Signed into law as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the expanded child tax credit increased the tax credit from $2,000 per child to as much as $3,600 per child in 2021. Our team of analysts discovered how people in each state spent the expanded credit.

Key takeaways:

  • 79% of people spent the tax credit on food
  • 40% of people spent the tax credit on utilities or housing costs
  • 25% of people used the tax credit to pay off debt
  • 13% of people saved the tax credit

Food, clothing and housing costs are the main ways Americans spent the expanded child tax credit in the first four months of 2022. Nearly 80% of people (4 out of 5) used part of the child tax credit to buy food. However, a substantial number of people also used the money to make vehicle payments, pay for child care services or donate to charity.

Child Tax Credit spending
Spending category % of people who spent money in each category
Food 79%
Clothing 46%
Childcare 16%
Education 21%
After School Programs 5%
Transportation 7%
Recreational Goods 8%
Housing (rent or mortgage) 40%
Utility 40%
Vehicle and debt payments 26%
Charitable Donations 2%
Savings 4%
Other 6%
Figures will not equal 100% because multiple categories can be chosen

How people in each state spent money from the expanded child tax credit varies significantly from state to state. For example, nearly 96% of people in Alaska spent money on food, while only 58% of people did in Rhode Island. We found similar variation between states when it comes to spending on clothing, education, housing, utilities and debt payments.

Child Tax Credit Spending by State
State Food Clothing Education Housing Utilities Debt
Alabama 84% 41% 25% 35% 33% 32%
Alaska 96% 36% 13% 42% 39% 37%
Arizona 85% 48% 13% 44% 40% 32%
Arkansas 94% 45% 21% 36% 57% 30%
California 82% 45% 16% 41% 29% 20%
Colorado 76% 48% 11% 37% 33% 22%
Connecticut 87% 40% 22% 33% 37% 24%
Delaware 66% 34% 14% 24% 54% 25%
Florida 71% 40% 20% 49% 39% 26%
Georgia 62% 39% 24% 31% 37% 29%
Hawaii 87% 43% 24% 45% 57% 54%
Idaho 80% 40% 15% 35% 23% 19%
Illinois 81% 46% 24% 38% 39% 30%
Indiana 65% 53% 19% 34% 49% 30%
Iowa 77% 59% 16% 51% 50% 34%
Kansas 84% 40% 17% 44% 43% 46%
Kentucky 73% 49% 12% 31% 48% 17%
Louisiana 76% 61% 27% 58% 62% 25%
Maine 81% 41% 12% 34% 44% 36%
Maryland 72% 44% 27% 23% 26% 30%
Massachusetts 82% 53% 29% 42% 37% 33%
Michigan 77% 41% 24% 29% 45% 27%
Minnesota 76% 32% 11% 36% 34% 33%
Mississippi 91% 48% 11% 50% 54% 29%
Missouri 75% 41% 17% 49% 53% 29%
Montana 75% 32% 15% 54% 50% 19%
Nebraska 65% 41% 19% 47% 45% 34%
Nevada 79% 43% 31% 43% 30% 48%
New Hampshire 77% 48% 13% 29% 43% 14%
New Jersey 75% 46% 32% 41% 34% 13%
New Mexico 87% 59% 22% 37% 53% 31%
New York 83% 46% 23% 30% 35% 12%
North Carolina 87% 62% 15% 26% 30% 14%
North Dakota 78% 41% 22% 24% 42% 41%
Ohio 82% 37% 25% 51% 53% 24%
Oklahoma 85% 62% 29% 28% 45% 28%
Oregon 83% 39% 16% 27% 35% 27%
Pennsylvania 76% 43% 21% 52% 47% 50%
Rhode Island 58% 56% 6% 61% 30% 25%
South Carolina 78% 41% 24% 30% 41% 32%
South Dakota 71% 51% 24% 27% 38% 21%
Tennessee 90% 56% 11% 45% 44% 33%
Texas 83% 53% 31% 40% 39% 22%
Utah 74% 43% 15% 44% 37% 35%
Vermont 84% 46% 18% 33% 40% 36%
Virginia 82% 43% 22% 50% 60% 49%
Washington 77% 42% 21% 50% 46% 29%
West Virginia 90% 50% 27% 42% 49% 20%
Wisconsin 81% 39% 15% 40% 43% 35%
Wyoming 70% 31% 19% 34% 34% 30%
United States 79% 46% 21% 40% 40% 26%
Figures will not equal 100% because multiple categories can be chosen. Dept category includes vehicle payments, student loans, credit cards and other payments.

While people spent money from the expanded child tax credit on a wide range of goods and services, most of the money was used to pay off debt. Nationwide, 25% of people said they paid debts down or off, while 18% mostly spent it and 13% mostly saved it.

On a state level, Alaska had the highest number of people who spent most of the tax credit, Maine and Vermont had the highest numbers of savers and Arizona had the highest number of people who put the money towards existing debts.

CHow Americans spend the Child Tax Credit
State Mostly Spent It Mostly Saved It Mostly Paid Off Debt
Alabama 18% 12% 25%
Alaska 24% 15% 28%
Arizona 15% 9% 33%
Arkansas 16% 12% 32%
California 19% 9% 22%
Colorado 15% 16% 17%
Connecticut 19% 10% 31%
Delaware 19% 17% 29%
Florida 18% 11% 25%
Georgia 19% 13% 21%
Hawaii 21% 13% 25%
Idaho 14% 15% 19%
Illinois 18% 10% 25%
Indiana 13% 13% 29%
Iowa 16% 14% 28%
Kansas 17% 13% 25%
Kentucky 19% 13% 28%
Louisiana 17% 9% 21%
Maine 11% 21% 27%
Maryland 16% 15% 26%
Massachusetts 17% 17% 22%
Michigan 18% 10% 25%
Minnesota 21% 18% 21%
Mississippi 19% 7% 22%
Missouri 20% 15% 27%
Montana 17% 17% 18%
Nebraska 18% 17% 20%
Nevada 17% 19% 26%
New Hampshire 21% 19% 24%
New Jersey 21% 10% 24%
New Mexico 23% 13% 28%
New York 19% 13% 21%
North Carolina 19% 15% 23%
North Dakota 24% 12% 19%
Ohio 15% 11% 29%
Oklahoma 19% 17% 30%
Oregon 20% 18% 27%
Pennsylvania 19% 14% 23%
Rhode Island 15% 14% 26%
South Carolina 14% 12% 32%
South Dakota 21% 15% 21%
Tennessee 16% 19% 23%
Texas 18% 11% 26%
Utah 19% 19% 28%
Vermont 18% 21% 29%
Virginia 15% 13% 26%
Washington 23% 17% 22%
West Virginia 20% 14% 27%
Wisconsin 18% 16% 28%
Wyoming 20% 11% 30%
United States 18% 13% 25%
Figures will not equal 100% because multiple categories can be chosen

Methodology

To calculate how people spent money from the expanded child tax credit, QuoteWizard analyzed data from the United State Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Data from weeks 41, 42 and 43 were used. Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number and may not equal 100% because multiple categories can be chosen.

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