Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Federal Investments in Children Decline

First Focus' Children's Budget 2011 offers a detailed breakdown on the FY 2011 budget's spending allocations for children. Passed this spring amidst intense political debate, the 2011 budget's share of spending dedicated to children has fallen by just over 8%. While spending on children increased in 2010, with the children's share of the total budget peaking at around 11% when combined with investments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), many advocates project that spending on children will continue to decline as ARRA expenditures expire and budget cuts continue. As we know, declining investments in children can have a significant impact on children's well-being in the long term. According to the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF)’s new report on The State of America’s Children® 2011, already children make up almost one in four of the people living in the United States today.

Without action, the projected outlook indicates that further decreases in federal expenditures on children are in the future. According to a report from Brookings and the Urban Institute, Kid's Share 2011, spending on children is projected to fall by 9% between 2010 and 2015. The report predicts that by 2020, the share of the economy devoted to federal investments in children will drop to below 2% of the gross domestic product (GDP), falling below 2010 levels and 2005 levels. The report notes that the federal budget as a whole is not shrinking, however, largely due to costs of health and retirement programs. However, interest payments on the growing national debt are expected to rise dramatically, more than doubling from 1.4 percent of GDP in 2010 to 3.3 percent in 2020. Under current policies, the federal government is projected to spend more on interest payments than on children, beginning in 2014.

For more information, please visit

First Focus

The Children's Defense Fund

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