Forgotten Children: Poverty in the United States
Although millions of children in developing nations
need help, there are many children and families living in poverty right here in
the United States. Despite being one of the world's wealthiest countries, income
disparity, lingering unemployment and a range of other challenges make life
increasingly difficult for many children. ChildFund is active
around the world, and we also work in the U.S. to provide a better quality of
life to children in some of the poorest communities the nation.
A Serious Problem
The United States is
considered a world leader in many areas. However, recent research suggests that
the problem of child poverty is one of the most urgent challenges facing the
nation. According to UNICEF's Report
Card 10 study, the U.S. ranked second-to-last in terms of relative child
poverty (living in a household that makes less than 50 percent of the national
median income), faring only slightly better than Romania. Additionally, the U.S.
has the worst poverty gap of any developed nation included in the study. The
poverty gap refers to the disparity between the country's official poverty line
and the median family income of individuals living below this line.
In its report, UNICEF
compiled data on children who are deprived of at least two of the 14 factors
deemed normal and essential for children living in economically developed
nations. Items in this list include three nutritious meals a day, some new
clothing, outdoor leisure equipment and age-appropriate books.
Experts believe that
much more can be done to fight child poverty in the U.S. and that both the
federal government and individual states must take greater action to address
this urgent problem.
"Among rich countries,
the U.S. is exceptional," Sheldon Danziger, director of the National Poverty
Center at the University of Michigan, told The
Huffington Post in 2012. "We are exceptional in our tolerance of poverty.
Basically, other countries do more. They tend to have minimum wages that are
higher than ours. The children would be covered universally by health insurance.
Other countries provide more child care."
Offering Hope to Children in Need
ChildFund has worked in
the United States since 1952 and remains committed to making a difference in
several regions. Although children of every ethnicity are subject to poverty,
Native American, African American and Hispanic children are at particular risk.
For this reason, ChildFund focuses its operations in the U.S. on communities in
Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas, as these states have
large minority populations.
Poverty is a complex
problem, and a one-size-fits-all approach may not always prove effective. As
such, ChildFund works closely with regional and community organizations in these
states to ensure that the most urgent needs of children are being met in each
area. As with our programs in developing nations, ChildFund places great
emphasis on early childhood development, particularly initiatives that help
children develop cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically. We also
encourage families to continue cultural traditions through arts and crafts and
Thanks to the generosity
and support of our donors, we have been able to make a difference and effect
real change in the lives of thousands of children, but there is still an urgent
need in many communities. To help ChildFund provide for vulnerable children in
the United States, please consider sponsoring
a child. For just $35 per month, you can ensure that children have
preventive health care, mentoring and educational opportunities that will enable
them to mature into healthy, happy and productive members of society.