MLive, census data and the politics of class

“… it is worth noting that the only person cited in the MLive articles on income and the most recent census data, is an economist for the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. The economist had this to say, “It’s been a hard slog, but the good news is that things are continuing to look better,” This statement doesn’t really tell us anything and we should also just ask ourselves the question, “things are continuing to look better for whom?””

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

Back on September 14, MLive ran a story entitled, “Michigan’s median income is up and poverty is down, new census data shows.” 

The headline is based on a comparison between the 2014-2015 data and the 2015-2016 data, which you can search by county, with the help of the cloud database embedded in the article.

However, the MLive headline is problematic on many levels. First, while poverty is only slightly down from the previous, it is still affecting 15% of the total Michigan population and in communities of color, those numbers are between 20 – 30% for Black, Latino and Native communities.

Second, the media household income is not a great way to make determinations about economics. For instance, there are a growing number of very wealthy people living in Kent County. The number of millionaires in Kent County increased from 407 in 2010, to 600 in 2014

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