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Safety net for poor continues to erode

A recent study funded by the Economic Policy Institute suggests that low social expenditures will continue to erode the "safety net" for the poor living in the United States.

Among similarly developed countries, the United States stands out as the country with the highest poverty rate and one of the lowest levels of social expenditures, according to EPI economist Elise Gould and researcher Hilary Wething.

"The relatively low social expenditures in the United States partially explains the high poverty rate," said Gould. "When it comes to alleviating the effects of poverty, the U.S. could learn from its peers."

Despite the relatively high earnings at the top of the U.S. income scale, researchers found that low-earning U.S. workers are actually worse off than low-earning workers in all but seven peer countries.

More than one in five children in the United States lived in poverty (as measured by the share of children living in households with equivalent income below half of national median household income). This level is over two times higher than the peer-country average of 9.8 percent.

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