October 31, 2014

Report shows 18 percent of Arenac County kids living in poverty

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LANSING — The latest Kids Count in Michigan report released by the Michigan League of Human Services (MLHS) on Jan. 13 revealed that 18.3 percent of children ages 0-17 living in Arenac County were living in poverty in 2005, which the MLHS defines as a total household income of no more than $21,000 per a household of four – worse than all but 12 Michigan counties.

The report says that in 2005, 904 children, or 26.3 percent, were living below the poverty line, a 4.9 percent increase from the year 2000, when 806 children, or 21.4 percent were living in poverty. The Michigan average for 2005 was 18.3 percent.

Poverty statistics for 2006-08 weren’t included in the Kids Count report, but due to the economic decline that has occurred in the past three years, the numbers may be higher than what is actually available in the report.

“Michigan’s continuing economic problems, with rising unemployment, declining wages and growing poverty, call for a stronger safety net to help families through these difficult time,” said Sharon Parks, MLHS president and CEO. “Tragically, recessionary revenues combined with tax cuts throughout the 1990s means we don’t have the money to provide the help that is needed.”

Although Arenac County ranks relatively low, it is performing better in the area of child poverty than some of its neighbors per 2005. The report shows Alcona and Iosco County each ranked 72 out of 83 counties (27.2 percent), Ogemaw County ranked 76 (27.6 percent) and Gladwin’s poverty rate was especially poor, ranking 82 out 83 (29.6 percent), 10.3 percent higher than the state average.

Other economic issues brought to light in the report show that Arenac County ranks 72nd in the number of children receiving free or reduced priced school lunched, with 51.8 percent of children in Arenac County needing the assistance in 2007-08. The state average in 37.4 percent.

However, the county is doing fairly well in the area of economic support per 2007 numbers, ranking below the state average in children receiving subsidized child care (5.3 percent; state 5.9 percent), Family Independence Program assistance (4.5 percent; state 5.5 percent).

The county did rank above the state average in the percentage of children owed child support (20.5 percent, .6 percent higher than the state average), but fared much better than average in the amount of children receiving none of the child support owed to them (18.6 percent; state average 25.5 percent).

For more statistics, including figures on child health and safety, and census information, visit www.milhs.org and follow the links to the Kids Count 2007 report.

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