Untapped Potential: State Earned Income Credits and Child Poverty Reduction

Bennett, Neil G.; Lu, Hsien-Hen

NCCP is publishing this research brief at a time when a large and growing share of children in poverty have working parents. A strong national economy and welfare reform have contributed to a significant increase in the proportion of poor families with at least one parent in the workforce over the past several years. In this context, a key challenge for policymakers and others who are concerned about the well-being of children and families is how to develop and improve policies that reward work and help low-income working families to increase their earnings. One of the most promising policies in this regard is the earned income credit (EIC). (Note: The EIC is also commonly referred to as the EITC or earned income tax credit.) Research by NCCP has documented the powerful anti-poverty effects of the federal EIC, which benefits nearly 20 million working families each year. The federal EIC increases the after-tax income of these families by an average of about $1,500 per family at a total cost of just over $30 billion. This research brief examines the current and potential impact of state EICs as a means of building on the positive effects of the federal EIC at the state level. This is the third research brief in a series published by the National Center for Children in Poverty focusing on poverty dynamics in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Geographic Areas


More About This Work

Academic Units
National Center for Children in Poverty
National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University
Published Here
July 9, 2010