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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Child Poverty

I received an e-mail today that pointed out that the US ranks 18th on the UNICEF's Annual Report Card related to Child Poverty. 18th out of 192 UN countries places us in the top 10% which isn't tooooo bad I suppose. But here is a list of the countries above us and their average rank out of 6 indicators:

Netherlands 4.2
Sweden 5.0
Denmark 7.2
Finland 7.5
Spain 8.0
Switzerland 8.3
Norway 8.7
Italy 10.0
Ireland 10.2
Belgium 10.7
Germany 11.2
Canada 11.8
Greece 11.8
Poland 12.3
Czech Republic 12.5
France 13.0
Portugal 13.7
Austria 13.8
Hungary 14.5
United States 18.0
United Kingdom 18.2

Not everyone can be #1, but look at some of the countries ahead of US, like the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria...

You can access the full report here.

The e-mail also included information about Cost Effective Investments in Children, from the Brookings Institute.

Quoted from the website:

America's future economic well-being will benefit from targeted investments to ensure that children have the skills to become tomorrow's adult workers, caregivers, taxpayers, and citizens. Target areas for a package of proposals totaling about $25 billion annually and $133 billion over a five-year period are the following:
  • High-quality early childhood education programs for three- and four-year-old children ($94 billion over five years);
  • Nurse home-visiting programs to promote sound prenatal care and the healthy development of infants and toddlers ($14 billion over five years);
  • School reform with an emphasis on programs in high-poverty elementary schools that improve the acquisition of basic skills for all students ($17 billion over five years); and
  • Programs that reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy ($8 billion over five years).
If you look back at my post about the Costs of Childhood Poverty post on Feb 4, you'll see the cost of doing nothing is approximately $500 billion annually.

Think about that for a second... invest $25 billion or lose $500 billion... I'm not a financial guru, but that seems pretty easy math to me!

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