United States: 42nd in Global Life Expectancy; 50 Year Life Expectancy Gap Between Asian-American Males and African-American Males

There is a great post on the Click Opera blog about the comparative standards of living, quality of life, socioeconomic health, wellbeing, and opportunities available to inhabitants of different developed countries. Looks like there’s a LOT of work to do in the U.S.

In a piece entitled US slips down development index, the BBC summarised the report: “Americans live shorter lives than citizens of almost every other developed nation… the US ranked 42nd in the world for life expectancy despite spending more on health care per person than any other country.” The US has a life expectancy of 78 (the same as Britain’s), but vast inequality between its richest and poorest groups. It has more children (15%) living in poverty than any other advanced nation, and the most people in prison. One in four Americans are now officially obese. They also underperform educationally: “25% of 15-year-old students performed at or below the lowest level in an international maths test — worse than Canada, France, Germany and Japan”.

The Independent UK: American inequality highlighted by 30-year gap in life expectancy

The United States of America is becoming less united by the day. A 30-year gap now exists in the average life expectancy between Mississippi, in the Deep South, and Connecticut, in prosperous New England. Huge disparities have also opened up in income, health and education depending on where people live in the US, according to a report published yesterday.

The American Human Development Index has applied to the US an aid agency approach to measuring well-being – more familiar to observers of the Third World – with shocking results. The US finds itself ranked 42nd in global life expectancy and 34th in survival of infants to age. Suicide and murder are among the top 15 causes of death and although the US is home to just 5 per cent of the global population it accounts for 24 per cent of the world’s prisoners.

Despite an almost cult-like devotion to the belief that unfettered free enterprise is the best way to lift Americans out of poverty, the report points to a rigged system that does little to lessen inequalities.

Asian-American males have the best quality of life and black Americans the lowest, with a staggering 50-year life expectancy gap between the two groups.

Using official government statistics, the study points out that because American schools are funded primarily from local property taxes, rich districts get the best state education. The US has no federally mandated sick pay, paternity leave or annual paid vacation.

“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,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps co-author of the report.

Although the US is one of the most powerful and rich nations in the world, the study concludes it is “woefully behind when it comes to providing opportunity and choices to all Americans to build a better life”.

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