A new report by the Urban Institute found federal spending on children reached a new high during the pandemic in 2021, but researchers project that level of increased spending won’t last.
According to the Urban Institute’s annual Kids’ Share report, federal spending per child reached $10,710 in 2021. That’s compared to before the pandemic, when the federal government spent $6,810 per child in 2019.
“One of the things that happened is, with the pandemic, all of us became aware how fragile early care and education as a system is,” says Mariana Souto-Manning, president of the Erikson Institute. “Those investments really are important for us to invest in the historically divested communities.”
The report also finds that federal spending is projected to fall back toward pre pandemic levels by 2024, as temporary spending increases in response to the COVID pandemic come to an end.
“Even those increases in child care and early childhood education that happened during the pandemic that were so important for those children — those increases are going away,” said Heather Hahn, associate vice president for management at the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute.