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'Kids Count' report ranks counties by children's well-being

April 30, 2019
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A report ranking each Michigan county by the well-being of children has been released.

The Michigan League of Public Policy, or MLPP, released is annual “Kids Count” report last week.

The report ranks 82 counties according to 16 key indicators in four categories: economic security; health and safety; family and community; and education.

Ottawa County has the highest ranking — third — in West Michigan. Kent County’s ranking is 19.

The report shows that confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect are up 29.5% since 2012.

It also shows that despite a 20.6% drop in the state’s child poverty rate, roughly 20% of children are still living in poverty.

“The ‘Kids Count’ data book has been working to draw attention to pervasive child poverty for years, as one in five kids is still unacceptable, and it’s even higher for kids of color,” said Alicia Guevara Warren, project director, Kids Count in Michigan.

“Plus, the alarming increase in child abuse and neglect, which is impacting our youngest children the most, underscores the urgency of the issues facing our kids.”

MLPP used the report data to inform several policy recommendations, including raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old, strengthening policies that support work and expanding home visitation programs to help provide additional support to families.

West Michigan rankings

12: Barry County
17: Allegan County
19: Kent County
25. Ionia County
35: Mason County
40. Mecosta County
44. Kalamazoo County
47. Newaygo County
51. Cass County
52. Branch County
53. Montcalm County
55. Van Buren County
57: Osceola County
60. St. Joseph County
61. Berrien County
71. Oceana County
77. Calhoun County
78. Muskegon County
82: Lake County

Top five counties  

1: Livingston County
2: Clinton County
3: Ottawa County
4: Oakland County
5: Washtenaw County

Bottom five counties

78: Muskegon County
79: Schoolcraft County
80: Alcona County
81: Luce County
82: Lake County

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