Father feeds his son

Survey Reveals Families in Serious Financial Crisis With Rising Prices and No Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments in Sight

9 out of 10 Parents are Finding it Harder to Make Ends Meet 

45% of Respondents Struggling to Feed Families Said They’ve Skipped Meals so Their Kids Can Eat

May 10, 2022 – According to a new survey of 500 parents from ParentsTogether Action, a nonprofit parent advocacy group, the combination of rising prices due to inflation and the end of last year’s monthly Child Tax Credit payments has pushed families to the brink.

9 out of 10 parents said rising prices are making it harder for them to make ends meet. Respondents said rising costs are most noticeable when it comes to food prices (96%), gas (93%), utilities (61%), and rent/mortgage (50%). 

According to the survey, parents are noticing material impacts on their finances:

  • 68% of respondents said rising costs have prevented them from saving for the future and 64% said they needed to spend their emergency savings
  • 41% said they’ve had to get a new job or work more hours to try and make ends meet 
  • 48% said they could no longer afford enough food for their family

When asked about what policies would help to counteract the financial duress from inflation, 76% of respondents said continuing the Child Tax Credit payments of up to $300 per child per month would help. 84% of respondents said those payments made them less anxious about their finances. 77% of parents who received a Child Check in 2021 said they made a “huge difference” for their family.

The parents surveyed reported using the money from last year’s Child Checks for food (80%), housing (60%), utilities (67%), extracurriculars for their kids (41%), childcare (23%), and buying healthier food (32%).  Because of this, after Congress failed to extend the payments after December, 62% of parents reported that it has been more difficult for them to meet their family’s basic needs and 28% are no longer able to meet their family’s basic needs.

In particular, parents report that feeding their families has become extremely difficult. Of those struggling to afford food:  

  • 65% said they’ve had to change the foods they buy (e.g. fewer fruits and vegetables)
  • 45% said they’ve had to use food banks 
  • 45% said they’ve skipped meals so their kids can eat

“Families are facing a perfect storm of challenges as prices rise and Congress continues to delay extending the monthly Child Tax Credit payments that kept millions of families afloat last year,” said Justin Ruben, co-Director of ParentsTogether Action. “Ending these lifesaving payments drove up hunger and forced parents to make impossible choices to try to keep their families fed and housed. It’s long past time Congress acts to extend monthly Child Checks now, before more kids suffer.”

ParentsTogether Action’s survey was conducted during the second half of April, following the fourth missed monthly Child Tax Credit payment. 

Parents shared in their own words how these political decisions were affecting them directly:

“We are forced to live in an apartment that’s too small for our family’s size in one of the worst drug/violence neighborhoods in Tucson. We were forced out of our previous rental by a person who purchased the property from our landlord. Since Covid, my car broke down, & now my employer is cutting my hours, pay, and refuses to provide the raise promised previously. My truck was made not drivable due to [someone] cutting out the catalytic converter. My kids and I & my spouse do not get the time we need together due to me getting back into gig work. I am working 4 jobs to make ends meet. I’m begging you Congress, please give us our child tax credits we will receive anyways next tax season???” 

Rocky, Tucson, AZ

“The child checks helped me provide decent healthier meals each night and provide healthier snacks for my boys. [They also helped ] provide activities to promote better health for us all. I was able to work a typical 8 hour day five day a week job and now I have to work two jobs and side jobs to get by” 

Ashley, Middle River, MD

“I don’t have any extra funds for anything. We can’t even put gas in our only vehicle we have left. My vehicle is in the process of being repossessed. Me and the kids’ father often go without eating so we know the kids won’t go hungry. It’s been beyond terrible.” 

Listree S.