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3.7 million more kids are in poverty without the monthly Child Tax Credit, study says

New Hampshire parents and other supporters gathered in Sept. 2021 to push for making monthly child tax credit payments permanent.
Scott Eisen
Getty Images for ParentsTogether
New Hampshire parents and other supporters gathered in Sept. 2021 to push for making monthly child tax credit payments permanent.

Since the monthly payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit expired at the end of 2021, nearly 3.7 million more children are in poverty, according to a new study from Columbia University.

In the span of just one month, from December 2021 and January 2022, the monthly child poverty rate increased from 12.1% to 17%, the highest rate seen since the end of 2020. Black and Latino children experienced even higher increases in poverty, with 5.9% and 7.1% increases, respectively.

The study comes from the university's Center on Poverty & Social Policy, which had been tracking child poverty rates and the impact of the monthly expanded Child Tax Credit payments. Since the payments started going out in July 2021, an increasing number of children were no longer in poverty. In other words, the longer the monthly CTC payments were in place, the more families it helped.

The CTC's expanded program sent checks out monthly rather than one annual lump-sum of money during tax season. It also increased the amount of money getting sent to families, and expanded the number of families who were eligible for the payments. Families who file taxes will get the remaining half of the credit when they file this year.

Researchers say child poverty rates often fall during tax season as people get their returns. So, the second half of the credit received from filing taxes is "likely to result in substantial, but temporary, dips in monthly child poverty rates."

After April though, researchers say the child poverty rate "could be persistently high through the rest of 2022" if the monthly Child Tax Credit payments aren't renewed by Congress.

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Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.
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