In what may seem to be counterintuitive, the new and expanded Child Tax Credit payments are driving parents to stay in the workforce, according to a report from a team of researchers from Washington University of St. Louis, Appalachian State, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, the Urban Institute, and Humanity Forward.
According to the study—which surveyed a nationally representative group of more than fifteen hundred parents who were deemed eligible for the Child Tax Credits before the first monthly payment in July—only 6.4 percent of respondents said that they would use the direct payments to cut down their working hours.
Moreover, a little over eleven percent of parents with infants or toddlers said the credits would change their work status, and approximately twenty percent of those who said they would use the credits to stay home lived with a spouse or partner.
“Allowing parents, especially mothers, to meet those caretaking requirements is especially important,” said Leah Hamilton, an associate professor of social work at Appalachian State, per CNBC.
“That support helps families gain better footing, raise their children and make greater long-term contributions to the economy,” she added.
With only two payments left in the expanded child tax credits, which were approved last spring under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, Senate Democrats for weeks have been pushing for an extension of the program.
Over the weekend on MSNBC, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) noted that the “poverty rate among children has gone down forty percent. Republicans have never liked Social Security but they can’t get rid of it. They don’t like the tax credit.”
He continued by saying that even as concessions are being made to the ambitious Build Back Better plan, the bill will be “transformational … and when we’re done with this, it’s going to have an impact for the next decade or two.”
Since the payments started rolling out in mid-summer, it has been revealed that the credits have reached more than sixty million children, according to the Treasury Department.
“Sixty-one million children across America are benefiting from the advance Child Tax Credit, helping families put food on the table and meet the needs of the next generation,” Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo noted in a statement.
The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey has shown that due to the expanded credits, the number of adults living in households with children that reported not having enough to eat has dropped by more than three million.
“A key reason these payments likely reduce hardships like food insecurity is that the American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit made children in the lowest-income families eligible for the full credit for the first time,” writes Claire Zippel, senior research analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.