Funding Gap for Children’s Services to Impact Local Governments

As pandemic-era funding declines over the next decade, local governments will be called on to cover the shortfall or scale back programs for children. 

In a Route Fifty article, Assistant Editor Molly Bolan cites a new report by the Urban Institute that federal spending on kids hit an all-time high with pandemic-era funds bolstering programs.

The article takes a closer look at the impact by the numbers,

Driven by pandemic relief efforts, federal spending on children under the age of 19 hit about $10,700 per child in 2021, a more than $3,000 increase over 2020.

Federal outlays are expected to drop to $9,250 per child in 2022 and continue decreasing over the next several years as adult entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, are prioritized, the report said.

In 2021, the federal government invested $482 billion in children, representing 9.4% of all federal outlays. Over the next decade, that is projected to drop to 6.4%.

Much of this funding came in the form of tax provisions, tax programs, and stimulus checks resulting in record low rates of child poverty in 2021. A census report cited in the article by an Urban Institute researcher, Cary Lou, accounts for a 46 percent decline since 2020.

Bolan interviewed Lou for the article and shared the quote:

“That really is almost direct income support for children’s families, which is, I think, really important, especially during the pandemic, and has largely contributed to this huge drop in child poverty,” Lou said.

Read the full Route Fifty article.