Thursday, July 26, 2007

Child Poverty Increases in Michigan

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 18th Annual Kids Count Data Book earlier this week. Michigan's child poverty rate has increased dramatically. Booth News reported that "Michigan's troubled economy contributed to a 36 percent jump in the number of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2005, as an additional 116,000 children slipped below the poverty line." The national rate of increase for the same period was 12%.

Now 19% of children in Michigan live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. (The data do not account for "people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 18 such as foster children). According to the Kids Count report, 19% is the current national rate.

This is bad news for children and families in Michigan. It's symptomatic of our ongoing economic trauma--unprecedented manufacturing job loss over the last decade.

As bad as things are here, they could be worse. New Hampshire, Nebraska, Maine and Colorado all saw steeper increases in child poverty.

Curiously, the states with the highest child poverty rates are all "red" states that swung for Bush/Cheney in 2004. Here are the top 10: Alabama 25%, Arkansas 25%, Kentucky 22%, Louisiana 28%, Mississippi 31%, New Mexico 26%, Oklahoma 23%, South Carolina 23%, Texas 25%, West Virginia 26%.