The expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) passed into law under the American Rescue Plan, or Rescue Plan, is already having a significant impact on family budgets. The expanded CTC provides a monthly payment worth up to $300 for each child under age 6 and up to $250 for each child age 6 to 17. Eligible families received an average payment of $423 in July 2021, covering 59 million children.
Families used the first round of monthly CTC payments to pay for necessities such as food, school expenses and child care. Data from the Census Bureau show that following the first round of monthly CTC payments, the number of households that reported having trouble paying for usual household expenses declined by 2.5 percentage points. Similarly, the number of households with children reporting that they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat dropped by 2.6 percentage points.
The data provide further evidence that the expanded CTC is helping families recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and providing a boon to communities, generating nearly $19.3 billion in spending in local economies each month.