Great Ideas: We’re Thinking About Poverty in America All Wrong

Today, understanding poverty, and particularly child poverty, in America. An expansion of the child tax credit earlier this year shone a bright light on the nature of poverty, particularly among America’s children. The American Rescue Plan raised the maximum child tax credit to $3,000 or $3,600 per kid, depending on age. That’s up from $2,000. In 2021 estimates began to pour in about the number of American children who had been lifted out of poverty. Estimates ranged from 3 million up to a potential of even 5 million. But what was really stunning was the understanding that in America, nearly 11 million children are poor. That’s 1 in 7 kids, who make up almost one-third of all people living in poverty in this country. This number should be unimaginable in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

Kathryn Anne Edwards is an economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research spans diverse areas of public policy, including unemployment insurance (UI); the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education pipeline and labor market; women’s labor supply; the challenges in retirement facing older Americans; and labor market issues for workers without a college degree.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash