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Percentage of Michigan children living in poverty greater than in 1990, according to report

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A new report says the number of Michigan children living in poverty is growing.

Officials with the Michigan League for Public Policy say a larger percentage of children are living in poverty now than in 1990.

The findings were part of an annual report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation looking at childhood well-being.

Alicia Guevara Warren is with the League. She said the report shows one in five Michigan children are living in poverty. Those numbers represent an 11% rate increase when compared with 1990, the year the Annie E. Casey Foundation started doing its annual reports.

“Which is a real disappointment to us when we think about how much of an impact poverty can have on child development and those outcomes overtime,” Guevara Warren said.

According to Guevara Warren there is a clear link between poverty and negative impacts on educational outcomes.

“We are ranked 36th in the country when it comes to 4th grade reading. We have a large number of kids who are still not able to read proficiently.”

Roughly 70% of Michigan fourth graders are not reading at proficient levels, according to the report.

Guevara Warren said the data show chronic economic and educational disparity falls along racial lines.

“Racial and ethnic disparities continue to persist and we really need to think about how we are providing an equitable path to opportunity for all of our kids.”

Guevara Warren said the report could also have implications under a new state law which will hold back 3rd grade students who don’t have proficient reading levels.

That law takes effect this fall.