Children Fare Worse in America
Poor American children are worse off than poor
children in most other Western industrialized countries, according to
the Luxembourg Income Study. The nonprofit group, funded by NSF and similar
agencies in other countries, studied the economies and welfare of residents
in 18 nations, according to The New York Times.
The general welfare of poor youth in the United States is worse than in most
of the countries surveyed, including Italy, Finland and Canada, but better than
in Ireland and Israel, the study reported. This, despite the fact that the United
States ranks second in economic output per person, coming directly after Luxembourg.
"The United States appears to have sunk through the rankings over the last 30
years, although no conclusive data are available," study director and co-author
Timothy M. Smeeding told The New York Times. In the 1950s, the United
States led in overall prosperity, but since the 1960s, this lead has declined
and childhood poverty has increased. Childhood poverty has also increased in
Britain and Israel.
The severe poverty among American children appears to have several causes, Smeeding
- American households with children are less affluent than
households without children, the study reports, a trend not
seen in other European nations.
- American mothers are less likely to return to work after
childbirth as quickly as European mothers.
- The United States has the widest gap between the rich and
poor, and the least generous social programs, of any of the
18 nations surveyed.
Researchers in the Luxembourg Income Study made their comparisons
by using census data from the following nations: Australia, Canada, Israel,
Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
The study's results were consistent with less statistically detailed studies
by other social scientists.