In this brief, Jess Carson explores the poverty-reducing effects of key federal safety net programs among 18-24 year old (“young adult”) parents. An estimated 2.5 million very young children live with a young adult parent, with low-income children especially likely to do so. The brief finds that more than four in five young adult parents, regardless of income, participate in at least one major safety net program. Of these, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the most widely used and the most effective at reducing poverty under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, and poverty would increase by 6.7 percentage points without the EITC. Continued efforts to expand and support access to the EITC can provide young families with a key source of poverty-alleviating income.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Spring 3-31-2020


National Issue Brief No. 146


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

Document Type



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