The Progress of Nations: The Industrial World

Only Ireland and Israel have poorer children than US

In dollar terms, children living in the richest American families easily top the international league table. Only Canada and Switzerland come close. But when it comes to the poorest, the United States drops to 16th place. Only the children of Ireland and Israel are worse off.

"While the US has a higher real level of income than most of our comparison countries," say the authors of the Luxembourg Income Study report, "it is the high-income and middle-income children - especially the high-income children - who reap the benefits. The average low-income child in the other 17 countries is at least a third better off than the average low-income American child."

Gap between rich and poor children

The table shows the after-tax household income of a poor family of four with children and a rich family of four (including food stamps and earned income tax credit). Poor means poorer than 90% and richer than 10% of all households in the country. Rich means richer than 90% and poorer than 10% of households.

SOURCE Chart adapted from The New York Times 14 August 1995, citing Luxembourg Income Study data. All figures are in 1991 dollars, with other currencies converted using adjustments for national differences in purchasing power.

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