Are Children Worth More Than One Penny?

According to Children’s Budget 2008, published by First Focus, “one penny of every new, real,non-defense dollar spent by the federal government over the past five years goes to children….Despite increases in federal spending over the past five years, the share for children has dropped dramatically.”

According to the report, overall spending on children did increase by about 1.4% over the past 5 years, but was easily outpaced by total federal non-defense spending, which grew at a rate nearly ten times faster.  Discretionary programs that benefit children declined by 6.7% compared to 5.9% increase for total federal domestic spending.

Spending on children’s education, child welfare, and youth training were affected even more, declining by 9.9 percent, 11.5 percent, and 4.9 percent, respectively, in real dollars since 2004.

The report estimates that domestic spending on children in 2018 will represent just 13.8 percent of federal domestic spending, down from 16.2 percent in 2007.  Meanwhile spending on the non-child portions of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will consume 59.2 percent of domestic spending by 2018.

The complete report is available at