The U.S. Census Bureau released new data Tuesday that showed child poverty doubling in 2022.
The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) child poverty rate rose from 5.2% in 2021 to 12.4% in 2022. This is the highest rate of child poverty since the SPM was first introduced in 2011.
The increase in child poverty is attributed to a number of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and the expiration of pandemic-era relief programs. The pandemic caused widespread job losses and economic hardship, while inflation has made it more difficult for families to afford basic necessities. The expiration of pandemic-era programs, such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, has also contributed to the increase in child poverty.
“There has been no modern policy that has been as successful as the expanded, monthly Child Tax Credit,” U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said. “Millions of children were lifted out of poverty, hunger was cut by 26 percent, and families were provided with unprecedented economic security. Families used this money to pay for housing, food, child care so they could go to work, and other basic essentials of everyday life. Moreover, for every $1 invested, the Child Tax Credit provided $8 in social and economic benefits.”
DeLauro said that the monthly Child Tax Credit was a huge success and the best solution to reduce child poverty.
“I am outraged and it is time to bring it back and provide middle- and working-class families with the permanent economic security they deserve. I will not rest until we make this program permanent. Our children deserve nothing less,” DeLauro said.
Connecticut’s own temporary child tax credit expired in 2022 too. The program, which was not renewed as part of budget negotiations, allowed eligible families to receive tax rebates of $250 per child for up to three children.
Advocates for the program are hoping the new data inspires its renewal next year.
“Combined with the lapses in enhanced federal benefits that pulled critically needed support out from under these same families, it is not surprising that the data point toward an increase in child poverty,” United Way President and CEO Lisa Tepper Bates said. “Given the strong prospects for continued Congressional inaction to help our struggling families, putting into place state-level tools, like the proposed CT child tax credit, makes good sense as proven and practical ways to support these CT residents.”