CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, January 13, 2024


January 13, 2024

January 13, 2024

The Child Tax Credit expansion edition. House and Senate negotiators reportedly are close to reaching a deal on expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC), although final details remain uncertain. There are at least 19 million reasons to expand the CTC – that’s the number of kids who don’t receive the full credit (or any credit at all) because their families do not earn enough money.  The proposal as reported so far would improve the credit for about 80 percent of those children and lift an estimated 400,000 above the poverty line, as estimated by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

When Congress last expanded the CTC in 2021 as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, it provided the full credit to children whose families earned little or no income. Congress also increased the maximum credit and provided it monthly. During that period, as you’ll read below, child poverty dropped to an historic low. But when Congress refused to extend the CTC expansion beyond 2021, child poverty more than doubled, adding 5.2 million more poor children. 

The proposal being negotiated now would not undo all of that damage, but as currently reported would lift 400,000 children out of poverty. It would be a step towards fixing the current CTC, which provides higher benefits to families earning $400,000 per year than to families earning $15,000. Under current law, a mother with 2 children earning $15,000 would get $1,875 from the CTC, while higher-earning families receive $4,000 ($2,000 per child). The new proposal raises the $15,000/ 2- child family’s credit to $3,600 for 2023, with the credit equaling the maximum per child in 2025. What our children deserve: no child should be too poor to receive the CTC. Tell Congress to  expand the Child Tax Credit. Ask for a CTC that reaches all children; Congress may not  get all the way there this time, but millions of children will be helped in an important first step. Click here to send an email to Congress.  

19 million 

The number of children currently excluded from some or all of the Child Tax Credit because their families do not earn enough to qualify for it. Tweet this.


35%, 38%/
40%, 48%

Among the large proportions of children under 17 who do not receive the full Child Tax Credit or are ineligible to receive it at all: 35% of rural children, 38% of Black children, 40% of Latino children, and 48% of children living with a single parent. Tweet this.



Under the Child Tax Credit expansion now being negotiated, it’s estimated that 80% of the 19m children now getting less than the full credit or none would see an increase.  Still left out, the poorest: approximately 2m children in families with no earnings. Tweet this.


Under the new proposal, a mother with 2 children earning $15,000 would receive $1,725 more in their Child Tax Credit than under current law.  The new proposal is expected to allow a family with this income and 2 kids to receive $3,600 for the 2023 tax year, up from $1,875 if the law stays unchanged. Tweet this.



In September 2023, the Census Bureau reported that the child poverty rate more than doubled from 2021 (when the CTC expansion was in effect) to 2022, after the expansion expired. The rate was 5.2% in 2021 – an historic low. The following year it spiked to 12.4% — the largest year-over-year increase in the Supplemental Poverty Measure child poverty rate on record. Tweet this.


5.2 million 

After the expanded CTC lapsed in December 2021, 5.2 million more children were in families below the poverty line in 2022 than in 2021.



The new partial expansion of the Child Tax Credit being negotiated in Congress would reduce the number of poor children by 400,000.  Progress, but far less than the poverty reduction that would occur if children in families with no earnings (the poorest children) could qualify for the CTC,



1 in 4 

More than 1 in 4 adults living with kids under age 6 had food hardships in 2022, after the CTC expansion lapsed.



Adults living with young children were nearly twice as likely as those not living with children to report problems paying utility costs or experiencing a utility shutoff (18% versus 10%).






Child Tax Credit expansion
Human Needs Watch