In 2017 Wayne County had the highest percentage of children owed child support in Southeastern Michigan at 26.6 percent. What this means is that among children who should be receiving child support, there is a percentage in each county who are still owed something. The age of children looked at for this data was 0-19 years of age. Next to Wayne County, St. Clair County had the second highest percentage of children owed child support at 22.2 percent. Washtenaw County had the lowest percentage of children owed child support at 11.9 percent, and Livingston County was at 12.2 percent.
Just as Wayne County had the highest percentage of children
owed child support, it also had the highest percentage of children owed child
support who had not received any. According to the data, 33.2 percent of Wayne
County children who were owed child support in 2017 had not received any. And,
while Washtenaw County had the lowest percentage of children owed child support
regionally, it had the second highest percentage of children who had not
received any. In 2017, 19 percent of Washtenaw County children who were owed
child support did not receive any. Livingston County had the lowest percentage
of children who were owed child support but didn’t receive any at 7.3 percent.
The difference in the percentage of children owed child support and the
percentage who have received none could be dependent on several factors,
including the median income and employment rates of that area and the resources
a county dedicates to ensuring those who owe child support pay.
Child support plays a vital role in a child’s life by giving
him or her additional resources to have access to financial security. Child
support helps ensure a child has food, shelter and other daily necessities.
Each situation involving child support differs, but in general, if a parent
does not have full custody of a child he or she should anticipate paying at
least 25 percent of their income for child support.
Access to regular and nutritious meals is important,
particularly for children. Having access to breakfast and lunch allows students
to be able to focus better, have energy and to grow, both physically and
mentally. For this reason, we have adopted programs to deliver free and reduced
price lunches to children in difficult circumstances. The percentage of
children eligible for free or reduced lunches prices thus tracks poverty levels
in a school district or county, while at the same time representing an
investment in our children.
Those who are eligible for free or reduced lunch prices arechildren in households that receive benefits from the Food Assistance Program or Family Independence Program. For example, in 2018, a family of four that has an annual income of about $33,000 or less was eligible for free or reduced lunch prices. As the map below shows, Wayne County had the highest percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch in 2018, according to data from the 2019 Kids Count. In 2018 64.5 percent of school-aged children in Wayne County were eligible for free or reduced lunch prices. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 35.5 percent of children living in Wayne County in 2017 (the most recent data) were considered to be living below the poverty level. In 2017 a family of four was considered to be living below the poverty level if the annual household income was $24,600 or less. The county with the second highest percentage of school-aged children eligible for free or reduced lunch prices was Macomb County at 47.6 percent, and St. Clair County was slightly behind with 45.7 percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch prices. And, for additional insight, the percentage of children living below the poverty level in 2017 in Macomb County was 17.6 percent, and the percentage of children living below the poverty level in St. Clair County was 19.2 percent. Regionally, the county with the lowest percentage of children eligible for free or reduced lunch prices was Livingston County; 22 percent of students were eligible. The percentage of children living below the poverty level in Livingston County was 7 percent.
While we do know that the percentage of children eligible
for free or reduced lunch prices is a proxy measure for poverty, the
percentages for both data sets do not directly mimic one other. Additionally,
the income guidelines differ for the overall poverty level and eligibility for
free and reduced lunch. Overall though, we do see that areas with higher
poverty levels have a higher percentage of children eligible for free or
reduced lunch prices.
In our seven county region, Wayne County continues to be the
most populated county, yet since 2010 it has also lost the most residents,
according to new population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018
Wayne County had a population of about 1.75 million people, the Census
estimated. However, as the second map shows, this was a loss of about 67,000
people since 2010. This change in population resulted in a 3.6 percent decline
in Wayne County’s population. St. Clair and Monroe counties also experienced
population losses since 2010. According
to the data, St. Clair County experienced a 2.3 percent population loss since
2010 and Monroe County experienced a 1 percent population loss. In 2018 St.
Clair County had a population of about 159,000 and Monroe County had a
population of about 150,000.
While more rural counties like St. Clair and Monroe counties
experienced a population loss, Livingston and Washtenaw counties experienced
the most growth regionally. In 2018 Washtenaw County had a population of about
371,000, which was an 8 percent growth since 2010. This 8 percent growth meant
an additional 26,000 people moved to the county since 2010. In Livingston
County the population grew by about 6 percent since 2010. In 2018 the
Livingston County population was about 191,000, this is reflective of about a
10,000 person growth since 2010.
Macomb and Oakland counties also experienced population growth since 2010, by 4.7 and 4 percent, respectively. Oakland County is the only other county in the region with a population above 1 million (its population is about 1.3 million). Macomb County has a population of about 875,000.
At the state level, Michigan’s population has continued to
grow for seven years now, with its most recent population count being just
under 10 million people. One reason it is estimated the state is experiencing
growth is because more people are moving to Michigan, and fewer people are