Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Continuous Cycle of Child Poverty: US 2nd Highest Rate In the Developed World

After hearing the US is #2, to be sure, Mitt Romney exclaimed, "Why aren't we #1, dammit?!?"  while, under his breath,  President Obama mutters, "I got Osama."  Anyway.......... 

Child Poverty Rates in Developed World
The most recent U.S. Census Bureau  poverty data shows millions of families struggling fiercely to keep their heads above water.  According to the census, fourteen states saw statistically significant increases in their child poverty rates, 26 states saw small increases, and nine states and the District of Columbia saw small declines in child poverty rates last year. The bottom line is that 16.1 million children are living in poverty in our wealthy nation with more than 7 million living in extreme poverty.

Moreover, if you use the definition of poverty used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which states a child is living in poverty if he or she is growing up in a household where disposable income, when adjusted for family size and compensation, is less than 50% of the median disposable income, 30 million children are living in relative poverty.

So, given America's immense wealth, the U.S. has/has had unusually high rates of child poverty and income inequality, even prior to the 2008 financial meltdown. In fact, the U.S. has one of the highest child poverty rates in the developed world.  Only Romania surpasses the U.S.

One of the problems is that the U.S. does little to assist low-income working families who, despite each adult working 40 hours per week or more, do not earn enough to make ends meet. 

Yet despite the toxic toll a high child poverty rate takes on a nation as wealthy as the U.S., our political leaders rarely if ever mention it.  It's only very recently that  President Obama broke his silence on child poverty while Mitt Romney ignores the issue completely.  After all, children do not vote and they do not pay taxes. 


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