The 2017 Kids Count in Michigan data is in, and unfortunately for our marvelous mitten, it isn’t looking good. Kids Count Data Center, the nation’s premier source for data on child and family well-being in the U.S., gathers data from all across the country. Using this, they work to present an accurate picture of the health and well being of children in every state. Unfortunately, if the numbers are true, then Michigan is still struggling.
While there have definitely been improvements in several areas since 2008, Michigan consistently ranks in the bottom half of states in Kids Count rankings. Additionally, many kids face significant challenges, based on their race or ethnicity, their parent’s income, and where they live.
According to the most recent data, more than 1 in 5 Michigan children lived in poverty in 2015. This is a 15 percent increase since 2008, which was the last full year of what is now called the ‘Great Recession’. All in all, 72 Michigan counties saw child poverty increases, and 58 saw an increase in confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect.
According to the Michigan League For Public Policy, the key findings named in the Michigan report are:
- Working a full-time, minimum wage job leaves a parent with a family of three $1,657 below poverty each year;
- Nearly 20 percent of mothers report smoking during pregnancy, with higher rates in rural communities;
- 31 percent of mothers did not receive adequate prenatal care throughout their pregnancy;
- Rate of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect rose by 30 percent from 2008; over 80 percent of incidents were due to neglect;
- About 10 percent of children in Michigan are impacted by parental incarceration;
- On average, monthly child care consumed 38 percent of 2016 minimum wage earnings; and
- Nearly 17 percent of Michigan children live in high-poverty neighborhoods—but the rate is 55 percent for African-American kids and 29 percent for Latino children
Although the numbers differ from county to county, there isn’t a single county in the state that isn’t affected. The top ten counties in Michigan are Ottawa, Clinton, Oakland, Livingston, Washtenaw, Midland, Grand Traverse, Barry, Emmet/Lapeer and Marquette. Sadly, the lowest of the 82 counties tracked by the report include Muskegon,
The data is compiled by analyzing sixteen very specific indicators, including economic security, health and safety, family and community, and education. Because poverty is considered to be one of the greatest factors in determining what advantages a child has when they are growing up and what kind of life they are likely to have when they reach adulthood, it’s a cause for great concern. The fact that most counties in Michigan are showing increased child poverty rates is very disturbing.
However, Kids Count does more than just point out the troubled areas. It also provides suggestions for what could be worked on in order to address those issues. In this case, some of the suggestions made were for increased access to affordable, quality child care; supporting programs that increase access to fresh foods; and creating safe neighborhoods with clean air and water.
As experienced Michigan family law attorneys, we understand how hard it can be to raise a child properly, when your life circumstances are far from ideal. As parents, we know the challenges that moms and dads face nowadays in raising happy, healthy children. So for those of you whose life circumstances have resulted in unfortunate claims of abuse or neglect, we are here to help. Call us today at 866 766-5245.