Conservatives’ Obstruction Leads to a Tripling of American Indian Child Poverty

October 05, 2023

The poverty rate of American Indian and Alaska Native children rose from 7.4 percent to 25.9 percent from 2021 to 2022 (Figure 1). This tripling of the American Indian child poverty rate has caused the group to have the highest child poverty rate by race in 2022. Without Congressional action to aid impoverished families, this high American Indian child poverty rate will persist — and may even continue to rise.

In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Indian and Alaska Native child poverty rate was 14 percent. The record low American Indian child poverty rate in 2021 was, to a large extent, the result of the American Rescue Plan Act’s expansions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Unfortunately, conservative policy makers blocked the continuation of these policies, and as a result, there has been a large increase in child poverty, especially for American Indian children.

The high child poverty rate for American Indians may get higher in the future because the Child Tax Credit is on track to be reduced again after 2025. Additionally, House Republicans have shown in their budget resolution that they are more focused on giving “expensive tax cut extensions” to the rich than helping poor children. While they seem uninterested in providing poor children with $1,000 or $2,000, they are willing to provide $41,000 to tax filers in the top 1 percent. If House Republicans get their way, we can expect that child poverty will continue to increase.

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