40 percent of households struggle in Michigan, study shows

By CHAO YAN

Capital News Service

LANSING — While state officials celebrate the plunge of Michigan’s unemployment rate from its 14.9 percent peak in 2009 to around 5 percent today, more than a million families are missing the party.

Some 40 percent of Michigan households, or 1.53 million, are considered as either living in poverty or among the state’s working poor, according to a new report from the Michigan Association of United Ways.

That group includes both the 15 percent of households living beneath the federal poverty level and the 25 percent of struggling households that earn too much to meet poverty standards but not enough to afford basic household needs.

The United Way, a nongovernmental health and human services provider, reached these conclusions after studying income and employment in the state from 2007 to 2015. Continue reading

Poverty challenges Michigan schools

By ZHAO PENG

Capital News Service

LANSING— Numerous studies show that poverty and income are the two best predictors of a student’s success in school. This has been proven in Michigan recently, according to education experts.

The average scores of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) are low, with 12 percent proficient in science at the bottom and 50 percent proficient in English at the top, according to the Education Department. Meanwhile, 16 percent of Michigan children live in school districts with concentrated poverty, one of the largest percentages among the states, according to a Kids Count in Michigan report by the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Gretchen Dziadosz, executive director of the Michigan Education Association (MEA), the state’s largest teacher and school personnel union, said the increase in poor students and poor school districts hurts students’ academic performance. She attributed that increase to the fact that Michigan hasn’t fully recovered from the recession.
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Detroit’s comeback might leave some residents behind

By CHEYNA ROTH
Capital News Service

LANSING – Persistent poverty and a focus on commercial developments in Detroit are raising concerns that efforts to revitalize the city are ignoring its low-income population.

“We don’t talk enough about how Detroiters who grew up in the city and are now in their 20s and 30s are concerned they won’t be able to participate in the revival of the city that made them,” said Aaron Foley, a Detroit writer whose book, “How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass,” published by Rust Belt Chic, is due out this fall.

Detroit’s economic and cultural health are tied directly to Michigan’s overall fortunes. Gov. Rick Snyder has said a strong Detroit is central to revitalizing the state. Millions of dollars have been invested in moving the city through bankruptcy and rebuilding parts of the city, such as refurbishing the David Whitney Building into luxury apartments and office space.
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