How the Social Safety Net Reduces Childhood Poverty

Hilary Hoynes (University of California, Berkeley)

Children are ravaged by the highest rates of poverty compared with all other age groups in the United States. Social safety net programs, especially tax credits and food stamps, have already helped reduce childhood poverty to some degree, says Hilary Hoynes (University of California, Berkeley) at a conference on “Combating Inequality” at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on October 17–18, 2019. But extremely poor families have been left behind. To significantly reduce childhood poverty, the United States should expand out-of-work assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and housing vouchers, as well as adopt a child allowance, similar to the current child tax credit but available to families with very low or no income.