Over the past six years, America’s wealth expanded by over $30 billion — a growth rate of 60 percent — despite the weak recovery. During the same span of time, another metric grew by that percentage: the number of homeless and food insecure children.
As Raw Story reports, despite its vast and ever-growing wealth, the world’s richest country by a considerable margin lags behind most other developed nations in measurements of child poverty.
America is a ‘Leader’ in Child Poverty
The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. As UNICEF reports, “[Children’s] material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States.”
$5 a Day for Food, But Congress Thought it was Too Much.
Nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, and they averaged about $5 a day for their meals before the 2014 farm bill cut $8.6 billion (over the next ten years) from the food stamp program.
For Every 2 Homeless Children in 2006, There Are Now 3
On a typical frigid night in January, 138,000 children, according to the U.S. Department of Housing, were without a place to call home.
That’s about the same number of households that have each increased their wealth by $10 million per year since the recession.
The US: Near the Bottom in Education, and Sinking
The U.S. ranks near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education. Early education should be a primary goal for the future, as numerous studies have shown that pre-school helps all children to achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most. But we’re going in the opposite direction. Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history.
Children’s Rights? Not in the U.S.
It’s hard to comprehend the thinking of people who cut funding for homeless and hungry children. It may be delusion about trickle-down, it may be indifference to poverty, it may be resentment toward people unable to “make it on their own”.
The indifference and resentment and disdain for society reach around the globe. Only two nations still refuse to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: South Sudan and the United States.
Aside from the obvious immorality of allowing so many millions of children to suffer during their most formative years, this abysmal performance in child well-being will leave a lasting legacy of social ills, poor children are increasingly more likely to remain poor for the rest of their lives (especially given the declining social mobility for which the U.S. was once famous).