Australia ireland canada spain italy us children in

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Australia Ireland Canada Spain Italy U.S. % Children in Poverty 2012 2008 99–2001 Sources: Author’s tabulations from Luxembourg Income Study files from 1999−2005. Adapted from J. Bradshaw, Y. Chzhen, C. de Neubourg, G. Main, B. Martorano, and I. Menchini, (2012), for 2008. Adapted from OECD Family Data Base, (2016a), for 2012. Poverty is measured at 50% of median income. Copyright ©2018 by SAGE Publications, Inc. This work may not be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without express written permission of the publisher. Draft Proof - Do not copy, post, or distribute
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324 PART FOUR: Children, Social Problems, and the Future of Childhood We must also remember that although most of the countries studied pro- vide paid maternal or family leave, some form of government-supported child care, and early education programs, the United States either provides no such services or has very limited programs, such as Head Start. Therefore, the economic challenges that poor families and their children face are much greater in the United States than in any other country in the industrialized world. Overall, these data indicate a much greater level of commitment in other countries of the industrialized world to the well-being of all children, as compared to the United States. In fact, in a recent comparative study of children’s well-being in rich countries, the United States fared poorly (UNICEF Office of Research, 2013). The study ranked countries on five dimensions (material well- being, health and safety, education, behavior and risks, housing and environment). The United States ranked 26th of the 29 countries on the average rank of all five dimensions and 26th on material well- being, 25th on health and safety, 27th on education, 23rd on behavior and risks, and 28th on housing and environment. The countries ranked at the top on nearly all the dimensions were the Netherlands and most of the Scandinavian countries. One has to look hard to find any posi- tive findings in the report for American children and youth; but they did score well on some measures of behavior and risk, ranking near the very top in terms of lowest percentage of reported cigarette smoking and alcohol use (but near the bottom for reported use of cannabis). We see a similar pattern with children in the United States reporting high rates of exercise and eating fruit, but the American children were dead last of the 29 countries in obesity as measured by BMI (body mass index). Overall, the report while measuring other things regarding well-being beyond poverty, clearly indicates poverty is the most essen- tial factor. The Human Face of Poverty: The Story of Nicholas Given growing concern about the budget deficit, opposition to higher taxes, skepticism about welfare policy, and the political power of the elderly, it is unlikely that the United States will face up to its growing problem of child poverty anytime soon. Some things can be done right away, however, and we will consider several important first steps in the next chapter. For now, we close this section with an inspiring case study of an inner-city
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