CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship February 12, 2021


February 12, 2021

COVID-19 HardshipFebruary 12, 2021

The Saving Children from Poverty edition. This week’s COVID-19 Watch is all about children. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, now being turned into legislation in the House, includes provisions that taken together, would cut child poverty in half, according to the Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. And just one of those proposals, the increase in the Child Tax Credit, would have the biggest impact, lifting 40 percent of children out of poverty. That means Congress is now working on a plan that will do immense good.   

Here are some important truths: (1) child poverty can cause long-lasting harm in children; (2) the pandemic has increased poverty and its attendant hardships of hunger and the struggle to meet other basic needs; (3) poor children are more likely to fall behind in school, and the pandemic’s online schooling is making this worse; (4) children of color are disproportionately poor and disproportionately subject to the hardships children are now experiencing; and (5) Congress has the opportunity to take a gigantic step to reduce the harm. No one should fail to see how much is at stake for children now.  Everyone should make sure Congress enacts the American Rescue Plan. 

The Child Tax Credit is one major advance cited below, but there is so much more that benefits children in the Rescue Plan. Other forms of cash aid, such as continued unemployment benefits and the $1,400 payments, allow families to pay their bills. Raising the minimum wage gradually to $15/hour will help families make ends meet. Increased nutrition aid and emergency rental assistance are essential. More child care funding, paid leave, aid for schools and other state and local services, expanded health coverage and vaccines – all will help children and their families.  

Advocates are continuing to press to help more children in immigrant families, millions of whom are still left out. The unemployment benefits in the bill should extend till the end of September, not the end of August. More Medicaid funds are needed to help people with disabilities and seniors get the services they need and to help states expand their Medicaid programs. Let’s add to the good that the American Rescue Plan will do, prevent any cuts to undermine it, and let’s tell every senator and representative to vote for it. 


4 in 10 

How many children would be lifted out of poverty this year if the proposed temporary expansions of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit become law, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Tweet this.


9.9 million 

The number of children that would be lifted out of poverty or made less poor if proposed expansions to the Child Tax Credit are enactedThat includes 4.1 million Latino children, 2.3 million Black children, and 441,000 Asian American children. Tweet this.


Twice as likely; 
2 fewer years; 

Less than ½ as much 

When compared to children in families above twice the poverty line, poor children were twice as likely to report poor health or psychological distress; to complete 2 fewer years of schooling; and earn less than one-half as much as they reached adulthood. Reducing child poverty will improve outcomes for children in ways that will last a lifetime. Tweet this.


More than half 

54 percent of adults living with children said someone in their household had lost income from work since last March (surveyed Jan. 20 – Feb. 1). Tweet this.


42 percent 

That’s how many adults living with children said their households found it somewhat or very difficult to pay their regular household bills in the previous week (asked Jan. 20 – Feb. 1). Tweet this.


12.3 million 

How many adults living with children said their households sometimes/often did not have enough to eat in the previous week – 15 percent of all adults with children, asked Jan. 20 – Feb. 1. Among households with children earning less than $25,000/yr38% were going without food.


19.1 million down; 10.6 million up 

The number of children getting free or reduced price school lunches plummeted by 19.1 million from March to April, 2020, because the pandemic shut down schools. But the federal Pandemic-EBT program started, and its participants rose from 2 million in March to 12.6 million in May, 2020. That’s a big success, but it still left millions of children behind.


1 in 4 

In households with income of less than $25,000, 24 percent of children were getting either no or 1 day per week live on-line schooling. For all children, it was 15%.


10.3; 9.2; 12.4 

How many months of learning loss predicted for Black children, Hispanic children, and children in low-income households, assuming low-quality remote instruction and return to in-class education in Jan. 2021 (opening schools is not happening that soon in many places).


Nearly three-quarters 

Voters in four states represented by moderate senators – Alaska, Arizona, Maine, and West Virginia – support President Biden’s proposed increase in the Child Tax Credit at rates ranging from about 70 – 78 percent, according to a new poll released this week. The poll also found similar support for Biden’s proposed $1,400 one-time payments.



child poverty
COVID-19 Watch