Poverty rates are high in Michigan's rural counties

Aug 18, 2014

Credit Steven Depolo / Flickr

When we think about poverty, we tend to picture cities.

But a recent series in Bridge Magazine brought attention to poverty in rural communities in Michigan. The poverty rate in rural areas is higher than the rate in urban areas.

The articles were written by Pat Shellenbarger for Bridge Magazine.

Shellenbarger joins Stateside today, along with Jane Zehnder-Merrell, the Kids Count project director of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

“Of the 13 counties in Michigan with poverty rates above 20%, 11 of those are rural counties,” said Shellenbarger.

Shellenbarger wrote that poverty is not exclusive to poor rural counties, such as Lake County. Poor people live in wealthy rural counties as well, like Livingston, and the poverty rate for children has increased.

Zehnder-Merrell said even in wealthy counties with good education systems, children who live in poverty suffer. The children may come to school hungry or tired, and might be stressed because they are not sure how they will eat or where they will sleep.

Pat Shellenbarger’s series of reports on rural poverty in Michigan can be found at Bridge Magazine here.

*Listen to the full story with Pat Shellenbarger and Jane Zehnder-Merrell above.