6 Ways America is Like a Third World Country
In a column for the Huffington Post, writer Sean McElwee argues that despite our wealth as a society, there are six key factors that are “the most egregious examples that show how far we still have to go.”
McElwee lists six ways in which the United States stats are similar to those of third world nations.
The first one that he cites is the US criminal justice system which imprisons 716 people per 100,000 citizens, far worse than any other country outside of North Korea. In Iran, that number is only 284 per 100,000. He also notes that the US is the only developed nation that still has the death penalty.
McElwee goes on to cite gun violence as another indicator. He notes that the US doesn’t just lead the developed world in gun-related murders, UN studies show that the rate is actually 20 times higher than the average rate found in the developed world. Even Iraq, yes, the one with the war, has a gun-related death rate that is half of the US. He also points out that cities like Detroit and New Orleans have gun violence rates as bad as the most violent Latin American countries.
His third example is America’s health care system. He notes that parts of the Deep South have life expectancy rates lower than countries like Bangladesh, Nicaragua, and Algeria. He also cites that the US is the only developed nation that does not guarantee health care for all.
He moves on to education, noting that studies have shown that schools are more racially segregated today than they were in the 70s. He also points out that students in OECD countries are provided an average of 70 percent of their college tuition from public funds while US students get just 40 percent of their college tuition from public funds.
Inequality is his fifth example and McElwee notes that the US has the highest income inequality among OECD nations by “almost every measure.”
He finishes with some stats on America’s crumbling infrastructure, noting that the US infrastructure system needs $3.6 trillion over the next six years. He notes that 45 percent of Americans don’t have access to public transportation and one in nine US bridges are considered “structurally deficient.” That’s 66,405 bridges, give or take a bridge.