According to the Kid’s Count 2013 data released Monday June 24, 2013, children in Michigan are still among the poorest in the nation. While touting improving economic conditions and economic recovery, Michigan improves only one ranking from 32 to 31 in the nation over the past year. With the economic conditions only now beginning to improve, many families have endured sustained economic turmoil including declining wages, unemployment and increased welfare restrictions.
Annually the Annie E. Casey foundation releases a nationwide report regarding the welfare of children by state. Measures included in the report include poverty rates, educational background of parents, prevalence of child abuse/neglect and select birth characteristics. This report gives a snapshot picture based on statistical data on how children fare in each area.
So how have our littlest Michiganders weathered the economic storms that rattled the state? Over the four categories, Michigan ranks in the lower half of the nation.
Ranked number 36, Economic Security measures the poverty rate for children, parental unemployment, dropout teens not employed and families with high housing costs. Overall a quarter of Michigan’s children live in poverty up from 19% in 2005.
In the area of Education, Michigan ranks 32 when it comes to children enrolled in preschool, reading/writing proficiency and high school dropout rates. Approximately 24% of high schoolers do not graduate on time, though this is improved from several years ago. The percentage of children enrolled in preschool is expected to increase in the next 3 years with the governor’s increase in funds to the Great Start Readiness Program.
A little higher than half of the nation, Michigan ranks 23rd in the area of Health. The health category included the rate of low birth weight babies, health care coverage for children, child deaths and alcohol and drug use in teens. there are bright spots for Michigan’s children since only 4% of Michigan children are not covered by health insurance and the rate of childhood deaths has decreased as well.
Community and family life in Michigan ranks 27th in the nation. More children are living in single parent households (35%) and more are living in high poverty areas. Less teens are having babies and less children have parents with low levels of education.
In the fall, Michigan League for Public Policy will release a Michigan Kid’s Count data-book which will create a snapshot of each county. Addition state profiles are also available through the Annie E. Casey Foundation.