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An Embarrassing Child Poverty Ranking

Research & Commentary
May 05, 2016

by Josh Hoxie

A new UNICEF report shows the U.S. lagging behind countries like Turkey and Slovakia on efforts to reduce childhood inequality, even as it ranks No. 1 in wealth.

Originally published by U.S. News & World Report.

If a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members, the United States just received an incredibly unflattering judgment.

childhood-poverty-us-695x463new study published by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, ranked the wealthiest countries of the world by the well-being of their most disadvantaged children. Out of 41 countries, the U.S. ranked No. 18 overall.

For context, the U.S. ranks No. 1 in total wealth.

The study took a comprehensive approach, comparing the gap between children at the very bottom to those in the middle across a range of criteria – including household income, educational achievement and self-reported health and life satisfaction. The central question was this: How far do countries let those at the very bottom fall?

In the United States, the answer seems to be distressingly far.

Read the full article on U.S. News and World Report’s website.

Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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