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Grand Rapids Statistics

Children are on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Unlike adults, they have no means of improving their lives when their parents cannot or will not care for them.

Children in Kent County bear the brunt of every social and economic crisis that touches our state.

  • Poverty in Grand Rapids grew from 15.8% in 2000 to 24.7% in 2008, the steepest rise in the nation. This means more children are suffering from malnutrition, poor health, and neglect.
  • More than 9,000 cases of child abuse or neglect are reported in Kent County annually. Confirmed cases of child abuse in Kent County increased 98% from 2000-2008.
  • 75% of abused children come from homes where substance abuse is a contributing factor.
  • 65% of children who are removed from their home never return.
  • The number of single parent families continues to grow. 76% of families living in poverty are headed by a single parent. Their children often receive less attention and have fewer adult role models than children in two-parent households.
  • More than 8,300 children in Kent County have at least one incarcerated parent. 66% of children in youth detention facilities have parents who are incarcerated.
  • Our emergency shelter at the St. John’s campus provides a refuge for 450 children each year who have been removed from their homes for their own safety.

Every child deserves a safe place to live surrounded by adults who love them. In a loving home, children grow up to be the kind-hearted, generous and giving young people who reach out to help as they have been helped.