New Report: U.S. Can Lift 5.5. Million Children Out of Poverty Right Now
Children’s Defense Fund study shows child poverty in California would be reduced by 65 percent through federal investments in modest policy improvements
America can immediately lift millions of children out of poverty and reduce child poverty by 57 percent by making modest investments in policies that work, according to a new report released today by the Children’s Defense Fund. Ending Child Poverty Now, the second edition of a groundbreaking report first released in 2015, details the devastating impacts of poverty on children and our nation. It outlines nine policy improvements that, enacted together, would benefit 95 percent of all poor children, lifting 5.5 million of them out of poverty entirely. In California, home to 1.6 million poor children, the child poverty rate was reduced by 65%.
Facts on the child poverty crisis:
- Nearly 1 in 5 children in California lives in poverty.
- Nearly 1 in 14 children in California lives in deep poverty.
- Children of color are three times more likely to be poor than their White peers.
- 644,000 families survive on $34 or less a day for a family of 4
“It is a moral disgrace and profound economic threat that nearly 1 in 5 children are poor in the wealthiest nation on earth,” said Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president emerita of Children’s Defense Fund. “Permitting more than 12.8 million of our children to live in poverty when we have the means to prevent it is unjust and unacceptable.”
In the report, Children’s Defense Fund identifies improvements to nine existing policies and programs that could be made immediately to meet more children’s basic needs, increase employment and make work pay more for adults with children. The policy recommendations in the report are designed not only to lift children out of poverty but also to help keep them of poverty.
Children’s Defense Fund worked with the Urban Institute to analyze the impacts and costs of the policy improvements for the United States and in California, home to 1.6 million poor children based on the Official Poverty Measure (OPM). The study found child poverty would be cut by 57 percent nationwide and 65% in the state if all policies were in enacted together.
The report finds that the combined policy improvements would cost about $52.3 billion per year, slightly more than 1 percent of the federal budget. The report offers examples of how unwinding specific provisions of the 2017 tax bill or reducing other federal spending could cover these costs, including:
Repealing the 2017 tax bill, which would save $280 billion in 2019 alone; or Taxing the accumulated wealth of the richest 0.1 percent of Americans by one percent more per year, which would increase federal revenues by about $190 billion a year; or Repatriating offshore profits of the nation’s wealthiest corporations, which would increase federal revenue by almost $200 billion.
In 2017, a California state law created a task force of experts, including government and community leaders, to create a framework for the state to dramatically reduce the child poverty rate. That framework was released late last year and includes proven solutions such as voluntary home visiting; high quality, affordable early childhood education; earned income tax credits for working families; and job training.
“CDF-CA and other advocacy organizations have been working hard to end child poverty in California,” said Shimica Gaskins, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-California. “Too many of our children are suffering when we know how to end it. We must continue to expand programs like the California Earned Income Tax Credit and work to keep and amplify federal programs like SNAP that help families meet their everyday needs.”
Children’s Defense Fund is urging Congress to act now to implement the federal policy improvements outlined in the report to lift millions of children out of poverty now and make a substantial down payment on ending child poverty for all children.
To read the full report, click here.
To read the six-page overview of the report, as well as access to the individual state factsheets, click here.
To learn more about Children’s Defense Fund-California’s work to end child poverty and how you can get involved, click here.