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Kids Count in Michigan Report says child poverty has increased

February 9, 2011

Yesterday, the Kids Count in Michigan Project released its annual report on the state of children in Michigan.

Some of the indicators were positive, such as a decline in dropout rates for teens across the state. However, there were numerous negative indicators that should cause concern for anyone who cares about the well being of children.

First, “many children, particularly in low-income families, face chronic challenges related to their oral health, mental health, and physical health, including obesity, asthma, and lead poisoning.” Asthma is one of the leading causes of children staying home from school and, according to the Kids Count in Michigan report, 1 out of every 10 students is affected.

However, maybe the most sobering data from the annual report was the substantial increases in the rate of abuse of children over the past decade and the number of children living in poverty.

According to the Kids Count in Michigan report the number of children in Michigan who suffered from abuse or neglect has risen 25% between 2000 and 2009. The report also stated that in 2009 alone, “roughly 30,800 children in Michigan were confirmed as victims of abuse or neglect.” One of the causes for the increase in abuse or neglect is the growing level of children living in poverty.

The Kids Count in Michigan report notes that child poverty grew in the last decade with 27% of young children living in poverty by 2009 and one fifth of all children. This level of childhood poverty led the report producers to state that this negatively impacts the educational climate and opportunities for Michigan’s children.

At the local level, particularly in Kent County, the data is quite sobering. The level of childhood neglect or abuse increased by 66% between 2000 and 2009, according to the Kids Count in Michigan report. On the matter of childhood poverty there has been a 12% increase for children between the ages of 1 – 17.

When you break down what this means along racial lines, there is also a disturbing trend. According to the Kids Count in Michigan report, while 1 in 5 children in Michigan live in poverty, the rate for African American children is 1 in every 2 are living in poverty and 1 in 3 for Hispanic children.

This data and the very harsh reality of what it means for so many of Michigan’s children and families is not the picture that was recently painted by the newly elected Governor Rick Snyder in his State of the State address or the State of the City speech by Grand Rapids Mayor Heartwell.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dorothy Cooks permalink
    April 30, 2012 5:46 pm

    Michigan and other states will continue to have issues that impact children and families in such negatives ways. we offer many suggestions as soultions for people in need, but we do not help those that can not help themselves or are lacking the means to do so. I live near a women’s and children shelter, as see everyday women and childre leaving the shelter before 9 in the morning, rain or shine these women and children must find somewhere to go , until 5 oclock PM. For the life of me , I can’t see why these programs can not have housing for such families. I know families this winter that went without heat and hot water in homes, because utilities were given up so families could eat and have gas for the family car.
    Yes this data is a harsh reality of what families are expereincing here in Michigan and other states as well. it is very disturbing for me, as a family Life education master graduate. who sees over and over the same soultions applied to problems of families as if all problems were arrived upon in the same manner. I wonder sometimes is there a total lack of sensativity or is it the mind of the politicial leaders to save money, and not save lives? We must do a better job of assisting, educating individuals on becoming the best parents they can be, but we have to put a safety net in place to caught familes and children who need more help than usual. we have long moved from a society where elders were around to help young mothers and fathers develop their roles as parents. We must also exapand programs that are working, revamp or abolish those that are not, and we must have training that teach parents to be the best advocate for themselves and their children.


  1. Kids Count in Michigan Report says child poverty has increased (via Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy) « The Wobbly Goblin

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