The child poverty rate in the U.S. fell by nearly 50% in 2021

Smiling baby being held in the air

by Peter Schulte

September 15, 2022 C.E.

Last year, the proportion of children in the United States experiencing poverty declined dramatically – from 9.2% to 5.3% – according to new Census Bureau data. Altogether, over five million children were lifted out of poverty over the course of the year, making it perhaps the most significant such decline in American history and certainly the largest since the U.S. Census Bureau introduced the Supplemental Poverty Measure in 2009.

The staggering decline was spurred on largely by the enhanced child tax credit offered in President Biden’s 2021 American Rescue Plan. The enhanced credit, intended to support families reeling from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, offers tax relief of $3600 per child, up from $2000 in relief before the 2021 bill.

While this is certainly much-needed good news for families across the country, it may be short-lived. The enhanced child tax credit was not extended beyond 2021 so many families may already be experiencing pre-2021 levels of child poverty. The important credit is scheduled to drop even further from $2000 to $1000 per child annually after 2025.

If anything, the incredible drop in child poverty nationwide during 2021 shows perhaps unequivocally that child poverty in the United States is a policy choice with known policy solutions. The only thing standing in the way of eliminating child poverty altogether is the will of our politicaions and that of us as voters.


Era: Today (2017 C.E. - 2024 C.E.) and Tomorrow (2025 C.E. - ???)
Year: 2022 C.E.
Topic: Child well-being and Poverty alleviation
Region: North & Central America
Country: United States
Actor Type: Nations