Comparison of the United States and China in the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals

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The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) refer to an eight-point road map that was formalized in the Millennium Declaration by 189 member states of the United Nations. The targets made during this summit are time-bound and provide benchmarks for addressing social issues such as poverty, education, gender equality, environmental sustainability, and global partnership aimed towards development. The achievement of the MDGs through sustainable growth of sectors such as health, environmental sustainability, and education among others has proven to be a challenge for both developed and developing nations (Yasuoka, Saito, Saw, Sunguya, Amiya, & Jimba, 2014). This paper seeks to compare and contrast the levels of achievement of the 8 MDGs between the United States of America and China. All in all, China has made more progress towards the achievement of the MDGs while compared to the United States.

Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

            The objective of this goal was to reduce the population of people living below the poverty line and those suffering from chronic malnourishment by half from 1990-2015. Agriculture in the United States has been greatly overfunded over the years thus making it hard to make better investments to end the food crisis. For instance, during the presidency of Barrack Obama, 25% of Food for Peace initiative, the USAID program responsible for sending good overseas, was proposed to Congress for local procurement within developing nations. However, the Farm Bill only allows the purchase of $60 million of food for four years. Such political roadblocks have made the United States of America Unsuccessful in achieving the goal of poverty and hunger eradication.

            China, on the other hand, has made significant strides in the achievement of the first MDG. Notably, the Chinese government set two poverty lines; one is the per capital annual income of 625 yuan for extremely poor people while the other is per capital annual income of 865 yuan for low income persons (Yasuoka et. al, 2014). Since 2001-2006, the government of China has allocated an amount of 70.9 billion yuan for the eradication of poverty. By 1990, China had 85 million absolutely poor people but this number has reduced to 26.63 million. Evidently, China has achieved the first MDG.

Achieve Universal Primary Education

            The main aim of this goal is to ensure that all girls and boys have access to education and compete a full course of primary education. In the United States, Congress politics have not allowed for the attainment of this objective. For instance, funding for primary education was only increased to $694 million in 2008 from $103 million in 2001 (Bourguignon, Bénassy-Quéré, Dercon, Estache, Gunning, Kanbur, & Spadaro, 2010).Furthermore, it is important to note that about 50% percent of the basic education resources in the United States are allocated to only four nations in South Asia and the Middle East while only 25% is allocated to Sub-Saharan Africa that has more than half of all children in the world who do not have access to primary education (Bourguignon et. al, 2010). This clearly shows that the United States has not been able to contribute well to the achievement of universal primary education.

            The Chinese government has invested more than 20 billion yuan within 2 periods of compulsory education programs in the areas that are mostly affected by poverty. In 2004, China also launched two programs for elimination of illiteracy among middle aged people and a plan for the popularization of nine-year compulsory education (Yasuoka et. al, 2014). Indeed, China has achieved this goal beforehand.

Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

            The primary objective of this goal was to eliminate any gender disparities in education by 2005 and at all levels including agriculture and parliament by 2015. When Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, women’s empowerment and gender equality was at the core of the foreign policy in the United States (Bourguignon et. al, 2010). The first Ambassador for Global Women Issues was established within the State department. All in all, the United States has made significant strides towards the achievement of gender equality.

            In China, the labor law guarantees equal employment opportunities for men and women. With regards to women’s health, the government has made efforts to sensitize women regarding the protection of their reproduction health. Additionally, men have been encouraged to play a role in the improvement of their wives health conditions. China has achieved the goal of achieving gender equality.

Reduce Child Mortality

            The government of the United States has committed itself to investments in health systems aimed at improving the provision of healthcare to women and children as part of the Global Health initiative. Furthermore, there have been funding for family planning as well as maternal and child health up to the tune of half a million dollars since 2010. Nonetheless, the $90 million set aside for The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization is not enough based on the demand for these services (Chibba, 2011). Consequently, it can be asserted that the United States has partially achieved the objective of reducing child mortality rates.

            The attainment of this goal in China is under smooth progress in China. Notably, the government put in place a 10-year plan for the reduction of the number of households that cannot afford hospital services. Additionally, special funds are allocated for the vaccination of children as well as maternal health protection.

Improve Maternal Health

            The aim of this goals was to reduce the maternal mortality rate by three quarters from 1990-2015. The United States has played a significant role in the achievement of this MDG. In 2011, for instance, child survival and maternal health were allocated $549 billion dollars, which was more than the amount requested in the budget by president Obama. The government has provided consistent funding for the improvement of maternal health, thus marking the achievement of this goal.

            China launched the Mother Safety Plan in 2001. Both the central and local governments allocated financial resources for the reduction of maternal mortality rates. Remarkably, maternal deaths were significantly reduced from 2001-2004. The plan has been extended to other counties in China. The introduction of the project of Reducing the Maternal mortality rate and Elminating the Rate of the Newly-born Tetanus, also known as the R&E project has further helped in the elimination of maternal deaths (Chibba, 2011). China has made significant strides towards the achievement of this goals.

Combat HIV/ AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases

            Fighting HIV/AIDS has been part of the United States Global Health Initiative. The government has consistently provided funds for dealing with deadly diseases such as malaria. In China, the government has increased the funding for investments in HIV prevention. Notably, scientific research has also been enhanced and the country has engaged in active international cooperation. China needs to put more efforts to completely achieve this goal.

Ensure Environmental Sustainability

            The United States has not achieved the goals of ensuring environmental stability. Nonetheless, there are efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, in 2009, Obama pledged to remain committed towards cutting emissions by 17% in 2020. However, stps by the current president Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord reveal that the country is not quite committed towards the achievement of this MDG. China, on the other hand, has reversed its trend of environmental degradation. Compared to the United States China has made rapid progress towards the achievement of this goal.

Development of a Global Partnership for Development

            With regards to volume, the United States is the leading donor for resources associated with development aid. The official development aid is regarded as a percentage of the gross national income in a country. It is recommended that developed countries give 0.7% contribution to aid development in other countries. However, the United States only offers 0.19% despite it being the leading donor (Bourguignon et. al, 2010). While China has benefited from development aids, it has also helped other countries especially in Africa to develop. China has continually become an important donor and has attached a lot of important to global development.


            Summing up, both China and the United States of America have made significant progress towards the attainment of the 8 MDGs. There is the need for each country to strive towards the total achievement of these objectives. All in all, China has made more progress while compared to the United States of America.


Bourguignon, F., Bénassy-Quéré, A., Dercon, S., Estache, A., Gunning, J. W., Kanbur, R., & Spadaro, A. (2010). The Millennium development goals: an assessment. Equity and growth in a globalizing world, 17.

Chibba, M. (2011). The Millennium Development Goals: key current issues and challenges. Development Policy Review, 29(1), 75-90.

Yasuoka, J., Saito, J., Saw, Y. M., Sunguya, B. F., Amiya, R. M., & Jimba, M. (2014). Achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Routledge Handbook of Global Public Health in Asia.

October 13, 2023

Corporations Politics Asia

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