making kids count


In January, The Michigan League for Human Services and Michigan’s Children collaborative released the Kids Count in Michigan Data Book 2009. The document examines county-level trends in child well-being, with a focus on Place Matters— looking at trends in rural, mid-sized and urban counties.

According to Jane Zehnder-Merrell, senior research associate for the Michigan League for Human Services and director of the Kids Count in Michigan project, “The data certainly show a mix of trends both good and bad.”

Childhood poverty rose by 6 percent between 2005 and 2007, with nearly one in every five children in Michigan living in poverty. Confirmed victims of abuse or neglect jumped 16 percent between 2000 and 2008, with nearly 30,000 children abused or neglected in 2008.

However, there were some positive trends, including a drop in childhood deaths, teen deaths, infant mortality and births to teens. The largest improvements were in education. The share of
students not considered profi cient in math improved dramatically between 2003 and 2008 — 65 percent improvement for fourthgraders and 47 percent for eighth-grades. 

For more information or for a copy of The Data Book, visit