Why it matters: An unacceptable spike in child poverty has significant societal implications, from education and population to long-term economic prospects. The halt to the COVID-19 pandemic enhancement to the child tax credit by Congress has resulted in a dramatic increase, presenting challenges that policymakers must address.
By the numbers:
- 12.4% of American children found themselves in poverty in 2022.
- This substantially increased from 5.2% in 2021 and mirrored pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
- 2022 saw the median household income reduce to $74,580, a 2.3% fall from 2021 and a 4.7% drop from pre-pandemic numbers.
- The uninsured rate showed slight improvement, settling at 7.9% in 2022, down from 8.3% in 2021.
Driving the news: The Supplemental Poverty Measure, introduced by the Census Bureau in 2009, revealed this notable hike. This measure, which many economists favor, accounts for non-cash government benefits, tax credits, and necessary outlays, remedying many traditional poverty rate deficiencies.
What they’re saying: Experts highlight the importance of these metrics, emphasizing that the absence of such tax credits profoundly impacts vulnerable demographics.
The big picture: Despite some areas of improvement, like the uninsured rate, the broader outlook is not optimistic. With states starting to terminate Medicaid coverage for residents no longer deemed eligible, the progress in the uninsured rate may be short-lived.
What’s next: Rising housing and healthcare costs exacerbate the situation. Addressing the immediate needs of the most vulnerable, especially children, amidst these surging poverty rates will be pivotal. The economic ramifications of these challenges will undoubtedly take center stage in forthcoming policy discussions.