Economy might be getting better, but poverty rate is not

Mar 6, 2013

The slow pace of Michigan's economic recovery is leaving lots of people behind. New research looks into why the poverty rate in Michigan is not going down even though the economy  is beginning to pick up. 

Kristin Seefeldt is with the University of Michigan and authored the research. "Typically what happens in recessions, is that it takes a while for economic recovery to spread equally to everybody," she says. "You won't see the poverty rate start to decline until several years after a recovery has started." 

More than fifteen percent of people in the state are living in poverty. Seefeldt says a lot of the state's poverty is connected to unemployment and a lack of education. "We have a lot of high school graduates here. And the job opportunities for people with a high school degree or maybe just a little bit of college really aren't as good, and those jobs aren't as stable."   Seefeldt also says without a stronger economic recovery or policy changes, the state's poverty rate is likely to be stubbornly high for several more years.