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Report Finds More Michigan Kids in Poverty Now Than During Recession


Tuesday, July 21, 2015   

LANSING, Mich. – It's been six years since the official end of the Great Recession, but many Michigan families are still stranded in poverty, according to the latest data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The new Kids Count Data Book finds almost one in four Michigan children – 24 percent – now living in poverty, up from 19 percent in 2008.

Alicia Guevara Warren with the Michigan League for Public Policy says while many Americans assume the worst of the recession is over because unemployment is decreasing, one statistic doesn't tell the whole story.

"They're failing to see that many families are really struggling to make ends meet and care for their kids, and these negative economic trends directly affect children and their well-being," she says. "It affects how well they're prepared for school, how well they do in school, and long-term outcomes."

Guevara Warren says in order to turn the tide, the state must invest in two-generation strategies, which help low-income parents improve their lives, as well as conditions for their children. Michigan has dropped to 33rd in the nation for child well-being, according to the report.

The report also finds Michigan struggling with an increase in "deep pockets of concentrated poverty." Guevara Warren says those areas require a concerted focus, as well as strengthened state and federal policies like child care subsidies, the Earned Income Tax Credit and home visitation programs.

"We know children need to grow up in nurturing families that are surrounded by supportive communities in order to thrive," she says. "Ensuring we help families have safe neighborhoods, good schools, and support services will ensure that kids are doing better in the long term."

The report did find a few bright spots for Michigan, including a decline in child and teen death rates, teen substance use, children without health insurance and low birth weight babies.

The full report is available at the Annie E. Casey Foundation website.

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In the United States, home-care workers, mostly women and people of color, earn on average only $12 an hour. (Adobe Stock)

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