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US Ranks Near Bottom in Helping Poorer Nations

FILE - Families live in concrete pipes used as makeshift dwellings along a street in Manila, March 22, 2016.
FILE - Families live in concrete pipes used as makeshift dwellings along a street in Manila, March 22, 2016.

The United States placed near last among the world's wealthiest nations in an index ranking how their policies help improve the lives of people in poorer nations, a report showed on Wednesday.

The superpower ranked 23rd out of 27 countries in the yearly Commitment to Development Index but would have fared worse with data recent enough to capture U.S. President Donald Trump's policymaking, its authors said.

The Center for Global Development (CGD) compiled thousands of data points dating up to 2016, when Trump's predecessor Barack Obama was still in office.

The CGD said it looks at each nation's performance in areas of aid, trade, finance, migration, environment, technology and security to measure how policies of wealthy countries help or hurt the world's poorest people.

Denmark ranked at the top, in part due to effectiveness of its aid and its significant contribution to international peacekeeping efforts, the CGD said. It was followed by Sweden and Finland.

Dropping three places from the last ranking, the United States lags poorer Central European nations Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. It scored poorly on policies impacting aid, finance and the environment, the CGD said.

The country has consistently scored low marks over the last five years "despite some promising movements" in the Obama administration on the environment, said Ian Mitchell, a spokesman for the CGD, a Washington think-tank.

But a number of new policies under the Trump administration could further erode the country's ability to bring prosperity and security to poorer countries and sink its ranking in the index, he said.

These include Trump's push for cuts in the U.S. foreign aid budget, policies hostile toward migrants and refugees and the president's decision to withdraw the nation from a 2015 landmark deal agreed upon in Paris to curb global warming.

"If President Trump follows through on his plans on ... migration and withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, that will further diminish the U.S.'s performance in international development," said Mitchell.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris deal is expected to take at least three years.

Ranking at the bottom of the report was South Korea, below Japan, Greece and Switzerland.

South Korea scored poorly for its policies on the environment and security in the index, which began in 2003.

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