3 Things We Can Learn about the Earned Income Tax Credit from a Map

Our interactive map of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in your county looks at the average EITC amount, in dollars, and the share of taxpayers that claim the EITC at the county level nationwide.* Here are three main takeaways from the map:

1. The map of EITC benefits by county looks like a lot like a map of single motherhood

The map of the EITC benefits mirrors the map of single motherhood in the United States. The similarity can be explained by the design of the EITC, which makes it especially valuable for single parents. Childless households can only receive a small maximum benefit and married couples with children can face a significant marriage penalty.

2. Reliance on the EITC is widespread

In nine out of ten counties, at least 10 percent of taxpayers file the EITC. Even those counties with relatively high average incomes see a notable portion of their tax units benefitting from the EITC.

3. The benefits of the EITC are especially pronounced in the Southeast

A striking feature of the map of EITC benefits is the share of counties with high EITC take-up in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. In these states, at least four out of ten counties have tax filer EITC take-up rates of at least 30 percent. EITC take-up rates outside the Southeast tend to be much lower.

See the full set of the tax maps here »

*Data are from 2007.