Mapping Working Family Tax Credits and Their Anti-Poverty Impact

Mapping Working Family Tax Credits and Their Anti-Poverty Impact. Brookings Institution. Elizabeth Kneebone and Cecile Murray. February 21, 2017

Now that tax filing season is well under way, millions of Americans are about to begin receiving refunds. For many low-income taxpayers, two key tax code provisions—the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)—will keep them and their families from falling into poverty.

What makes the EITC and ACTC special is that they are refundable—that is, after offsetting taxes owed, filers receive the remainder of the credit in their refunds. As a result, the tax credits effectively boost the take-home pay of low- and moderate-income working families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM)—a more nuanced measure of poverty that accounts for things like tax payments, work expenses, and in-kind benefits not reflected in the official measure—these tax credits lowered the national poverty rate by 3 percentage points in 2015, equivalent to lifting 9.2 million people above the poverty line. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

Who Goes to Graduate School and Who Succeeds?

Who Goes to Graduate School and Who Succeeds? Urban Institute. Sandy Baum, Patricia Steele. January 11, 2017

This brief explores demographic differences in graduate school enrollment and completion. Students from higher-income backgrounds are more likely than others to enroll, more likely to complete their programs, and more likely to earn degrees likely to generate high earnings. When four-year college graduates from lower-income backgrounds do continue their education beyond college, they are more likely than those from higher-income backgrounds to seek master’s degrees, which yield a considerably lower earnings premium than doctoral and professional degrees. Black college graduates—who make up a much smaller share of their age group than white and Asian college graduates—are actually more likely than those from other racial and ethnic groups to go to graduate school. But they disproportionately enroll in master’s degree programs and about one-quarter of black master’s degree students attend for-profit institutions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 16 pages, 2.01 MB].

Fatherhood Initiatives: Connecting Fathers to Their Children

Fatherhood Initiatives: Connecting Fathers to Their Children. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Carmen Solomon-Fears, Jessica Tollestrup. December 28, 2016

In 2016, while the majority of children in the United States lived in families with two parents (69%), an estimated 27% of children were maintained in one-parent homes. Of children in one-parent homes, an estimated 85% were in homes maintained by the mother only. Research indicates that children raised in single-parent families are more likely than children raised in two-parent families (with both biological parents) to do poorly in school, have emotional and behavioral problems, become teenage parents, and have poverty-level incomes. In hopes of improving the long-term outlook for children in single-parent families, federal, state, and local governments, along with public and private organizations, are supporting programs and activities that promote the financial and personal responsibility of noncustodial fathers to their children and increase the participation of fathers in the lives of their children. These programs have come to be known as “responsible fatherhood” programs.

[PDF format, 34 pages, 815.28 KB].

Special Minimum Wages for Workers with Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions

Special Minimum Wages for Workers with Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Benjamin Collins. December 16, 2016

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as amended, sets the minimum wage for covered workers at $7.25 per hour. Section 14(c) of the FLSA permits certified employers to pay a worker with a disability that impairs the worker’s productive capacity a special minimum wage (SMW). The SMW may be below the federal minimum wage but must be commensurate with the worker’s productivity and the job’s prevailing wage.
This short report answers common questions related to SMWs. It covers
• federal legislation that authorizes SMWs;
• how individuals qualify for SMWs;
• how employers are certified to pay SMWs and how wage levels are set;
• data on employers that pay SMWs; and
• services that must be provided in conjunction with the payment of SMWs

[PDF format, 8 pages, 588.09 KB].

Global Risks Report 2017

Global Risks Report 2017. World Economic Forum. January 11, 2017.

The Global Risks Report 2017 features perspectives from nearly 750 experts on the perceived impact and likelihood of 30 prevalent global risks as well as 13 underlying trends that could amplify them or alter the interconnections between them over a 10-year timeframe.
2016 saw a crystallization of political risks that have led to the election of populist leaders, a loss of faith in institutions and increased strain on international cooperation. We should not be surprised by this: for the past decade, the Global Risks Report has been drawing attention to persistent economic, social and political factors that have been shaping our risks landscape.
This year’s report will examine the five greatest priorities facing the world in 2017, their interconnections and the actions necessary to avoid their harshest fall-out. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 78 pages, 7.77 MB].

Social Security Primer

Social Security Primer. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Dawn Nuschler. December 5, 2016

Social Security provides monthly cash benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members, and to the family members of deceased workers. Among the beneficiary population, approximately 82% are retired or disabled workers, and 18% are the family members of retired, disabled, or deceased workers. In October 2016, nearly 61 million beneficiaries received a total of $75 billion in benefit payments for the month; the average monthly benefit was $1,241.
Workers become eligible for Social Security benefits for themselves and their family members by working in Social Security-covered employment. An estimated 94% of workers in paid employment or self-employment are covered, and their earnings are subject to the Social Security payroll tax. In 2017, employers and employees each pay 6.2% of covered earnings, up to the annual limit on taxable earnings ($127,200 in 2017).

[PDF format, 18 pages, 764.81 KB].

The U.S. Income Distribution: Trends and Issues

The U.S. Income Distribution: Trends and Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Sarah A. Donovan, Marc Labonte, Joseph Dalaker. December 8, 2016

Income inequality—that is, the extent to which individuals’ or households’ incomes differ—has increased in the United States since the 1970s. Rising income inequality over this time period is driven largely by relatively rapid income growth at the top of the income distribution. For example, in 1975, the average income of households in the top fifth of income distribution was 10.3 times as large as average household income in the bottom fifth of the distribution; in 2015, average top incomes were 16.3 times as large as those at the bottom.

[PDF format, 47 pages, 1.19 MB].