North America

14 August 1995


(After Children Now posted its Welfare Action Alert last week, it received several requests for more information about the Luxembourg Income Study. Below is an abstract of a New York Times report on the Luxembourg Study produced by Handsnet.)

The New York Times reports that a new study by the Luxembourg Income Study, a nonprofit group based in Walferdange, Luxembourg, shows that poor children in the United States are poorer than the children in most other Western industrialized nations.

The United States has the second highest level of economic output per person of the countries examined and has the most prosperous affluent children of any of the 18 nations. According to the study, only poor children in Israel and Ireland are worse off than poor American youths.

Timothy M. Smeeding, one of the study's authors said the American lead in overall prosperity has dwindled since the 1960s, income inequality has risen briskly in the United States and child poverty spread in the 1970s and 1980s, although it may have leveled off in the early part of this decade.

Some conservative economists question the validity of studies that attempt to compare levels of income and distribution of wealth among nations with different economic systems and societies. However, there is general acceptance of the idea that the United States has proportionately more of its children in poverty than other affluent countries.

Smeeding said there appeared to be several reasons why the United States had such extreme poverty among children.



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