Child Poverty More Than Doubled in 2022, Census Data Shows

Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on September 19, 2023

The percentage of Americans in poverty, especially children, saw a dramatic increase last year the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, largely due to the end of COVID-era aid programs such as the expanded Child Tax Credit. The data shows the largest jump in child poverty since the Supplemental Poverty Measure began in 2009.

Spotlight examines the new data from the U.S. Census that shows that the end of key pandemic-related assistance sparked the highest rise in poverty in over 50 years, including a doubling of the child poverty rate in 2022 compared to the previous year. Elaine Maag, senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, points to the end of the expanded federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) as a key driver of the increase. “There are several relatively modest expansions to the CTC that could target assistance to families with low incomes that fall short of the 2021 expansion but could still provide substantial assistance to families with very low incomes,” says Maag. The child poverty rate jumped from 5.2% to 12.4%; if the expanded CTC had been renewed, it would haven only risen to about 8.4%.

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