Census Poverty Data is Motivation to Get to Work and #ExpandEITC

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Poverty rates are falling according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and tools like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) have proven instrumental in this trend. But with 43.1 million people still struggling to get by, the fight is far from over and we need your help to build on solutions.

Consider the following highlights from today’s report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage across the U.S. in 2015.

  • Poverty rate down: The official poverty rate dropped 1.2 percentage points from 2014 to 2015 with 13.5% of the U.S. population, or 43.1 million people still living on unstable ground. This percentage decrease is the largest drop in poverty since 1999.
  • Median household income is up: Median household income was $56,516, an increase of 5.2% from 2014.
  • Health insurance coverage up:  The number of people without health insurance coverage in 2015 was 29 million (9.1% of population), down from 33 million the prior year.
  • The EITC and refundable Child Tax Credit made a difference: Without important tax credits like the EITC and refundable CTC, which help workers keep more of what they earn to pay for the basics, an additional 9.2 million Americans would have fallen into poverty in 2015.

Today’s Census data continues to build on the evidence that the Earned Income Tax Credit works; however, not all workers can access this powerful tax credit. Currently workers not raising kids and younger workers either aren’t eligible for this powerful pro-work incentive—or they receive far too little. These are parents who don’t live with their children but pay for important child expenses, young workers paying for their own higher education, and veterans who fought for our country and are finding stable ground at home.

Fortunately, both President Obama and Speaker Ryan have released proposals that would expand the size of the credit for these workers, and would lower the age of eligibility from 25 to 21. It’s time to put ideas into action.

Tell your Representatives that we can do more to support American workers and fight poverty. Take action now to build on what works and #ExpandEITC.