On Martin Luther King Day 2018: Child poverty rates still rising in the USA and UK
Fifty years ago Martin Luther King argued that on poverty: “the programs of the past all have another common failing—they are indirect. Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.” He argued for a guaranteed citizen’s income to eradicate poverty.
On January 15th 2018 Jessica Johnson explained that in the USA today: “Our country’s child-poverty rate is 25 percent, the highest among developed nations.” She was writing in the year of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. On the same day Steven Thrasher explained that: ‘…modern day Republicans and Democrats often speak as if they love King, even as they excoriate the real heirs to his legacy: the Black Lives Matter activists and other social justice warriors who fight for racial and economic liberation. But the truth is, many of these American politicians would have hated King when he was alive as much as they hypocritically dishonour his radical legacy today.”
Martin Luther King day is the most popular optional national holiday in the USA today.
Child poverty in the USA has been rising, but child poverty in the UK is rising more quickly and is set to overtake the USA in just over two years time when more than a quarter of all British children will be living in poverty.
After housing costs are taken into account that proportion rises to nearer 30%. The graph below shows the trends and was made interactive by Benjamin Hennig:
The graph above shows how quickly the situation can change, for the better (a few years ago) as well as the worse (today). It is taken from the book “Do We Need Economic Inequality?”.
So much is possible in the next fifty years. Including the eradication of child poverty long before 2068. The rising number of children living in poverty today in the most unequal of affluent nations is the result of political choices. The proportion does not rise by accident.