Saturday, July 19, 2008

Inequality in America Continues to Grow

The US is experiencing a growing level of inequality, which is being reflected in terms of differing life expectancy, education and health standards. According to a recent report:
  • US finds itself ranked 42nd in global life expectancy (despite having the richest economy and spending $5.2bn (£2.6bn) a day on health care - more than any other country in the world)
  • The average life expectancy between Mississippi, in the Deep South, and Connecticut, in prosperous New England differs by 30 years.
  • The average life expectancy between Asian-American and black Americans (who have the lowest), differs by 50-years.
  • The US accounts for 5% of the global population, but houses 24% of the global prison population.
Causes of relative poverty in the UK include some of these reasons However, the inequality in America seems to be more deep seated. It has more sporadic public health care and welfare benefits than Western Europe.
The report raises many interesting questions:
  • Why is inequality in the US so large?
  • What can be done about it?
  • What is the use in having the highest GDP per capita, if life expectancy is poor and inequality large?

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