UN Special Report: US “leads the world in income and wealth inequality”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty published a condemnation of the wealth gap in the United States, citing disparities between the U.S. and other developed nations.

The U.S. has the highest rate of income inequality of Western countries, according to the May 2018 report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Compared to other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. also has the highest rate of youth poverty, infant mortality, and incarceration.

The report states that the framing of the U.S. as “the land of opportunity” does not match the modern day reality in which the nation has the lowest rate of social mobility of any rich country. The special Rapporteur attributes these statistics to the policy stances of government bodies, writing that “the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”

The Foodbank recognizes the interlocking of hunger and poverty and aims to “shorten the line” by helping people rise above the circumstances that lead them to need food assistance. We offer aid to those applying to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other public assistance programs. The Foodbank also employs former inmate: one  third of our current employees were previously incarcerated.

The U.N. Report offers many suggestions to policymakers to address the income gap in the U.S. Key among them is recognizing the social and economic impact of inequality.

“The United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that, while human rights are a fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable health care or growing up in a context of total deprivation,” the report states.