Prev Sci. 2022 Aug 2. doi: 10.1007/s11121-022-01417-w. Online ahead of print.
Family- and neighborhood-level poverty are associated with youth violence. Economic policies may address this risk factor by reducing parental stress and increasing opportunities. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the largest cash transfer program in the US providing support to low-income working families. Many states have additional EITCs that vary in structure and generosity. To estimate the association between state EITC and youth violence, we conducted a repeated cross-sectional analysis using the variation in state EITC generosity over time by state and self-reported data in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) from 2005 to 2019. We estimated the association for all youth and then stratified by sex and race and ethnicity. A 10-percentage point greater state EITC was significantly associated with 3.8% lower prevalence of physical fighting among youth, overall (PR: 0.96; 95% CI 0.94-0.99), and for male students, 149 fewer (95% CI: -243, -55) students per 10,000 experiencing physical fighting. A 10-percentage point greater state EITC was significantly associated with 118 fewer (95% CI: -184, -52) White students per 10,000 experiencing physical fighting in the past 12 months while reductions among Black students (75 fewer; 95% CI: -176, 26) and Hispanic/Latino students (14 fewer; 95% CI: -93, 65) were not statistically significant. State EITC generosity was not significantly associated with measures of violence at school. Economic policies that increase financial security and provide financial resources may reduce the burden of youth violence; further attention to their differential benefits among specific population subgroups is warranted.