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Michigan's Poverty Rate Hits 14%


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well...you keep your subjects, scared, hungry and poor, and they'll do what you tell them. If you only knew how angry I am you wouldn't want to be around me and say something negative about this or anyone in the MM movement.





Mike Wilkinson and Catherine Jun / The Detroit News


Michigan's poverty rate last year reached a 16-year high as the full effects of the recession continued to sweep across the country, according to a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.


The state's poverty rate in 2009 rose to 14 percent, up from 13 percent in 2008. That's 1.4 million people in poverty. In 2000, the rate was 9.9 percent.




Data further showed the Midwest -- plagued by job losses in manufacturing -- was hit the hardest in median income, falling to its lowest point since 1994.


But the region didn't suffer alone. Nationally, the number of poor climbed to the highest level since the 1960s, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty, the report said.


James Taylor of Inkster has experienced this firsthand.


Three years ago, Taylor lost his job as a line worker when Lear Corp. closed its Detroit plant on Ryan. At the time, Taylor was building car seats for $23 an hour.


Now he earns an hourly wage of $8.75, loading baggage on the tarmac at the Wayne County Airport. The job is part-time.


With his Inkster home in foreclosure, the 47-year-old is planning to move out west to work for his brother's lawn service company.


"That's why I gotta go," he said. "I'm taking off to Arizona."


The Current Population Survey set the poverty threshold at just under $11,000 for an individual and slightly below $22,000 for a family of four. Food stamps, medical benefits and subsidized housing were not counted when calculating a person's income.


Advocates for the poor say the picture would have been bleaker had the federal government not issued jobless benefit extensions. The 2009 Recovery Act directed as much as $2.6 billion to Michigan's unemployed, according to the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


Judy Putnam of the Michigan League for Human Services, an advocacy group in Lansing, said the findings show families still need emergency federal help, namely more jobless benefits, additional cash assistance and an expanded after-school meal program that doesn't reduce food stamp dollars.


"Until our economy recovers and (while) we're without jobs, what do we expect people to do?" Putnam said.

Extending into suburbs


Since 2000, median income nationwide has fallen nearly 5 percent.


The Midwest, where manufacturing job losses were most pronounced, saw the largest year-to-year drop, with median income dropping to $48,877 from 2008 to 2009, a 2.1 percent decline. That's 11 percent below its level in 2000.


Violeta Rodriguez, 52, has not had steady work since February. In recent years, production was cut at the auto supply plant in Taylor where she worked. She's been laid off countless times, the most recent stretching for seven months.


She is staying afloat on her monthly $920 jobless check, $35 in food stamps and a rent subsidy on her Detroit apartment.


"Otherwise I wouldn't be able to manage at all," Rodriguez said.


The survey did not include poverty rates at the local or county level. But other measures show the rise in poverty has extended into Detroit's suburbs.


In Macomb County, an additional 9,200 public school students became eligible for free lunches in 2009, pushing the percentage eligible for free or reduced lunches up to nearly 38 percent, up from 30.8 percent the year before.


Oakland County also registered an increase: 6,500 were eligible for free lunches, or 27.7 percent, up from 24 percent.


"The effects of the economic downturn are creeping up the ladder," said Marc Craig, president of the Community Housing Network, a Troy-based nonprofit that helps Oakland and Macomb residents find affordable housing.


"We're getting people who a couple of years ago would never have been in danger of being without housing," Craig said, like professionals and people with college degrees.


And this year, that demand is not abating, he added.


The agency's housing resource hotline received 2,171 calls last month, up from 229 the same month in 2009.


"That's how dramatically the need has increased," Craig said.

Numbers alarming


The national poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent last year. That amounted to the largest year-over-year increase in three decades.


The Census Bureau says that about 43.6 million people were in poverty last year in the United States. That's up from 39.8 million in 2008.


Some experts had predicted a steeper increase. But many of the same experts concluded the numbers were still alarming.


"It's still disturbing," said Ron Haskins, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. "Poverty is up for almost every group except the elderly, and children's poverty is up the most," he said in a statement.


For children younger than 18, the poverty rate increased to 12.9 percent in 2009 from 19 percent in 2008. At the same time, the rate declined for adults 65 and older, to 8.9 percent in 2009 from 9.7 percent in 2008.


At a time when employer-sponsored health insurance plans continued to decline, the survey showed the number of people nationwide with health insurance decreased, to 253.6 million in 2009 from 255.1 million in 2008, the first decline since 1978 when the Census Bureau began keeping such records.


The state of Michigan, which has historically fared better than the national average, faltered. The survey found 14.4 percent in the state were without insurance in the years 2008 and 2009, compared with 12.5 percent in 2006 and 2007, Putnam concluded. The national uninsured rate was 18.1 percent.


"We're still better than average ... but we're really falling fast," Putnam said.


Despite the brutal recession, the national median household income recorded a small drop to $49,777 in 2009 from $50,112 in 2008. It fell for the second year in a row, but was substantially less than the decline from 2007 to 2008.


But for non-Hispanic whites and African-Americans, the declines in median income were statistically significant, from $52,113 to $51,861, or 1.6 percent for whites; and $34,088 to $32,584, or 4.4 percent for African-Americans.


mwilkinson@detnews.com (313) 222-2563



From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20109170407#ixzz0zoVsbsoD

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now - to the trend of poverty in michigan - add this:


In 2014 Michigan is expected to have the highest number of residents in the entire USA - who are disabled.

They cannot explain why michigan, but they can only point to statistics that say this is happening. Maybe its the factory jobs, maybe its the construction jobs, but there are going to be plenty of broken, hurting people in this state soon.


Whats the plan michigan? Sick patients with no meds, and jail - or a new economy to bail out the people of the state...


I pay taxes.




Reedit - use this for discussions about disability trends in your community:


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