Huff Po asks if America’s poor really are “the envy of the world,” cites new NPC paper

August 9, 2016

Jonathan Cohn, senior national correspondent for the Huffington Post, explores how America’s poor measure up by international standards in, “Yet another conservative argument about poverty appears to be wrong.”

The piece explores whether America’s poor really are, as some conservatives have opined, 'pretty well off by international standards' by looking at results of a study conducted by Luke Shaefer (Michigan), Kathryn Edin, and Pinghui Wu and published in a new National Poverty Center (NPC) working paper. 

The NPC working paper, “Can poverty in America be compared to conditions in the world’s poorest countries,” assesses life expectancy, infant mortality, homicide, and incarceration among low-income Americans and low-income citizens of other countries.

“In America’s poorest counties, life expectancy turns out to be roughly the same as it is in Bahrain, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates,” writes Cohn.  “Among non-Latino black Americans, infant mortality rates are only slightly better than in Grenada, and worse than in Sri Lanka.”

For more, read Cohn's August 6 article and the full NPC working paper.  

The National Poverty Center (NPC) is a university-based, nonpartisan research center dedicated to informing public discourse on the causes and consequences of poverty. H. Luke Shaefer is an associate professor of social work and public policy. His research focuses on the effectiveness of the United States social safety net in serving low-wage workers and economically disadvantaged families.