Editorial

Claims Of Rising Poverty Simply Aren't True

State Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, claimed in an April 17 op-ed published by the Traverse City Record-Eagle that more people in Michigan have fallen into poverty during the tenure of Gov. Rick Snyder.

Young wrote: “When Gov. Rick Snyder took office, his first mission was to remove the poor from his thoughts — and pray they never ask for help. He enacted a lifetime limit of 48 months for government cash assistance and immediately cut off benefits to families who had reached the cap. The results? They plummeted further into poverty.”

ForTheRecord says: Michigan’s poverty rate was 17.5 percent in 2011, the year Snyder, a Republican, first took office. The poverty rate was 13.2 percent in 2005, when Michigan was suffering a “one-state recession” due in part to the sharp decline of the Big 3 domestic automakers.

The poverty rate rose further during the nationwide Great Recession that was triggered by the implosion of the subprime mortgage market. It reached 16.8 percent in 2010, the last year of Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s eight years in office. In the second year of Snyder’s first term, the poverty rate dropped slightly from 17.5 percent to 17.4 percent in 2012.

Michigan’s poverty rate has slowly declined every year since 2012. The rate was 17.0 percent in 2013, 16.2 percent in 2014, 15.8 percent in 2015 and then 15.0 percent in 2016.

The poverty rate data come from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.