Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) expressed deep frustration over this week’s Census Bureau report on the state of poverty in America, specifically childhood poverty rates.
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The newly released data shows more than 15.3 million more people lived below the poverty line in 2022 than in 2021, using the Supplemental Poverty Measure. Further, the child poverty rate more than doubled, jumping from 5.2% in 2021 (a historic low) to 12.4% in 2022. This is the single largest increase in poverty and child poverty on record.
“This week’s poverty report from the Census Bureau confirms what we have feared for months now: the child poverty rate more than doubled, jumping to 12.4% last year. This reality is one many saw as inevitable when Congress allowed the expanded Child Tax Credit to expire at the end of 2021. But the figures are stunning none the less,” said Bridget Moix, FCNL General Secretary.
“This stark increase is deplorable and was absolutely preventable, particularly for the wealthiest nation on earth. The increase in poverty rates and the soaring of child poverty are due to the expiration of pandemic aid, namely expansions to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. That led directly to five million children falling back into poverty,” Moix concluded.
The increase in the poverty rate among children of color was particularly disturbing. The Black child poverty rate rose from 8.3% to 18.3%. The Latino child poverty rate rose from 8.4% to 19.5%. We saw significant progress in reducing the racial poverty divide among children in 2021, but that was mostly erased when the expanded Child Tax Credit expired. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly half of all Black children, a third of Latino children, a third of Native American children, and one-third of all children in rural areas can’t get the full Child Tax Credit because their parents don’t earn enough money.
“This did not need to happen. The expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit clearly demonstrated we can end poverty in this country,” said Amelia Kegan, FCNL’s Associate General Secretary for Policy and Advocacy. “Put simply, these poverty numbers reflect a policy choice. Congress must choose to undo this damage. As lawmakers consider tax breaks for businesses this fall, it’s imperative they include tax breaks for families and expand the Child Tax Credit for low-income families.”
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.