Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Many children left behind in U.S.

Although the United States is a very high-income country, its record on the well-being of children lags behind that of many countries that are less rich, according to the OECD’s first-ever report on child well-being within OECD-member territory.

Here are some of the details that “Doing Better for Children” contains on how the U.S. record on children ranks among the 30 OECD countries:

-- fifth worst in child mortality.
-- seventh worst in average educational achievement of 15-year-old children.
-- sixth worst in rates of low birth weight.
-- twenty-ninth lowest in the rate of births for girls aged 15-19.
Total U.S. public spending on child welfare and education in 2003 was $140,000 per child 17 years old and younger, compared to the OECD average of about $125,000

The United States should spend more on giving better starts in life on younger, disadvantaged children, the report recommends.

Last year the OECD issued a report on income distribution and poverty in its 30 member countries. It rated the United States as the country with the highest inequality level and poverty rate, Mexico and Turkey excepted. U.S. income inequality was found to be to rising even more after 2000, thanks partly to a decrease in government spending on unemployment compensation and other social benefits.

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