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Fact Sheet: 21 Million Mothers Benefit From Tax Credits for Lower-Income Working Families

Two working-family tax credits — the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) — have proven to be powerful tools for reducing children’s poverty and advancing their long-term well-being.[1] About 21 million mothers in low- and moderate-income working families received either the EITC or the low-income portion of the CTC in 2012.  (For data on how the credits help fathers, see “13 Million Fathers Benefit from Tax Credits for Lower-Income Working Families.”)

Over 26 million Americans claimed the EITC, including about 20 million filers with children, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) figures show.  A mostly overlapping group of 19 million parents claimed the low-income (that is, refundable) CTC.  We estimate that about 10 million single mothers and 11 million couples that include a mother[2] received one or both credits.   Our estimates are based on IRS data, additional state tax information from the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, and national-level Census data on the gender of tax credit recipients.

The table shows the figures for mothers (married or single) by state.  In most states, more than 200,000 mothers received one or both credits.  In even the least populous states, such as Vermont and Wyoming, over 25,000 mothers received this help.

Mothers With EITC or Refundable Child Tax Credit,
Fiscal Year 2012
50 States + DC 20,960,000
Alabama 421,000
Alaska 36,000
Arizona 463,000
Arkansas 228,000
California 2,675,000
Colorado 289,000
Connecticut 161,000
Delaware 55,000
Dist. of Columbia 38,000
Florida 1,465,000
Georgia 894,000
Hawaii 79,000
Idaho 115,000
Illinois 861,000
Indiana 429,000
Iowa 155,000
Kansas 168,000
Kentucky 296,000
Louisiana 403,000
Maine 63,000
Maryland 329,000
Massachusetts 277,000
Michigan 602,000
Minnesota 255,000
Mississippi 309,000
Missouri 373,000
Montana 53,000
Nebraska 106,000
Nevada 209,000
New Hampshire 51,000
New Jersey 453,000
New Mexico 162,000
New York 1,239,000
North Carolina 763,000
North Dakota 29,000
Ohio 676,000
Oklahoma 257,000
Oregon 206,000
Pennsylvania 641,000
Rhode Island 59,000
South Carolina 384,000
South Dakota 43,000
Tennessee 501,000
Texas 2,212,000
Utah 200,000
Vermont 28,000
Virginia 462,000
Washington 359,000
West Virginia 98,000
Wisconsin 293,000
Wyoming 27,000
Source:  CBPP estimates based on data from IRS, unpublished data from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and CBPP analysis of the Census Bureau’s March 2010-March2014 Current Population Survey.

End Notes

[1] Chuck Marr et al., “EITC and Child Tax Credit Promote Work, Reduce Poverty, and Support Children’s Development, Research Finds,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, revised April 3, 2015,

[2] These figures treat same-sex married couples as unmarried for tax purposes because the Census Bureau’s 2013 tax model, which these calculations rely on, had not yet incorporated recent Supreme Court and IRS rulings allowing legally married same-sex couples to file together.