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Blog Post

Five decades of federal program expansions for low-income children

AEIdeas

I recently published a report showing that federal spending on low-income children increased 17-fold in constant dollars from 1960 to 2018. By 2018, 61 percent of total federal spending on children benefited low-income children compared to only 15 percent in 1960. This growth in spending was primarily the result of program expansions making more children eligible for federal supports, as well as reforms that increased participation in federal programs among eligible children.

Below is a timeline of the federal reforms that have impacted low-income children the most from 1960 to the present day, including programs related to health, nutrition, and tax expenditures. As you scroll through the timeline, click on the icons associated with each reform to read more.