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Poverty Levels in Michigan Remain High

The overall economic picture in Michigan (and across the country) is improving. Still, poverty rates, especially for children, remain high. In this context, energy policies that protect consumers from price volatility, promote fairness and accountability, and keep electricity affordable and reliable are more important than ever.

The latest nationwide statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that, in 2012, real median household income and the poverty rate were not statistically different from the previous year. The country’s poverty rate in 2012 was 15.0 percent, or 46.5 million people living at or below the poverty line. The family poverty rate last year was 11.8 percent, which amounted to 9.5 million families.

Poverty Rates in Michigan Higher than National Average

At 17.4 percent, the Census Bureau’s estimate of people in poverty in Michigan remains higher than the rest of the country. Michigan was also among the states with the largest declines in income from 2000 to 2012. In fact, a report released by the Michigan League for Public Policy on Labor Day concluded that the number of Michiganders earning poverty-level wages ($11.31 per hour, full-time) has increased from 25% to 28.5% over the past three decades.

Perhaps most troubling of all, Michigan’s overall child poverty rate in 2012 was 24.9 percent. Detroit’s rate stood at an alarming 59.4 percent. Click here to view a breakdown of Michigan’s largest cities.

Affordable and Reliable Energy for Michigan

Michigan’s hometown energy companies are committed to our families and communities in ways that no out-of-state companies can be. They are run by Michigan workers who share our concerns about our quality of life, and who understand that economic recovery for only some Michiganders is not true economic recovery.

Most local companies, including DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, provide programs to assist at-risk households in staying up to date on their energy bills. Additionally, the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has helped hundreds of thousands of Michigan families through the Department of Human Services. Earlier this year, Michigan’s legislature also created a Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF).

A Balanced Approach to Michigan’s Energy Policies

Common-sense policies can help create a brighter future by encouraging our local energy providers to make important investments, promote efficiency, and continue improving quality and service. AMP makes a difference for people in need by bringing Michiganders together to work and advocate for smart policies. You can help by signing our petition or encouraging others to get involved in AMP today.