Colorado childhood poverty rate rising in aftermath of tax credit expiration

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:36 PM MDT
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COLORADO, USA (KKCO) - The US Census Bureau released its annual report detailing income and poverty rates, indicating childhood poverty more than doubled last year.

According to the report, the official poverty rate didn’t really change between at 2021 and 2022, sitting at 11.5 percent, however the Supplemental Poverty Measure rate increased by 4.6 percent, sitting at 12.4 percent in 2022. Which, the census said, is the first increase in the overall SPM rate since 2010.

The report states that 37.9 million people were living in poverty in 2022. The Office of Management and Budget defines the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2022 as $29,678.

According to the census, that increase can be attributed to changes in federal tax policy, including the Child Tax Credit expansion, which expired at the start of the year.

“It was amazing to see it in place, because 90 percent of Colorado’s children benefited from it— literally 90 percent,” said Sen. Michael Bennet. “It wasn’t just poor kids, but every kid, nine out of ten benefited from across the state. And really what it was, was the first decent tax cut for middle class people and working people in generations in this country.”

Senator Bennet said the Child Tax Credit hasn’t gone away, but rather the expansion that was put in place during the pandemic.

“Congress plunged five million new kids into poverty when we refused to extend the Child Tax Credit for American families,” said Bennet.

Bennet further said he wants to negotiate and introduce legislation that would make the expansion permanent.

“Ultimately, as a former school superintendent, and somebody who has been blessed to live in the richest country in the world, I want to see us end childhood poverty,” said Bennet. “I think that should be our goal.”

In the Census’ report, real median household income was $74,580 in 2022, which was a decrease of 2.3 percent from the year before, at $76,330. Households under the age 65, saw a decline in median household income of 1.4 percent from 2021, while households over 65 had no significant change during that time.

Senator Bennet further stated he hopes to have negotiations later this year to come up with a permanent solution to the Child Tax Credit expansion.