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The New Child Tax Credit Brings A Drop In Households Reporting Hunger

A child tax credit poster is displayed during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on July 15. Early data shows that after the child tax credit payments went out this summer, the number of households with children who experience food insufficiency dropped.
Al Drago
Bloomberg via Getty Images

After the child tax credit was implemented, fewer U.S. households with children reported that they don't have enough to eat, according to a new federal survey.

The Internal Revenue Service began sending out monthly child tax credit payments of $250-$300 to about 35 million eligible families on July 15. The payments are set to continue through December.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducted a survey before and after the credit was sent out. In a span of just six weeks, it showed the credit coincided with a quick drop in food insufficiency and a drop in those who say they have difficulty paying weekly expenses.

The survey showed that households without children did not see a change in food insufficiency in the same time frame.

Households that received the tax credit reported spending it on more than one thing, but 47% said they spent the money on food. For households with a least one child under the age of 5, 17% spent the tax credit on child care.

The pandemic has dramatically increased the number of children in the country who experience hunger. According to the nonprofit Feeding America, 13 million — or 1 in every 6 children — don't know where their next meal will come from.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.