Congresswoman Lee Releases Statement on Historic Decline in Child Poverty
Washington DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Majority Leader Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, issued the following statement on a comprehensive new analysis showing a strong correlation between U.S. poverty reduction initiatives and declining poverty rates.
“This data makes clear what we’ve known for a long time: poverty is a policy decision,” said Rep. Lee. “We need only look to the recent American Rescue Plan, the expanded Child Tax Credit, and other legislative accomplishments that caused the child poverty rate to drop all the way to 5.2% in 2021, down from nearly 10% in 2020. This historically low level also represents the largest gap between the expected child poverty rate — 15.3% in 2021 — and actual child poverty rate in history.
“We know that the expanded Child Tax Credit was a primary driver of this reduction. As a result of the CTC, 2.9 million children were lifted from poverty, including 1 million children under the age of 6. These policy decisions also had a profound impact on communities of color: 1.2 million Hispanic children, 760,000 Black children, and 110,000 Asian children were lifted out of poverty by the CTC.
“In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, we have the power and the tools to end poverty entirely. We need to reinstate the expanded Child Tax Credit — a proven solution that lifts millions of our nation’s children from poverty. It is on us to continue fighting for policy to end child poverty and create a more equitable and just country for all Americans.”
The expanded Child Tax Credit, a provision of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, provided $250 to $300 per child in monthly payments for nearly all working families. The provision, credited with lifting 2.9 million children out of poverty in 2021, expired in January 2022.
Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the House Democratic Leadership, she is the highest ranking Black woman in the U.S. Congress.