More than 16% of Michigan’s school-aged children live in poverty, according to recently released census data.
The The data comes from the USA Census office Regional Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program, which produces single-year poverty estimates for all states, counties, and school districts. The most recent data available to the SAIPE program on child poverty is from 2019 and covers children aged 5 to 17.
The statewide child poverty rate improved from 2018 to 2019, from 17.9% of state children to 16.3%.
“Over the past decade or so, child poverty has steadily improved, but the data we have… Now that we’ve been in the pandemic for so long, we’ve probably seen peaks and valleys.” said Alex Rossman, spokesperson for the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP).
The economic impact of the pandemic has hit low-income children and families the hardest, Rossman said, resulting in higher child poverty rates.
There has been some support from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which President Joe Biden signed in March, which allocated money to schools, food aid programs and increased credit to children’s tax.
“All of these policies have had a significant benefit, especially for families who were struggling to cope,” Rossman said. “So many of these policies were designed with the families who were particularly affected first. I think there has been a positive impact there, and we would like to see it continue. “
The county with the highest child poverty rate in the state is Lake County in northern Michigan at 33.6%. Other counties with more than a quarter of children living in poverty are Saginaw, Wayne, Arenac, Roscommon, Oscoda and Clare counties.
“In the general context of the discussion, child poverty is going down, but we would still say it’s higher than it should be,” Rossman said. “A third of the children in some rural counties is really, really bad – really to have a county or a community with such high child poverty.”
The study also looked at child poverty rates in different Michigan school districts.
The 10 districts in Michigan with the highest child poverty rates are Saginaw City School District (49.8%), Hamtramck Public Schools (49%), River Rouge School District (46%), Highland Park City Schools (43%), Detroit Public Schools Community District (41.1%), Bridgeport-Spaulding District Community School (40.5%), Benton Harbor Area Schools (40.2%), Baldwin Community Schools (40.1%), Whitefish Township Community Schools (39.2 %) and Elm River Township School District (38.9%).
Michigan has the 20th highest child poverty rate in the country, behind Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alabama, Washington, DC, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, New York, Florida, Ohio and Nevada.
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