The Effects of the Child Tax Credit on the Economic Wellbeing of Families with Low Incomes
This project examines the effects of the expanded refundable Child Tax Credit on household economic well-being, including material hardship, debt, savings, and employment, with a focus on racial implications. The monthly Child Tax Credit, issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, was novel and represented a departure from how the United States typically provides assistance to low-income families via yearly cash transfers through the tax system or in-kind provisions, such as through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The expanded Child Tax Credit also was short-lived, issued only from July 2021 to December 2021. Existing evidence, including some from this proposed study’s investigators, reveals the monthly CTC payments reduced poverty, and especially child poverty, despite high underemployment or unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The contribution of this project is its investigation of nonincome outcomes, such as material hardship and food insecurity rates relative to the monthly CTC payments. The project also will consider racialized effects, which are important since early evidence reveals that Black and Latino families were disproportionately less likely to receive, or were delayed in receipt of, the monthly CTC payments. The study will rely on data from an app from Propel Inc., a financial services firm serving low-income Americans. The app allows low-income families manage their SNAP benefits.