March 2022

Spotlight on: The Child Tax Credit

The impact of the expanded Child Tax Credit shows the value of cash benefits in alleviating poverty

Contributors: Vicki Lens, Abraham Arriaga, Caterina Pisciotta, Lily Bushman-Copp, Kimona Spencer and Samantha Kronenfeld

Issues Areas: Financial Security, Households With Children

Poverty Tracker data finds that parents, long versed in stretching thin budgets to cover the costs of raising children, viewed the Child Tax Credit (expanded by the Biden administration in 2021) as an opportunity to enhance their children’s lives, ward off hardship, stabilize their budgets, and save for the future. With more money to spend, parents also honed their financial management skills as they decided how to spend it. Its form — direct cash benefits — allowed families to adapt it to their individual budgeting strategies and shifting needs.