PROJECTKids' Share: Analyzing Federal Expenditures on Children

Kid's Share 2021 report cover This series looks comprehensively at trends in federal and state spending and tax expenditures on children—the kids’ share of public spending.

Children can’t vote and they can’t lobby for public resources, but their well-being and development affect the future economic and social health of the country. Children also can’t work their way out of poverty, so the government has a special calling to protect them. Public investments are used to educate children; promote their health, safety, and well-being; ensure their basic needs are met; and help protect their families from financial hardship. These investments come in the form of direct spending on programs that serve kids and through tax benefits that offer their families financial assistance.

Determining how government spends money, and who benefits, reveals our priorities. This series seeks to inform a national conversation about how best to invest the country's resources by examining federal and state expenditures on children in the past and projected into the future. The series includes special reports and briefs, the annual Kids’ Share chartbooks, web features and fact sheets, blog posts, events, and data appendices.

Featured Content

Kids’ Share 2022: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2021 and Future Projections
(September 2022)
Public spending on children represents an effort to invest in the nation’s future. To inform policymakers, children’s advocates, and the general public about how public funds are spent  on children, this 16th edition of the annual Kids’ Share report provides an updated analysis of federal expenditures on children from 1960 to 2021. It also offers an updated view of public expenditures made in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid High Inflation and Rising Interest Rates, the Federal Government Will Soon Spend More on Interest Payments than Kids
(September 2022)
High inflation, rising interest rates, and falling investments in children mean the federal government is projected to spend more on interest payments on the national debt than children by 2024.

The Pandemic Response Led to an Unprecedented Increase in Federal Spending on Children
(January 2022)
Federal pandemic relief led to an unprecedented increase in spending on children, but the gains will not be sustained without further legislation.

Six Charts about Federal Spending on Children during the Pandemic
(December 2021)
These six charts show how the nation’s response to the pandemic led to dramatic spending increases for children and improved the well-being of kids and their families—if only temporarily.

Public Spending on Children in New Jersey: An Analysis from the Urban Institute’s State-by-State Spending on Kids Dataset
(April 2021)
This brief takes a comprehensive look at spending on children from birth through age 18 in New Jersey using the Urban Institute’s new State-by-State Spending on Kids Dataset.

How Much Does the Federal Government Spend on Programs Benefiting Children?
(August 2020)
This fact sheet highlights selected findings from Kids’ Share 2020. It shows that tax provisions and health programs account for most federal spending on children. The child tax credit was the largest single program and Medicaid was the second-largest program in terms of spending on children in 2019.

Special Reports and Briefs

Annual Kids’ Share Chartbooks

Web Features and Fact Sheets

Blog Posts


Data Appendices

Research Areas Children and youth
Tags Kids in context Spending on children