Childhood Poverty: The Shame of the U.S.

Miles Corak draws our attention to the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card on childhood poverty in developed nations (pdf). It probably isn’t surprising that the U.S. does horribly:


Keep in mind these are families that earn under $25,000 per year. They are poor (If you drop the threshold to less than $20,000, 16.6% of U.S. children are still poor). The other thing is that we’re not comparing the U.S. to Angola: these are relatively prosperous countries, so the canards of ‘Western people’ aren’t really poor can’t be raised here–relatively speaking, the U.S. does abysmally. And there’s a simple reason for this–our very weak safety net:

The left-hand column is childhood poverty pre-taxes and transfers, the darker blue, right-hand column is post-taxes and transfers (e.g., food stamps, etc.); data from 2007

Unlike the U.S., Canadians apparently give a shit about the needy. They actually help the needy. Instead, thanks to Clinton and the Republicans’ welfare reform (the block grants in particular), the U.S. safety net is far less capable of expanding in times of crisis.

But screw ’em, they’re just kids. It’s not like we’re going to need them to take care of us when we’re old or anything….

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5 Responses to Childhood Poverty: The Shame of the U.S.

  1. eNeMeE says:

    I’m sure our current government will get around to fixing that soon, just as soon as they’ve finished gutting science and environmental stuff. Le sigh.

  2. malekith188 says:

    I’d add my two cents, but you said it all and that well. I’m a former Green Beret, and I’ve seen refugee children (bless them all equally) better fed, housed, and educated than the poor children of America. I live in Indiana, and the present Governor, Republican Mitch Daniels, takes great pride in having sliced welfare rolls about 65%. The aftermath is predictable. The present is now following a paradigm for the projected future: “Indiana shall need to substatially increase prison space by 2025.”

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