The book examines 15 indicators of child well-being to see how children are doing around the state. While there have been improvements in several areas since 2008/2009, Michigan has consistently ranked in the bottom half of states in the national KIDS COUNT rankings and there are significant disparities in outcomes by race, ethnicity, place and income.
Child poverty continues to be a major problem facing Michigan kids. More than 1 in 5 (22%) Michigan children lived in poverty in 2015, a 15% rate increase since 2008. Poverty rates are significantly worse for kids of color, with 47% of African-American kids and 30% of Latino kids living in poverty compared to 15% for White kids in 2015. Nearly 28% of children in rural counties live in poverty, 24% in midsize counties and 22% in urban counties, although poverty increased at the highest rate for urban areas.
Other key data findings:
- Rate of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect rose by 30% from 2008; over 80% of incidents were due to neglect;
- Working a full-time, minimum wage job leaves a parent with a family of three $1,657 below poverty each year;
- Nearly 20% of mothers report smoking during pregnancy, with higher rates in rural communities;
- 31% of mothers did not receive adequate prenatal care throughout their pregnancy;
- About 10% of children in Michigan are impacted by parental incarceration;
- On average, monthly child care consumed 38% of 2016 minimum wage earnings; and
- Nearly 17% of Michigan children live in high-poverty neighborhoods—but the rate is 55% for African-American kids and 29% for Latino children.
If Michigan is to progress and become a place where people want to work and raise families, then resources and strategies must be targeted to ensure that all children are able to thrive and reach their full potential regardless of race, ethnicity, family income or where they live.