Children benefit from greater affluence

On the whole, American children are benefiting from having wealthier parents than they had in the past, according to a report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. And they are flourishing in other ways too.

  • Three times as many children enjoyed "very high" family incomes – more than $102,000 (R840,000) per annum for a family of four – in 1999 as compared to 1980.

  • A record 86 percent of children were covered by health insurance in 1999 – and the adolescent death rate dropped to an all-time low, at 71 per 100,000 in 1998.

  • The teenage birth rate hit an all-time low in 1999 – at 29 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17.

  • However, 88 percent of teenage births in 1999 were to unmarried girls – up from 62 percent in 1980.

    Source: Jennifer Piccolo, Children Benefit from Good Economy, Washington Times, July 19, 2001; based on American's Children: Key National Indicators of Child Well-Being, 2001, July 2001, Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

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    RSA Note:
    The figures quoted in the above report confirm that governments wishing to maximise conditions for young people need to maintain a governance framework in which parents can improve their real incomes. According to empirical evidence it is economic freedom that allows economies to grow rapidly. The United States is rated 5th on the world economic freedom index and has been one of the freest economies for a long time. It is therefore no surprise that American children enjoy better conditions than most other children in the world.

    Eustace Davie, Director, Free Market, Foundation.

    FMF\24 July 2001
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