but now that it’s expired it’s spiking again.