Left Behind: The One-Third of Children in Families Who Earn Too Little to Get the Full Child Tax Credit


The current federal Child Tax Credit provides up to $2,000 per child per year to qualifying children, but low-income families lose out because they do not have enough earnings to qualify for the full benefit. This brief documents who is currently “left behind” in terms of realizing the full benefits of the federal Child Tax Credit because of the CTC’s earnings requirement, finding that those left out are disproportionately children of color, those in families with young children, those with single parents, and those who reside in rural areas. Adopting a more equitable, fully-refundable Child Tax Credit that is not tied to earnings would effectively remedy these inequities and meaningfully increase the after-tax incomes of those who are currently left behind. Read more here.