Like everyone else, we’re reading the news and trying to keep up with what’s happening. But along the way MWRO notices that a lot of statistics in Michigan are increasing.
Here are some examples:
- In October, the Michigan’s unemployment rate was 9.3%, the highest level since July 1992;
- 1 out of 5 Michigan residents live in or near poverty, including 500,000 children;
- 1 in 3 Detroit residents is poor making it the poorest large city in the nation;
- 47.8% of children live below the poverty line in Detroit;
- Between January-May 2008, DTE reported a 56% increase in shut-offs for non-payment;
- 77,900 jobs were cut in Michigan from September 2007-2008;
- In home foreclosures, Michigan ranked 7th nationally with 1 in every 396 homes receiving a foreclosure filing, in Detroit foreclosure filings were 1 in every 68 homes;
- The Michigan Dept of Corrections is the largest state program and accounts for 20% of the state’s budget [PDF];
- Michigan has the 11th highest incarceration rate in the U.S. (more than Canada and Mexico);
- 44% of Michigan adults read at a 4th grade level or below;
- 1 in 8 Michigan residents receive Food Stamps; and
- More than 1 in 10 Michigan residents will need emergency food assistance.
For some readers, these statistics may be shocking but for poor and low-income workers in Michigan they mean day-to-day life is difficult and miserable!
The $700 billion bailout for Wall Street banks is offering nothing to uplift this economy, nor does it appear that it will help protect any more automotive sector job losses. Moreover, the $47.1 billion from HUD to Detroit for lessening the impact of foreclosures on hard hit communities seems destined for the coffers of more unscrupulous banks and greedy developers.
The recession in Michigan has been going on much longer than in other parts of the country, at least since 2004. In Detroit, the impact has been felt the hardest by the city’s most vulnerable groups–children, seniors, single-mothers, ex-offenders, homeless, disabled, welfare recipients, immigrants, and those poorly educated.
It seems around every corner there is a new problem or a new vulture waiting to take what little you have left. Poor people are resilient…finding ways to make something out of nothing, and sharing what little they have with others in need. But low-income and poor families need to do more to make their voices heard! We are the majority–a majority who has a right to the same quality of life that is enjoyed by others across this state and country.
Now is the time to stand up and fight for the things we need to survive…to fight for our human rights!
(Image from Flickr Creative Commons)