U.S. Child Poverty Second Highest Among Developed Nations

The "relative child poverty" in USA is 23.1 percent,the second highest in 35 of the world's richest countries, Unicef reports.

The term "relative child poverty" refers to a child living in a household where the disposable income is less than half of the national median income.

There are a total of 30 million children in these 35 countries who live in poverty. Among those countries, the United States ranks above Latvia, Bulgaria, Spain, Greece, and 29 others. Only Romania ranks higher, with 25.5 percent of its children living in poverty.

Many critics argue that relative poverty isn't the same as real hardship, or absolute poverty. But the report says ooverty is "essentially a relative concept."

A child's well-being doesn't always correspond to the parents' income and the comparing the relative poverty rates of various countries doesn't make sense unless the countries have similar median incomes.

So the report stresses that the "relative poverty" is a measure of  "child deprivation." To measure this, researchers produced a list of 14 items found in most middle-class households and counted the number of children whose families couldn't afford them. The list included Internet connection, new clothes, three daily meals, two pairs of properly fitting shoes, and "the opportunity, from time to time, to invite friends home to play and eat."

Ten percent of children in France lack at least two of these things, compared with a little more that 5 percent in the United Kingdom and less than 1 percent in Iceland. Romania had nearly three-quarters of its children experiencing such deprivation. The U.S. didn't have enough data for a rating.


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