Thursday, February 15, 2007

Study: U.S. not best for kids

The LA Times reports:
UNITED NATIONS - The United States and the United Kingdom ranked as the worst places to be a child among 21 wealthy nations, according to a report by UNICEF released Wednesday. The Netherlands was the best, it said, followed by Sweden and Denmark.

UNICEF's Innocenti Research Centre in Italy ranked the countries in material well-being, health, education, relationships, behaviors and risks, and young people's sense of happiness. ...

The United States has the highest proportion of children living in single-family homes, which the study defined as an indicator for increased risk of poverty and poor health, though it ``may seem unfair and insensitive,'' it said. The United States was close to the bottom of the scale for children who eat and talk frequently with their families. ...

The authors acknowledge the study is ``a work in progress in need of improved definitions and better data.''
Who else but a UN committee could decide that the USA is terrible for kids because they live in nice homes and have rich lives outside the home as well? You just cannot believe these studies until you read the fine print on what was really being studied.

The NY Times recently had to admit that a similar story was bogus. The story was headlined, 51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse By Sam Roberts, and was widely copied. Now a NY Times editor says:
The opening paragraph of the article sounded like grown-up stuff: "For what experts say is probably the first time, more American women are living without a husband than with one, according to a New York Times analysis of census results."

It was a statistic that put the story on a fast track to the front page, providing a noteworthy benchmark for a well-established trend. But the new majority materialized only because The Times chose to use survey data that counted, as spouseless women, teenagers 15 through 17 ? almost 90 percent of whom were living with their parents.

Major newspapers and broadcast and cable news programs picked up on this tipping point, spotted by Sam Roberts, a veteran Times reporter who writes frequently about census data.
Oops, of course it should not have counted 15-year-old girls. I am not even sure about 24-year-old women who just finish 6 years of college and move back in with their parents.

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