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I recently read in the times that the second or third poorest census tract in the country is a housing project up in East Harlem. Average household income was, IIRC, c. $7,000 or $8,000.  Now that is very poor. It is also on the order of the average household income in a middle income country like Poland. As far as standard of living goes, a typical working poor American family with its c. 30,000 - $40,000 annual income lives at around the same level as a middle or even upper middle class one in Poland. And again Poland is not really what we think of when we say Third World.  The highlights you point out are indeed striking but they should not imply that, say, your average person down in Anacostia has a standard of living comparable to the average person in Kerala.  And health insurance rates for Hispanics are somewhat skewed by the large percentage of recent immigrants, particularly illegals who effectively can't get health insurance.  

The problem of poverty and lack of social mobility in the US is indeed horrific, but no need for skewed comparisons.

PS question for the Euros here - what happens to illegals under the various European universal insurance systems?

by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 8th, 2005 at 03:52:39 PM EST

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