Key facts are highlighted from several Urban Institute and Brookings Institution reports on public expenditures on children through 2008. Findings reveal that spending on children increased under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and other stimulus spending, but not proportionately to other federal spending. As ARRA expires, spending on children is projected to decline, assuming no change in current policies. Results also show that states and localities spent more money than the federal government did on children in 2004, except when it came to the youngest children, and that overall public investment (local, state, and federal) increases as children get older.
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Spending on children increased under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and other stimulus spending, but not proportionately to other federal spending. As ARRA expires, we project that spending on children will decline, assuming no change in current policies.
- Less than one-tenth of the federal budget was spent on children in 2008. Children received $295 billion out of a total of $2,983 billion in outlays. Children’s share of the tax expenditure budget was also less than 10 percent.
- ARRA included substantial increases in spending on children. As a result, spending on children is projected to rise to a high of 2.2 percent of GDP in 2009 (figure 1).
- At the same time, there were even larger infusions of government funds in support for transportation, infrastructure, energy, and the bailout of banks and other institutions. As a result, as a percentage of total federal outlays, spending on children is actually projected to decline, from 9.9 percent in 2008 to 8.2 percent of total outlays in 2009.
- As the ARRA provisions expire, spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid expands, and interest on the debt increases, we project spending on children will shrink over the next decade, falling to 1.9 percent of GDP by 2019, if current policies continue unchanged.
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