Fig. 8 Child poverty rates in the USA, according to racePoverty and racism are causes of poor health. In a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, researchers comparing the health impact of poverty, race, and single-parent households, found that in the US "poverty has the strongest effect on children's health." Poor children are 3.6 times more likely than more affluent children to be unhealthy.

Nevertheless, racism in the US contributes in a big way to poverty and poor health. Blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately poor, unemployed, underpaid, and lack adequate health care.Fig. 9  Child mortality rates of Blacks and Whites [NYT July 10, 1995]

  • 35% of Hispanics and 43 % of African-Americans live below the poverty line.
  • Infant mortality in White Americans is 8 per 1000; in African Americans it is 18 per 1000. And the racial disparity is growing.
  • African-American children born in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia are more likely to die before their first birthday than are children in Shanghai, Jamaica, Costa Rica or Chile. And life expectancy for men in Harlem, NY is lower than in Bangladesh.
  • Law enforcement is also racially biased. For similar crimes, African-Americans are more severely punished than Whites. The rate of teen-agers in jail is 44 times greater for Blacks than for Whites.
  • Over half of all young children with AIDS in the US are African-American.

Fig. 10   Survival of Men in Harlem, New York, and BangladeshAs the gap between rich and poor widens, social unrest, crime, and violence increase. And so do authoritarian measures of social control. Many US states have passed laws authorizing that for some crimes children as young as 12 or 14 years old be tried and sentenced as adults.



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