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Tax Credits for Lower-Income Working Families Help 21 Million Mothers

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 2010.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) figures show that over 27 million Americans claimed the EITC, including about 21 million filers with children.  Similarly, a mostly-overlapping group of 21 million parents claimed the low-income (that is, refundable) CTC.

Using 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, we estimate that about 10 million single mothers and 11 million couples — a mother and a father — received either or both credits, as did 2 million single fathers.

The table shows the figures for mothers (married plus single) by state.[2]  The figures show that in most states, more than 100,000 mothers received one or both credits, while 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 FY2010
50 States + DC 21,000,000
Alabama 430,000
Alaska 35,000
Arizona 440,000
Arkansas 240,000
California 2,700,000
Colorado 290,000
Connecticut 160,000
Delaware 56,000
Dist. of Columbia 36,000
Florida 1,400,000
Georgia 890,000
Hawaii 78,000
Idaho 110,000
Illinois 880,000
Indiana 440,000
Iowa 160,000
Kansas 180,000
Kentucky 300,000
Louisiana 410,000
Maine 68,000
Maryland 330,000
Massachusetts 280,000
Michigan 600,000
Minnesota 260,000
Mississippi 320,000
Missouri 390,000
Montana 56,000
Nebraska 110,000
Nevada 210,000
New Hampshire 54,000
New Jersey 470,000
New Mexico 170,000
New York 1,200,000
North Carolina 770,000
North Dakota 31,000
Ohio 720,000
Oklahoma 280,000
Oregon 210,000
Pennsylvania 670,000
Rhode Island 59,000
South Carolina 390,000
South Dakota 49,000
Tennessee 510,000
Texas 2,200,000
Utah 200,000
Vermont 29,000
Virginia 470,000
Washington 360,000
West Virginia 110,000
Wisconsin 310,000
Wyoming 28,000
Source:  CBPP estimates based on data from IRS, unpublished data from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and CBPP analysis of the March 2012 Current Population Survey.  The figures assume that among filers with children who claim either the EITC or the refundable CTC, the share that contain a married or single mother (about 90 percent) is the same in every state as it is nationwide, while the other 10 percent of EITC and refundable CTC filers with children consists of single fathers.  A Center analysis of three years of merged Census data found no statistically significant state-to-state differences in this share.

End Notes

[1] Chuck Marr, Jimmy Charite, and Chye-Ching Huang, “Earned Income Tax Credit Promotes Work, Encourages Children’s Success at School, Research Finds,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, revised April 9, 2013, at

[2] “Mothers” here includes grandmothers and other female relatives with dependent children.