2013-07-11 / News

Report: Michigan ranks last in child well-being category

LANSING – Rising child poverty pushed Michigan to last among the Great Lakes States in a new Kids Count report on child well-being, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Support for families must be addressed by state and federal policies. Those include poverty-fighting tax credits, health care for low-income adults, more education and job training for lowskilled workers and an increase in the minimum wage, the Michigan League for Public Policy said in helping release the report.

Michigan ranks 31st in overall child well-being, up one slot from last year’s report, but behind Minnesota (4), Wisconsin (12), Illinois (23) and Indiana (30). New Hampshire is in the number one, or best, slot while New Mexico is last.

“If we want our kids to succeed, we must address the rising poverty that plagues our state and strips away hope that all children have an opportunity to grow and prosper in Michigan,’’ said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Even after the Great Recession has receded, our families continue to struggle to find adequate work to support their children.”

The report ranks states in four domains, each with four indicators. Michigan ranks 36th in Economic Well-Being, 32nd in Education, 23rd in Health and 27th in Family and Community. All four indicators in Economic Well-Being domain worsened while the other domains showed mixed trends.

Among good news in the report is that Michigan ranked number four in providing health insurance for children through private insurance and the state Medicaid and MIChild programs. Only four percent of Michigan children are uninsured.

“This shows that where we have the political will, we can find a way to help our families stay healthy and productive. Michigan has done a great job of covering kids with health insurance as recognized by this report,’’ Jacobs said.

Michigan ranks in the bottom ten states (43) for children living in high-poverty neighborhoods. Roughly 350,000 Michigan kids (15 percent) are living in neighborhoods where more than 30 percent of residents subsist on income below poverty level.

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