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Among developed countries, United States ranks second worst in childhood poverty

Report: Childhood poverty a big problem in U.S.

Published: Monday, July 2 2012 9:45 a.m. MDT

Currently, 27,000 children in Utah live in areas of concentrated poverty, according to a data snapshot released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count initiative that compared 2000 Census data with a 2006-2010 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. The number is an 80 percent increase from the 2000 figure and triple the national increase of 25 percent.

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The United States has the second-highest rate of childhood poverty in the developed world, according to an International Business Times article by Ashley Portero.

This alarming fact comes in the wake of a new report from the United Nations Children's Fund, which found that out of the 35 wealthiest countries analyzed by UNICEF, only one, Romania, had a child poverty rate above the 23 percent rate recorded in the United States, according to the article.

The United States ranks second on the scale of what economists call "relative child poverty", which refers to a child living in a household where the disposable income is less than half of the national median income, according to a Huffington Post article by Saki Knafo.

Many experts have opinions as to why the United States ranks so high. Sheldon Danziger is quoted in the Huffington Post article as saying, "Basically other countries do more. They tend to have minimum wages that are higher than ours. The children would be covered universally by health insurance. Other countries provide more child care."

Child poverty in the developed world is more of an issue than many people realize, and the effects can be seen even more starkly when examining minority populations.

"Child poverty in the United States has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years, accelerated by the economic crisis that began in 2008. While recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics place the percentage of American children living in poverty at 21.6 percent, that figure soars to nearly one in three for Hispanic children and a staggering 38.2 percent for African-American children," according to a Yahoo News article by Brett Wilkins.

Poverty, particularly childhood poverty, is an issue that our country must recognize and face in order to continue on a path of improving the overall health of Americans.

Quoting a November 2011 Census Bureau report on child poverty Brett Wilkins writes, "Poverty is a critical indicator of the well-being of our nation's children," "Children who live in poverty, especially young children, are more likely than their peers to have cognitive and behavioral difficulties, to complete fewer years of education, and, as they grow up, to experience more years of unemployment."

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