Out of 105 of the largest cities in the U.S., zero are on track to meet the 2030 sustainable development goals established by the United Nations, according to a recent report. U.S. cities are also trailing behind their European Union counterparts – in some cases by a serious margin.
U.S. cities are less than half way toward meeting the U.N.’s goals, averaging 48.9%, according to the report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network USA, a U.N. network devoted to the international organization’s sustainable development goals.
In 2015, all 193 U.N. member countries adopted the organization’s sustainable development goals, which serve as “a blueprint for long-term planning towards social, economic, and environmental well-being,” according to the report. The 17 goals, to be achieved by 2030, focus on improving the environment, health, sustainability, equality and prosperity.
While even the top scoring EU cities are struggling to meet their goals, they still outperform the U.S. in most categories. The average infant mortality rate is 6.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in the U.S., two times higher than the EU average of 2.93. And the average gender wage gap between men and women’s earning is 27.3% in the U.S., more than three times that of the EU.
But despite outpacing the U.S. in a number of areas, EU cities are also falling short of meeting their targets. Cities on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean struggle notably with goals 12 and 13, “responsible consumption and production” and “climate action.”
No U.S. city scored exceptionally well, but some have far less progress to make than others. The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area in California scored the highest, at 69.7%, meaning it is almost 70% of the way toward meeting the goals. It performed highly in terms of working toward no poverty; good health and well-being; decent work and economic growth; and industry, innovation and infrastructure.
Other areas that scored well include the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area in California; the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia; and Washington‘s Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area.
The lowest of the low scorers was Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is 30.3% of the way to meeting the goals. The city, where 26% of people live in poverty, scored “poor” or “poor to moderate” in every category. Other areas with low scores include Jackson, Mississippi; the Memphis metro area in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas; and the Winston-Salem metro area in North Carolina.