CUANTO nos cuesta

Annual cost of child poverty for Puerto Rico

It affects the country’s productivity and coming at a great cost for all.




How much is child poverty costing us? What can we do about it?

Puerto Rico stands at a critical moment as it carves its future. The economic model that guided development for decades is no longer feasible and our children now carry an even heavier load over their shoulders.


A Future of Child Poverty: How Much It Costs and What We Can Do About It

This report:

  • Presents evidence on the impacts of poverty on Puerto Rican children


  • Quantifies the annual cost of child poverty


  • Develops a road map to significantly reduce poverty in 3 to 10 years 

This report was possible through the contributions of Filantropía Puerto Rico and Anne E. Casey Foundation. 


How much does child poverty costs us?

Cost of Child Poverty, 2017 (in millions)

















Lost earnings




Cost of Child Poverty and Cost of Solutions

Poverty Cost

Policy Cost

Policy Combination 1 Cost Comparison







Year 3

Year 5

Year 10

Poverty Cost

Policy Cost

Policy Combination 2 Cost Comparison







Year 3

Year 5

Year 10

Costo de la pobreza

Costo de la Política Pública

Policy Combination 3 Cost Comparison







Año 3

Año 5

Año 10


Roadmap Towards Decreasing Child Poverty

Poverty Reduction Percentage at 10 year mark 100%

Number of children lifted out of poverty


Tax Policies

Economic and Work Policies

Removing Barriers to Work Policies

Human Capital Development Policies

We organized the proposed policies into 3 combinations:


Policy Combination


Policy Combination


Policy Combination


Maintain the local Earned Income Tax Credit at its current levels

Extend the Federal Child Tax Credit to families with one or two children

Create a Welfare-to-Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Expand government-subsidized jobs for parents and youth

Create a universal child allowance program

Ensure access to early child development programs to all children aged 0 to 5

Extend after-school programs to children in public schools 

Introduce whole-family two-generation models to public schools

Develop a sector-based Work Training program

Revamp high school and associate degree completion programs

($100 per child)

($150 per child)

We propose the following strategy to significantly decrease child poverty in 3 to 10 years. The range of percentages corresponds to poverty and extreme poverty, respectively.

Currently: Child poverty 58%  |  Extreme child poverty 39%

5 years

10 years

3 years

Poverty | Extreme poverty

Policy Combination 1

Policy Combination 2

Policy Combination 3

49%  |  27%

48%  |  25%

45%  |  20%

Policy Combination 1

Policy Combination 2

Policy Combination 3

46%  |  23%

45%  |  21%

40%  |  14%

Policy Combination 1

Policy Combination 2

Policy Combination 3

31%  |  11%

36%  |  9%

29%  |  0%

It’s possible to significantly reduce child poverty over the next 10 year. According to our estimates, we could eliminate deep child poverty completely in 10 years!

A claim of the people!

These organizations along with the hundreds of entities represented endorse this study findings and recommendations

Get involved! 

For Organizations

Becoming an ally for this cause means that:


  1. Your organization supports ending child poverty in Puerto Rico.

  2. Your organization is interested in placing the issue of child poverty as a priority in Puerto Rico.

  3. Your organization supports the comprehensive policy approach to reduce child poverty that we present in this study.

  4. Your organization provides your logo so that we can highlight you as a partner on our website.

The benefits of being a member include:


  1. Position your entity as one that is committed to Puerto Rico’s social and economic development.  

  2. Participate in discussions about particular strategies for your entity to address child poverty.  

  3. Be part of a network of allies that can share information, align strategies and help inform public policy at the Puerto Rico and federal level. 

Only by working together can we make child poverty a priority in Puerto Rico

Become a Partner

Get involved! 

For Individuals 

Child poverty affects Puerto Rico’s productivity and quality of life and is a costly for all of us. Make your voice heard, sign up for an email newsletter for more information and join future campaigns from the Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico, including how to ensure that child poverty is a key issue in Puerto Rico’s 2020 election.

Sign up!

Get involved! 

For Policymakers

Schedule a time with the Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico staff to discuss these public policy recommendations.

501 Ave. Roberto H. Todd

San Juan, PR 0090

Phone: (787) 728-3939



P.O. Box 79526 

Carolina, PR 00984-9526

About Us

The Youth Development Institute (YDI) is the only entity in Puerto Rico exclusively dedicated to promoting research and people-driven policies that strengthen the economic security of families with children and youth, with the ultimate end of drastically reducing child poverty in the island.  


Our goal is that all Puerto Rican children have the opportunities that allow them to get out of poverty and live in families with economic security.  


We pursue change using various mechanisms: empowering those affected to engage in the policy process; creating collective impact so that it is not just us working towards such a big goal; promoting the use of data amongst policy makers; and activating traditional advocacy work and grassroots mobilization where we educate about the problem and its solutions. 

Learn more: