Our new child allowance project

See the full project at child-allowance.ubicenter.org.

1 in 7 children in the United States lives in poverty, raising stress and crime rates, worsening educational outcomes, and shrinking the economy by up to $1 trillion annually. Research shows that giving money to families with children, as most developed countries do, reduces each of these issues. A child allowance is a policy that gives families an equal amount for each child.

This project examines child allowances through various lenses:

  • Simulations quantifying the effects of child allowance policies (deficit- and tax-funded) on poverty and inequality across US states.
  • Research on the effects of child allowances and similar policies on children, based on randomized controlled trials and other empirical techniques.
  • Policy context of existing US child benefits and child allowances in other countries.

For example, this interactive map is one of several visualizations in our simulations page.

We also review the evidence around child allowances from the United States and Canada, and a special deep dive into research from sub-Saharan Africa, where randomized cash transfer rollouts produce particularly high-quality estimates. For example, cash transfer programs consistently reduced consumption poverty (below). See the full paper for evidence across other outcomes like education and health.

Finally, we consider the political state of child allowances, such as the American Family Act, which would ensure all low-income children in the US receive the full benefits of the Child Tax Credit, and how such a policy would align US child benefits with those from other developed countries.

By efficiently reducing child poverty, child allowances provide kids with basic needs, improve access to opportunity, and invest in our future.