7 of Top 10 Counties by Share of Taxpayers Claiming EITC Are in Mississippi

In new Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center analysis of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) take-up at the county level, Benjamin Harris, a fellow in Economic Studies, and Research Assistant Lucie Parker use zip-code level data on taxes and demographics to take a “fresh look” at the EITC. “Since its creation in 1975,” they write, “the Earned Income Tax Credit has played a major role in the U.S. safety net.” Earlier this year, Harris presented EITC take-up using IRS data from 2007. Compare that to the new list of ten counties with the highest share of EITC recipients below:

Rank  County EITC Share (pct)
10 Sharkey Co., MS 50.5
9 Quitman Co., MS 50.7
8 Coahoma Co., MS 51.6
7 Starr Co., TX 52.1
6 Claiborne Co., MS 52.7
5 Humphreys Co., MS 53.0
4 Buffalo Co., SD 54.1
3 Shannon Co., SD 54.5 
2 Holmes Co., MS 55.5
1 Tunica Co., MS 56.1

“The regional variation EITC claiming is stark,” Harris and Parker conclude. “The counties with the highest share of taxpayers claiming the EITC are overwhelming located in the Southeast. … [O]ver half the taxpayers in a large share of counties in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi claim the EITC. With few exceptions, almost all counties with high EITC claiming are located in the South. Relative to the South, the Northeast and the Midwest have much lower claiming rates. Moreover, average EITC benefit closely follows the pattern for share of taxpayers taking up the credit: in counties where more taxpayers claim the credit, the credit is larger on the whole.”

Visit this U.S. map interactive to get county level data on share of taxpayers claiming EITC as well as average EITC amount, in dollars, per county.