News Releases

Poverty stagnates in Michigan

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Policymakers have options to help one in every four kids growing up in poverty

LANSING, Mich. — Poverty remained high in Michigan last year, highlighting that many people have not yet recovered from the recession and underscoring the need for state policymakers to do more to help struggling people afford the basics such as decent housing, nutritious food, reliable child care and transportation. Increasing the state Earned Income Tax Credit and minimum wage will help.

One in six in Michigan lived in poverty in 2013, according to new Census Bureau data released today. That’s less than $24,000 a year for a family of four. The 2013 poverty rate remained essentially the same as the previous year at 17 percent.

Child poverty saw a slight decrease but remained unacceptably high. In 2013, it was 23.8 percent, down from 24.9 percent the previous year. (more…)

Census shows improvement in uninsured

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Census: Fewer in Michigan without health insurance in 2013
Big progress expected this year thanks to Medicaid expansion

LANSING, Mich. — The number of people without health care coverage in Michigan fell in 2013, according to Census Bureau data released today, and is expected to fall even further this year thanks in part to the state’s decision to extend affordable health insurance to those in Michigan with low incomes.

Today’s data release shows 1,072,000 Michiganians, or 11 percent, still did not have health insurance last year, though there was some progress between 2012 and 2013. (more…)

Dynamic duo: minimum wage and EITC

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

LANSING, Mich. — Raising the minimum wage and expanding state Earned Income Tax Credits are two key strategies to be used together to help working families as the economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession, a new national report concludes.

Michigan has taken steps in the right direction but has much room for improvement, said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

“Workers in Michigan continue to struggle with low wages that have declined over the years. Strengthening the state’s minimum wage and Earned Income Tax Credit even more would help those earning the least in our state, and it would boost our economy,’’ Jacobs said. (more…)

Labor Day Report

Contact: Judy Putnam or Yannet Lathrop at (517) 487-5436

Wages for Michigan men plummet, women’s wages stagnate

LANSING, Mich. – With the minimum wage set to increase Monday to $8.15 an hour, a new report highlights the need to increase low-wage salaries even more to close the gender wage gap and reverse wage losses in Michigan.

The Labor Day report, released by the Michigan League for Public Policy, finds that Michigan has the seventh-highest gender wage gap in the country, despite dramatic wage losses for men since 1979 and stagnating or modest increases for women. (more…)

Michigan’s big flaw in jobs strategy

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

LANSING, Mich. – As more than 750,000 Michigan public college students prepare to start a new school year, one group is finding it harder than ever to participate: Older adults.

Michigan offers no financial aid grants to attend a public university or community college for those who graduated from high school more than 10 years ago.

Two of Michigan’s three higher education grants are aimed at students who graduated a decade or less ago, according to a new policy brief from the Michigan League for Public Policy. And the third one can only be used at private institutions, which are generally more expensive. (more…)

Court ruling likely to have no impact

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5437

Ruling denying affordable healthcare in Mich. likely to have no impact

The following statement was released by the Michigan League for Public Policy in reaction to conflicting U.S. Court of Appeals rulings today on whether residents of Michigan and 35 other states with health insurance marketplaces run by the federal government should be denied Affordable Care Act premium subsidies to make mandated coverage affordable. Comments may be attributed to Policy Director Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

“Fortunately, the Fourth Circuit Court ruled that the premium subsidies should stand. We believe this ruling will eventually prevail and the 237,337 people in Michigan already enrolled and helped by the premium tax credits will not be impacted by the opposite ruling in Halbig v. Burwell. That case is expected to have no immediate impact on the ability of consumers in Michigan to maintain their premium tax credits to lower the cost of their health insurance plans purchased through the Marketplace.

“When the full D.C. Court of Appeals reviews the Halbig v. Burwell case, the League is confident the court will agree, just as the Fourth Circuit Court and other courts have ruled, that the clear intent of Congress was that all Marketplace enrollees receive the subsidies for which they qualify. “

Michigan ranks No. 32 for child well-being

Contact: Judy Putnam or Suban Nur Cooley at (517) 487-5436
25 years of KIDS COUNT show gains, losses for kids

Michigan’s No. 32 ranking calls for focus on education, poverty

LANSING, Mich. — In the 25 years since the launch of the first KIDS COUNT Data Book, fewer Michigan teens are having babies and fewer children and teens die each year. During the same period, however, the number of children living in poverty dramatically worsened and Michigan tumbled in education rankings.

The 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released today by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, marks a quarter-century of bringing attention to national and state-level data on the well-being of children. In this year’s report, Michigan is ranked No. 32, placing it behind 31 other states for overall child well-being, down one slot since last year. (more…)

Schools still have time to offer free meals

Contact: Justin Rumenapp ( at the Center for Civil Justice, (810) 244-8044
or Judy Putnam ( at the Michigan League for Public Policy, (517) 487-5436
Editors, please note infographic is available here:

Deadline looms for schools to boost nutrition

LANSING, Mich. – Schools serving a large number of children from low-income homes have until Aug. 31 to qualify to offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students regardless of family income.

Michigan has 822 schools in high-poverty areas identified for the Community Eligibility Provision where 40 percent or more of the student population qualifies for other assistance, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. The option not only reduces hunger and the stigma for students from low-income homes, it decreases paperwork usually needed to access free and reduced-price school meals. (more…)

Report: Giving babies the Right Start

Contact: Jane Zehnder-Merrell ( and Suban Nur Cooley ( at the Michigan League for Public Policy, (517) 487-5436

Right Start report highlights maternal/infant well-being in Michigan’s cities

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s cities have the most work to do in order to give infants a “Right Start” in life, a new report has shown, with maternal and infant well-being in 15 Michigan cities examined having worse outcomes on almost every measure compared with their out-county areas.

“For an infant born into disadvantaged communities, the inequities worsen as they grow – fewer state-supported early prevention and intervention programs are available,” says Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. (more…)

Statement: Wins for families in budget

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436 (office) or (517) 410-5798 (cell)

Statement: Important wins for families and kids in the state budget
The following statement was released by the Michigan League for Public Policy in reaction to the finalization of the state budget that begins Oct. 1. The statement may be attributed to President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature made important strides for low- and moderate-income families in the state budget finalized today.

“Among the positive steps is full funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, which has already helped more than 287,000 Michigan adults gain the coverage they need to stay healthy and on the job.

“The budget also expands the Healthy Kids Dental program to Kalamazoo and Macomb counties, and 16,000 new preschool slots will be created for low-income children across the state.

“These expansions would have been jeopardized by the passage of income tax rollbacks that were introduced this session. It’s to the Legislature’s and governor’s credit that rollbacks, which would threaten Michigan’s economic recovery, were not taken up.

“Among the missed opportunities in the budget were continuing the policies that restrict income and food assistance for families struggling to make ends meet.

“The Legislature also failed to expand the school clothing allowance for the state’s poorest children and did not restore funding for prevention programs despite increasing numbers of child abuse and neglect victims.”

For more information see the Budget Briefs page.

The Michigan League for Public Policy,, is a state-level policy institute dedicated to economic opportunity for all.


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