This brief documents the proportion of Americans who would have been poor absent the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), all else being equal, across 2010–2014. It consists of a pooled sample using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) between the years of 2011–2015. Authors Douglas Gagnon, Marybeth Mattingly, and Andrew Schaefer examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates as well as hypothetical increases in the rates of poverty in the absence of federal EITC benefits. They report that the proportion of people who are poor in the United States as measured by the SPM would increase by two percentage points without EITC dollars. In addition, children are especially at risk of becoming poor without EITC benefits, as 1 out of every 25 would become poor without the EITC. The authors also highlight variability across states, noting that the federal EITC led to the greatest poverty reductions in the states of Texas, North Carolina, and Arizona.

Publication Date

Fall 11-17-2015


National Issue Brief No. 91


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2015. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.



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