KIDS COUNT: Poverty a reality for 1 in 5 Michigan children

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The annual “Kids Count in Michigan Data Book” study is out and the findings show increasing problems for children in the state.

The study, now in its 25th year, reveals that more than 1 in 5 Michigan children live in poverty in 2015.

That’s an increase of 15 percent since 2008.

There were 455,357 kids in poverty in 2008 compared with 481,421 in 2015. The numbers peaked in 2012 at nearly 550,000.

But the number, according to the study results, is worse for children of color.

47 percent of African-American kids and 30 percent of Latino kids live in poverty, compared to 15 percent of white children.

Where those kids live also has an impact on poverty.

Nearly 28 percent of children living in rural counties live in poverty, 24 percent in midsize counties and urban counties report 22 percent of kids deal with poverty.

Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy, says:

“No Michigan child should be experiencing poverty, hunger, abuse or neglect, regardless of where they are born and grow up, their race or ethnicity, or their family’s economic standing”

There are some other findings in the report.

  • Working a full-time, minimum wage job leaves a parent with a family of three $1,657 below poverty each year
  • 31 percent of mothers did not receive adequate prenatal care throughout their pregnancy
  • The rate of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect rose by 30 percent from 2008; over 80 percent of the incidents are due to neglect

The Michigan League for Public Policy is recommending that there be comprehensive strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect.

The group also is calling for access to affordable, quality child care. They recommend raising eligibility levels for state child care subsidies and making reforms in the current system.

Since 1992 the annual Kids Count in Michigan Data Book has been compiled. This year the book analyzes data from 2008 until 2015. 82 of the state’s 83 counties were examined; Keweenaw County does not have sufficient data to examine.

The top three counties for child well-being are Ottawa, Clinton and Oakland. The bottom three are Oceana, Iosco and Lake.

ONLINE: 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book

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