U.S. Child Poverty Rate Second Only To Romania

Peter Adamson with the Office of Research at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), discusses the international data contained in Report Card 10, a first-ever analysis of new data from the European Union's Statistics on Income and Living Conditions household surveys reveals the extent of child poverty and child deprivation in the world’s advanced economies.

As debates on austerity and social spending cuts rage, some 13 million children in the EU, plus Norway and Iceland, are found to be "deprived", lacking basic items necessary for their development.

Meanwhile, 30 million children live in relative poverty in 35 countries with developed economies. Of the 35 wealthy countries studied by UNICEF, only Romania has a child poverty rate higher than the 23 percent rate in the U.S.:

Particularly striking in Report Card 10 are the comparisons between countries with similar
economies, demonstrating that government policy can have a significant impact on the lives of children. For example, Denmark and Sweden have much lower rates of child deprivation than Belgium or Germany, yet all four countries have roughly similar levels of economic development and per capita income.

“The report makes clear that some governments are doing much better at tackling child deprivation than others,” said Mr. Alexander. “The best performers show it is possible to address poverty within the current fiscal space. On the flip side, failure to protect children from today’s economic crisis is one of the most costly mistakes a society can make.”

In a report last August, the child poverty rate was at 20 percent in the United States, and this is an important passage to note on those findings:

"People who grew up in a financially secure situation find it easier to succeed in life, they are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to graduate from college, and these are things that will lead to greater success in life,” Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told the AP. “What we are looking at is a cohort of kids who as they become adults may be less able to contribute to the growth of the economy. It could go on for multiple generations.”

These reports should haunt every man and woman who enters a voting booth in November. "Second in child poverty only to Romania."


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