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New map aims to make Michigan poverty data more accessible

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There are a lot of facts and figures to consider when it comes to poverty and well-being in Michigan. A new map makes that data much easier to track down.

The online map was developed by the University of Michigan's Poverty Solutions initiative. It's meant to help policymakers, community organizations, and the public better understand poverty in their communities.

Users can see a set of statistics for any Michigan county or region -- including poverty rates, life expectancy and percentage of people on food assistance.

Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions, says looking across different metrics can help give a fuller perspective on what's going on in different parts of the state.

"Any one statistic really only shows a piece of the puzzle. By looking at a range of things, we learn more about the strengths and opportunities for improving the lives of Michigan residents," Shaefer says.

Data in the map comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, the United Way, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's County Health Rankings, among others. 

Poverty Solutions says it has compiled more than 50 additional poverty indicators. It plans to use that data to create other maps with categories like housing, health and children's issues.

Rebecca Kruth is the host of All Things Considered at Michigan Public. She also co-hosts Michigan Public's weekly language podcast That’s What They Say with English professor Anne Curzan.
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