Federal Expenditures on Children: 1960-1997

Research Report

Federal Expenditures on Children: 1960-1997

Abstract

The most comprehensive examination of trends in federal expenditures on children finds that expenditures grew from 1.9 percent of GDP in 1960 to 2.1 percent in 1997. Although comprising a smaller share of total domestic spending, children's spending increased 246 percent, from $48.6 billion to $168.5 billion (constant dollars). Spending on low-income children, however, increased 23-fold, from $5.1 billion to $117.3 billion. Three new programs account for half of the increase: the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid, and Food Stamps. Spending on children increasingly shifted from broad-based middle class relief to programs aimed more at the poor. The report classifies 66 federal programs into eight major budget categories.

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