NEW SURVEY: 90% of Parents Receiving the Child Tax Credit Said Funds Were Helpful or Made a Huge Difference In Their Families’ Lives

56% of Parents say Payments Reduced Financial Anxiety, 78% Immediately Spent Funds to Help With Housing, Utilities, Food Costs, Activities for Kids 

Survey Finds Majority of Parents, Even Those Not Eligible to Receive the Child Tax Credit, Want to See Payments Continued

August 10, 2021 — Ahead of the second monthly child tax credit payment to parents and caregivers across the United States on August 13th, a new survey from ParentsTogether Action, a national family advocacy nonprofit representing 2.5 million parents across the country, found large majorities of parents support the expanded, monthly child tax credit (CTC) and want to see it continue until their kids turn 18. Congress is currently considering extending the new CTC — which sends most families with children monthly ‘Child Checks’ of up to $300 — past December.  

According to ParentsTogether, 90% of parents surveyed said the payment of the child tax credit was helpful or made a “huge difference” to their family’s economic security. The survey found that the overwhelming majority of parents who received the child tax credit immediately spent the money (79%) with the majority of the funds going towards food (48%), utilities (45%), rent (29%) or child care costs (13%). 56% of parents said even receiving just the first round of checks made them less anxious about their finances.

Out of the respondents who received the first payment, 65% of respondents said getting monthly payments for the rest of the year (up to $1,800 per child) would make a “huge difference” for their families.

The survey made clear that parents are relying on these monthly payments for financial security for themselves and their families, and watching closely what happens in Congress as Democrats seek to extend the policy. 85% of respondents said it was “important” that monthly checks continue after December of this year, with  70% saying it was “extremely important.” Even further, 73% of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a politician who votes to support  making the expanded child tax credit permanent. 

When asked how making the expanded child tax credit permanent would help their families: 

  • 57% said they could better afford their mortgage or rent, or move homes if desired
  • 54% said they could start saving up for emergencies 
  • 40% said they could buy more (and better) food for their kids
  • 45% said they could start saving for their child’s future

“After one month of the expanded child tax credit, parents across the country are already expressing gratitude and relief that they are now better able to stay on top of their bills, put healthy food on the table, send their kids to extracurricular activities, and even start saving for their children’s futures,” said Justin Ruben, co-Director of ParentsTogether. “We know the expanded child tax credit is good policy– experts are estimating it is on track to cut child poverty almost in half– but its wide popularity shows that it’s also good politics. It’s now up to Congress to listen to the parents they represent and make these payments permanent, so families can rely on them until their kids turn 18. Parents are telling us they are watching closely what Congress does– and will vote accordingly.” 

ParentsTogether is in touch with parents who provided quotes about how they used the  the funds of the first expanded child tax credit payment:

“I was able to catch up a bit on my electric bill. It was shut off the previous month. I was able to get it turned back on by making a payment plan. This check helped me honor that agreement, plus buy some food too.” – Stephanie, (ME)

“I’m a newly single mother. I am not receiving any financial support from my son’s father. Every dime is precious and helpful. I really want to buy healthier food for my son but it’s usually more expensive. And this past year, I have started to invest in a custodial portfolio for my son. The child checks have helped me continue investing in his future.” – Cerena C. (Glendora, CA)

“My husband and I were planning this weekend [about how to use the money].] This first $300 is being saved to help pay the extra childcare costs during our son’s first school break. It’s great knowing I already have some funds for when that time comes in fall.” – Lori A. (Gilbert, AZ)

“I was able to use last month’s check to pay for a rock climbing day camp that my son started today. I’ll use this month’s check to help pay for a 2nd week of camp. Without the checks, I would have had to “borrow from Peter to pay Paul” in order to afford the fees. It’s a huge relief, being able to pay for the childcare I need without having to skimp on groceries or [put off] other bills to make it happen.” – Heidi T. (Denver, CO)

“With the first round check, we were able to stop taking from the little we have left in savings this month. I’m hoping next month the check will help [us] keep some emergency savings.” – Sara A. (Saint Paul, MN)

“I used the first check for food. I am looking forward to the next check that I will be using to purchase a school uniform and school supplies for my son.” – LaFleur D. (Brooklyn, NY) 

“I spent the first one on school clothes for my daughter. Same will be with the next one. September is her 15th birthday so I am excited to have the extra money for that. The following months I will be using it for Christmas presents and bills.” – Marla S. (Charleston, WV)