In the context of human development, a government’s policies in the areas of health, education, and social support are a major source of influence on the well-being of its citizens. These policies guide how the government spends money on its people and which programs it chooses to fund. This entry focuses on the government of the United States at local, state, and federal levels and the major policies in these areas that interact with human development across the lifespan.

For many governments, poverty is one of the largest obstacles to an individual’s successful development. The effects of poverty can be far-reaching and can amplify each other. Poor-quality housing (that might be older and contaminated with lead or mold) can lead to health issues, and lack of ...

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