Michigan: The Rich Get Richer, with Help from a “Gini” in the Bottle

EXPLAINED: Today’s U.S. Census Report on Income, Poverty, and the Gini Index for Michigan

The latest income and poverty figures were released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, and it’s a mixed bag for Michigan. Just like Gov. Snyder said in his “road to recovery” TV spot, while some are already feeling a new sense of prosperity — for others though…meh, not so much. Although, he did attempt to assuage those struggling Michiganders with a conciliatory¬†“you might not feel it yet, but you will soon.”

Thanks Rick, but let’s just stick to the numbers.

Census figures indeed show a slight uptick in the median income for the state from $47,447 in 2012 to $48,273 in 2013, yet Michigan is still lagging behind the national average of $52,250. Year-after-year, the Great Lakes state has consistently been losing ground — after a high of $54,500 in 2006. Bear in mind that these amounts are not indexed to the consumer price index, meaning — it’s worse than the raw numbers indicate.

Not surprisingly, the largest strides were in the already affluent neighborhoods of Oakland County, with West Bloomfield spiking at an 18 percent gain. Ann Arbor similarly fared well with a 16 percent boost in household income. Flint, also moved the needle 16 points, but in the wrong direction — they now earn $23,100. Compared to West Bloomfield at $97,000 — that’s less than 25 cents on the dollar.

The census poverty numbers didn’t budge much for Michigan. In 2012, there where 1,685,178 living in poverty, and that number decreased by only 0.4 percent — to 17 percent. Childhood poverty changed marginally also, going down from 25Jeanie to 23.8 percent.

Another indicator of note is the Gini index. Pronounced¬†jee-nee, it’s a measure of income inequality based on an equation developed by an Italian statistician named Corrado Gini. While the calculations are painfully complex, all we need to know is the meaning of the end result.

The U.S. Census Bureau explains it thusly:

Gini definedMichigan’s Gini rose slightly from 2012 to 2013, from 0.462 to 0.464 — a small increase, and well within the margin of error for the census sampling, yet worth noting in the face of the governor’s rosy forecast. Michigan was not among the 15 states that saw statistically meaningful increases in income disparity. The national average leaped from 0.476 to 0.481 — a jump the Census Bureau termed “significantly higher.”

It’s all part of a world-wide trend, with a few “socialist” leaning countries bucking the norm:

Gini world

Also trending: Democracy Tree has developed a sudden craving for baguettes, and fine French wine. Norway, Canada and Italy are looking particularly fetching too.

DSCN0444Amy Kerr Hardin


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