Economic Security

Ensuring babies have the resources to thrive.

Economic security is one of the strongest predictors of long term well-being.

Too many families with young children lack the financial security needed to thrive, with high poverty levels putting babies and toddlers at a greater risk of chronic stress, adverse experiences and poor health. In fact, young children are more likely to experience poverty than older kids. And, according to The State of Babies Yearbook: 2023, children of color are far less likely to know economic security than their white.

Families need a range of equitable policies that bolster economic security when children are young and their development is most sensitive. The enhanced, fully refundable Child Tax Credit is a proven measure towards reducing poverty for children and babies during their most critical years of development.

For young children, economic insecurity brings inadequate housing, food insecurity and familial stress, which all pose a risk to babies’ rapidly developing brains and bodies.  The effects of early childhood poverty can persist into adulthood, impacting educational attainment, later earnings, health, reliance on public benefits, arrest rates, and even early death.  Disparities by race/ethnicity and geography are pronounced: babies of color and those in rural areas are disproportionately likely to live with poverty or low income.

When families struggle to afford basic needs, babies suffer. Learn more.

Take Action

Act now to help ensure all babies and families can afford the basics. Tell Congress to expand the Child Tax Credit to help lift babies out of poverty. #ThinkBabies.

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Babies in families with low income are 3.5 times more likely to have two or more adverse child experiences.


The expanded Child Tax Credit expanded under COVID relief brought more than three million children out of poverty every month when monthly payments were available.


85% of parents with children ages 0-3 say it is important for Congress to reinstate the enhanced Child Tax Credit.


Even before the COVID pandemic, 2 in 5 infants and toddlers in the United States already lived in families whose economic security was precarious.


Over half (55%) of families receiving the enhanced Child Tax Credit in 2021 used the payments to meet basic needs (e.g., food, housing, utilities, and telecommunications).

The Expanded Child Tax Credit

The expansion of the enhanced and fully refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) with monthly payments for families with young children, which expired in December 2021, provided critical resources to help families with infants and toddlers make ends meet and helped lift millions of families out of poverty. Passage of legislation like the American Family Act would reinstate and make the expansion of the Child Tax Credit permanent, including the boost for families with young children and full refundability so that babies in families with very low or no income could benefit


What it could mean for babies:

The expanded Child Tax Credit led to a historic reduction in poverty by providing families with monthly payments that helped them make ends meet and nurture their young children. This support is particularly impactful for babies. Helping families meet basic needs such as food and shelter boosts child development by directly providing essential ingredients for healthy growth and alleviating some of the stress families endure when their children have to go without the basics.

Advocacy Tools & Resources

ZERO TO THREE/Morning Consult Poll: A poll from ZERO TO THREE and Morning Consult, conducted in the wake of the 2022 midterm elections, shows that the vast majority of parents of infants and toddlers want to see swift Congressional action to reinstate the enhanced Child Tax Credit. Check out the key findings.

State of Babies Yearbook: 2023: Use national and state-by-state data on the well-being of infants and toddlers to call on federal, state, and local policymakers to improve outcomes for babies and families.

Hunger, Poverty, Health, and Federal Nutrition Programs: Use these state fact sheets, from Think Babies and the Food Research Action Center, for national and state-specific rates of hunger and poverty experienced by infants and toddlers as well as the data on the impact of federal programs in the state.

Building Strong Foundations: Learn more about the core policies that support good health, secure and stable families, and positive early learning environments for infants and toddlers.