Child Poverty in US Higher Than OECD Countries

Child Poverty in US Higher Than OECD CountriesChild Poverty in US Higher Than OECD Countries

America has a greater share of poor kids than other similarly rich countries, says a new report.

Growing up poor has wide-ranging negative effects. Depending on where they live, America’s poor children are less likely to have access to good public schools and earn higher wages later in life. In children, poverty is also linked to slower brain development (which further worsens academic performance) and health problems such as asthma and obesity.

America has a larger share of kids who have to deal with these negative consequences than most other countries with similar resources, according to a new report released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, reports an article in

A total of 21% of US kids live in poor households (defined as having an income of less than half of the country’s median income). America’s share of poor children is much higher than the average (14%) of all OECD member nations and well above other advanced countries like Canada (15%), Great Britain (10%), and Australia (13%).

It’s not surprising, then, that the US also scores low compared with other OECD member nations when it comes to children’s health and education.

A part of the problem is that the US just doesn’t spend enough money trying to reduce child poverty. The US spends less than 1% of its GDP on pulling poor kids out of poverty—chump change compared to what other developed countries are spending.

Today, from the 318 million US population the number of children (under age 18) is at an all-time high of 74.2 million, and 16 million live in poverty. America’s wealth grew by 60% in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children has also grown by 60%.

Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty.