U.S. slips on development index


Priorities of U.S. government show up
in life expectancy statistics; world’s richest
country ranks 12th overall in ‘development,’
and only 42nd in life expectancy; U.S. leads
developed countries in ‘children living in
poverty’; at least 20,000 U.S. infants die
needlessly annually


BBC News
July 17, 2008


Americans live shorter lives than citizens of almost every other developed nation, according to a report from several US charities.

The report found that the US ranked 42nd in the world for life expectancy despite spending more on health care per person than any other country.

Overall, the American Human Development Report ranked the world's richest country 12th for human development.

The study looked at US government data on health, education and income.

The report was funded by Oxfam America, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Conrad Hilton Foundation.

The report combines measurements of health, education and income into one measurement - the human development index - based on that used by the United Nations.

Health insurance

The report, Measure of America, identifies significant progress in the US in the last 50 years.

Life expectancy - which averages 78 - has risen eight years since 1960.

The percentage of adults with a high school diploma has more than doubled to 84%.

Some Americans are living anywhere from 30 to 50 years behind others when it comes to issues we all care about: health, education and standard of living
      --  Sarah Burd-Sharps, author of Measure of America

But the report identifies obesity and the lack of health insurance for some 47 million Americans as the most significant factors in premature death.

It also provides a snapshot of the inequalities between the richest and the poorest Americans and between different ethnic groups.

"The Measure of America reveals huge gaps among some groups in our country to access opportunity and reach their potential," said the report's author, Sarah Burd-Sharps.

"Some Americans are living anywhere from 30 to 50 years behind others when it comes to issues we all care about: health, education and standard of living.

"For example, the state human development index shows that people in last-ranked Mississippi are living 30 years behind those in first-ranked Connecticut."

Rich north-east

Asian males in the US were found to have the highest human development index score and were expected to live 14 years longer than African-American males, who had the lowest human development index rating.

African-Americans had a shorter lifespan than the average American did in the late 1970s.

The report further breaks down its findings into the US's 436 Congressional districts.

The 20th district, around Fresno, California, was ranked last - with people earning one-third as much as residents of the top-ranked US district,- in Manhattan, New York.

The US north-east has the highest overall ranking because people there earn more, are more highly-educated and have the second highest life expectancy.

West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama are four of the five bottom states on the index. Mississippi is ranked lowest.

Among other findings:

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/7511426.stm

Published: 2008/07/17 11:58:31 GMT

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