There were about 578,424 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the US in January 2014, with almost two-thirds staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. In 2011, 16.7 million children lived in food-insecure households, about 35% more than 2007 levels, though only 1.1% of U.S. children, or 845,000, saw reduced food intake or disrupted eating patterns at some point during the year, and most cases were not chronic. As of June 2018, 40 million people, roughly 12.7% of the U.S. population, were living in poverty, with 18.5 million of those living in deep poverty (a family income below one-half of the poverty threshold) and over five million live "in 'Third World' conditions." In 2016, 13.3 million children were living in poverty, which made up 32.6% of the impoverished population. In 2017, the U.S. state or territory with the lowest poverty rate was New Hampshire (7.6%), and the one with the highest was American Samoa (65%).
Government policy designed to promote affordable housing, widespread failures in corporate and regulatory governance, and historically low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve led to the mid-2000s housing bubble, which culminated with the 2008 financial crisis, the nation's largest economic contraction since the Great Depression. Barack Obama, the first African-American and multiracial president, was elected in 2008 amid the crisis, and subsequently passed stimulus measures and the Dodd–Frank Act in an attempt to mitigate its negative effects and ensure there would not be a repeat of the crisis. In 2010, the Obama administration passed the Affordable Care Act, which made the most sweeping reforms to the nation's healthcare system in nearly five decades, including mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges.More Info
Accounting for 4.24% of the global population, Americans collectively possess 29.4% of the world's total wealth, and Americans make up roughly half of the world's population of millionaires. The Global Food Security Index ranked the U.S. number one for food affordability and overall food security in March 2013. Americans on average have more than twice as much living space per dwelling and per person as European Union residents, and more than every EU nation. For 2017 the United Nations Development Programme ranked the United States 13th among 189 countries in its Human Development Index and 25th among 151 countries in its inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI).More Info
About 82% of Americans live in urban areas (including suburbs); about half of those reside in cities with populations over 50,000. In 2008, 273 incorporated municipalities had populations over 100,000, nine cities had more than one million residents, and four cities had over two million (namely New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston). Estimates for the year 2018 show that 53 metropolitan areas have populations greater than one million. Many metros in the South, Southwest and West grew significantly between 2010 and 2018. The Dallas and Houston metros increased by more than a million people, while the Washington, D.C., Miami, Atlanta, and Phoenix metros all grew by more than 500,000 people.More Info
Wealth, like income and taxes, is highly concentrated; the richest 10% of the adult population possess 72% of the country's household wealth, while the bottom half claim only 2%. According to a September 2017 report by the Federal Reserve, the top 1% controlled 38.6% of the country's wealth in 2016. According to a 2018 study by the OECD, the United States has a larger percentage of low-income workers than almost any other developed nation. This is largely because at-risk workers get almost no government support and are further set back by a very weak collective bargaining system. The top one percent of income-earners accounted for 52 percent of the income gains from 2009 to 2015, where income is defined as market income excluding government transfers. In 2018, U.S. income inequality reached the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau.More Info
The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history which is in stark contrast to its Canadian neighbor. For elective offices at most levels, state-administered primary elections choose the major party nominees for subsequent general elections. Since the general election of 1856, the major parties have been the Democratic Party, founded in 1824, and the Republican Party, founded in 1854. Since the Civil War, only one third-party presidential candidate—former president Theodore Roosevelt, running as a Progressive in 1912—has won as much as 20% of the popular vote. The president and vice president are elected by the Electoral College.More Info
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