More About Our Work in the U.S.
The United States is home to highly diverse people, and while the country’s total population is large by global standards, its population density is relatively low. Yet, in spite of their different backgrounds, many Americans face challenges when it comes to the economy and access to resources. In recent years, job creation has improved and the unemployment rate has decreased from a high of 10 percent in October 2009. Long-term problems include stagnation of wages for lower-income families, and with that, high levels of poverty and income inequality, and diminished social mobility, lack of investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, energy shortages, and sizable budget deficits. Educational opportunities are also weighed against the poor and middle class, with 60 percent of disadvantaged children attending schools with low- quality resources. And despite health spending accounting for 18 percent of the country’s GDP in 2011, the country struggles to improve health outcomes. The obesity rates among adults and children have drastically increased over the last two decades. In 2011, 37 percent adults were considered obese, up from 15 percent in 1978. Similarly, in 2010, 18 percent of children were considered obese, up from 7 percent in 1980. Additionally, while the way we produce and consume energy is directly affecting our economy, the U.S. has seen improvements on climate issues – carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. have fallen nearly 12 percent over the past five years – yet, the country’s energy infrastructure remains vulnerable to increasingly severe and costly weather events driven by climate change. In 2012, the estimated damage caused by Hurricane Sandy was $50 billion, greater than any U.S. hurricane except Katrina, which in 2005 caused $108 billion in damage.
The Clinton Foundation operates programs in a number of these issue areas across the United States. The Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) works with members of the private and public sectors to promote economic recovery; in 2013 alone, CGI America participants made 74 commitments to action that will create more than 10,000 jobs – 1,500 of which will be green jobs – and impact over 2 million lives. By increasing access to healthy solutions for homes, schools, communities, and workplaces, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Clinton Health Matters Initiative implement holistic programs to drive systemic change. At the core, these programs are combatting the country’s childhood obesity epidemic, with 1 in 3 young people overweight or obese, and prevalence of preventable disease, such as type 2 diabetes. The Clinton Climate Initiative is working with partners across the country to make American infrastructure more energy-efficient (most notably, perhaps, through our building retrofit program). And, in response to Hurricane Sandy, the Clinton Foundation and CGI led a “Day of Action,” in which we enlisted volunteers to bring relief to New York City neighborhoods.