Moving in the wrong direction

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data confirms what we all suspected. While there have been improvements in the economy, it has not been enough to float all boats, and state poverty rates, especially for children, remain 25% to 30% above pre-recession levels.

Certainly there have been cuts in state and local services in Michigan that affected low-income families with children, thwarting their opportunities to share in the American dream by earning enough through hard work to move into the middle class. Deep cuts in basic income assistance have forced more children into extreme poverty, exposing them to homelessness and hunger, and creating barriers to academic success. A failure to invest in child care for low-income families has resulted in fewer parents having the care they need to secure and retain jobs that support their children. (more…)

Deep disparities persist in new budget year

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

LANSING, Mich. — The new budget year that begins Tuesday misses important opportunities to set the stage for a prosperous Michigan future.

A report from the Michigan League for Public Policy, The 2014 Budget: Gains for Some Children & Families but Deep Disparities Persist, details the decisions that worsen disparities for low-income families and communities of color.

“We all want Michigan to flourish and become a state brimming with opportunity,” said Michigan League for Public Policy President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs. “But we must be strategic with the decisions we make now to create that future by restoring funding for education and basic supports for families still struggling in this economy.” (more…)

Hunger and the food stamp challenge

September is Hunger Action Month, and like many people around the country, I took the food stamp challenge last week.

This challenge is meant to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by families who have fallen on hard times and have to rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program called SNAP – more commonly known as food stamps – to put food on the table. Last year, SNAP helped feed 1.8 million Michiganians. (more…)

Good news on health insurance costs

Michigan’s average cost for the gold, silver and bronze health insurance plans that will be sold in the Health Insurance Marketplace came in below the national average, according to a report released by the federal government today.

This is very good news for uninsured Michiganians, who will soon have the opportunity to shop for, compare, and enroll in quality healthcare coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace, set to open next Tuesday.

The report summarizes health plan choices and premiums expected to be available in the marketplaces for states that will have a fully federally run marketplace and for those that are partnering with the federal government. Michigan will have a federally operated marketplace and is expected to have an average of 43 plan options for purchasers to consider. (more…)

Sources

The Michigan League for Public Policy always uses the best, most recent data available. Most county-level estimates have a 12 – 24 month lag. Fact sheets will be updated with new data at the start of each year. All rates are annualized unless otherwise noted. All calculations done by Michigan League for Public Policy.

Poverty and Median Household Income: Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE), U.S. Census Bureau (2007-2011). One-year data reported is for 2011.

Uninsured: Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE), U.S. Census Bureau (2010).

Unemployment: Local Area Unemployment Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2007-2012)

Fair Market Rent: Out of Reach 2013, National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Earned Income Tax Credit: The Brookings Institution and the Internal Revenue Service (Tax Year 2010).

Free or Reduced School Lunch: Center for Educational Performance Information (School Year 2012-2013)

Government Assistance: Michigan Department of Human Services Trend Report, DHS Pub-64 (FY11-FY13) (types of assistance include FIP, FAP, SDA, CDC and Medicaid Eligible).

The Hill: Food aid cuts: Morally wrong, bad public policy

For decades, workers and struggling families have been given a raw deal. Union jobs lost to sweatshop factories overseas, a stagnant minimum wage and tax policies that help billionaires more than average Americans all contribute to growing inequality and poverty. Now conservatives in Congress want to make life even harder for people scrambling to make ends meet. September 20, 2013 — The Hill

Lansing State Journal: Census: Michigan households with retirement income rise

Nearly 1 in 4 Michigan households has retirement income, which experts say is likely linked to the state’s manufacturing history and aging population.

That puts Michigan among the top states in households with retirement income, according to new census data released today. In Michigan, 23.1 percent of households had retirement income in 2012, up from 21.7 percent in 2008. September 18, 2013 — Lansing State Journal

Michigan’s child poverty unacceptably high

Michigan’s child poverty rate now matches those of Florida and West Virginia, according to the latest data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. All the states with child poverty rates higher than that of Michigan are located in the South or Southwest where overall child well-being lags national averages.

Although Michigan’s child poverty rate didn’t continue its upward climb in 2012, it is stagnating at a relatively high level—affecting roughly one of every four children. More than half a million children in Michigan lived in a family with income below the federal poverty level ($23,300 for a family of four and $18,500 for a single parent with two children). Roughly half of these children live in families in extreme poverty—with annual income below $10,000. (more…)

Michigan child poverty way above pre-recession rate

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Census: Michigan’s poverty rate remains high, incomes stagnant
Hardship continues as Michigan fails to make investments that reduce poverty

About one in every four kids in Michigan lived in poverty in 2012 with the child poverty rate remaining nearly 30 percent higher than before the Great Recession, the latest U.S. Census Bureau data released today shows.

Michigan’s child poverty rate remained stubbornly high in 2012, at 24.5 percent, continuing the pain of the recession and underscoring the need for Michigan to do more to help struggling people and give them the tools to lift themselves out of poverty. Total poverty held at 17.4 percent while median annual income remained the same at just under $47,000.

(more…)

The Romeo Observer: More Michigan families enduring food insecurities

National data show more people are having problems feeding their families, though local families are starting to see a recovery from their food insecurity.

The latest information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows 200,000 Michigan households experienced food insecurity in 2012, while statewide reports indicate residents are having a harder time affording such necessities. Sept. 18, 2013 — The Romeo Observer

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