Kids Count study looks at children of the recessionPublished 8:41pm Wednesday, August 17, 2011
High unemployment is hurting the economic security of children in Michigan with one in every eight children living in a household struggling with job loss and one in every 20 kids affected by foreclosure, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count Data Book released Wednesday.
The report ranks Michigan 30th among the states (with No. 1 being the best) for overall child well-being, the same as last year. The ranking slipped from two years ago when Michigan was 27th.
Between 2000 and 2009 an additional 75,000 children in the state fell below poverty level (roughly $22,000 for a two-parent family of four in 2009) as the state child poverty rate escalated by 64 percent—one of the largest increases in the nation. Michigan’s child poverty rate stands at 23 percent, up from 14 percent at the start of the decade.
The Data Book looks at 10 key areas of child well-being across states. Parental unemployment and foreclosure data were also included in this year’s report, which focuses on the recession.
“While there are bright spots in the report, it does show with startling clarity how deeply the recession has affected families across Michigan,’’ said Jane Zehnder- Merrell, director of the Kids Count in Michigan project at the Michigan League for Human Services. “Unemployment and foreclosures are adult issues but ones that dramatically affect kids, too. These economic stressors place children at much higher risk of worsening health and education outcomes.”
Michigan’s best ranking is No. 13 for teen births, with 33 births for every 1,000 teens ages 15-19. That compares with a national average of 41 births per 1,000 teens. It also ranked No. 15 for child death rate and No. 19 for teen death rate with big improvements in those areas since 2000.
Michigan’s worst ranking was No. 47 for secure parental employment. More than one-third (36 percent) of all Michigan children under age 18 were living in a household where no parent had full-time, year-round employment in 2009. That compares with 31 percent of children nationally.
The report also found that 12 percent or 281,000 children in Michigan had at least one unemployed parent in 2010 compared with 11 percent nationally. And 5 percent of Michigan kids were affected by foreclosures since 2007, compared with 4 percent nationally.
Another troubling ranking is No. 40 for infant mortality. Nearly eight of every 1,000 Michigan babies do not live to their first birthdays, compared with just under seven of every 1,000 nationally. Michigan also ranked poorly (No. 37) for the percent of low birthweight babies — with 8.6 percent of infants born too small, under 5.5 pounds, compared with 8.2 percent nationally.