The Lead

Casey, others introduce bill to cut child poverty rates in half over 5 years

By: - September 26, 2023 12:20 pm
Government benefits can reduce child poverty. DBenitostock/Moment via Getty Images

Government benefits can reduce child poverty. DBenitostock/Moment via Getty Images

A cadre of U.S. Senators, including Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey, introduced legislation this week aimed at cutting child poverty in half within five years. 

The Child Poverty Reduction Act, and its companion legislation in the House, would create and implement an “accountability framework” to ensure the country reaches the five-year goal.

“With more than 15 percent of children in Pennsylvania living in poverty, the Child Poverty Reduction Act is a critical tool to help improve economic stability and security for children and their families,” Casey said. “Every child in Pennsylvania and across the country should have the freedom and support they need to reach their full potential.”

U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the poverty rate for children more than doubled from a historic low of 5.2% in 2021 to 12.4% in 2022.

The bill would require the bureau to report annual data on poverty rates, population, and socio-economic data to federal agencies and officials. 

Sharon Parrott, president of The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research and policy institute, pointed to the expiration of pandemic-relief programs, such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, as contributing to the increase in child poverty rates. 

“The rise in the poverty rate, the largest on record in over 50 years both overall and for children, underscores the critical role that policy choices play in the level of poverty and hardship in the country,” Parrott said in a statement.


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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.