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For Richer, For Poorer: Michigan Households Experience Growing Income Gap

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There’s a steadily growing gap between the incomes of Michigan’s wealthiest and poorest families.  That’s the finding of a new report analyzing national income trends.

The report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that from the late 1970’s through the mid-2000’s, the top 20 percent of Michigan’s most affluent households saw their incomes grow while the poorest families lost income.  Just over the last decade, the bottom fifth of households lost more than 10 percent of their annual income. 

Spokeswoman Judy Putnam with the Michigan League for Public Policy says much of the gap is due to sustained periods of unemployment.

“We still have a lot of people who are unemployed in Michigan, and they have a long period of searching before they find jobs," Putnam says.

To stabilize the income gap, the league supports restoring state unemployment benefits period to 26 weeks and reinstating Michigan’s earned income tax credit to 20 percent of the federal credit.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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