Left Behind – Rural Michigan's Dilemma

In rural areas across the state, residents endure higher poverty, serious health and social ills, and little hope for the future.

Full Coverage

Living poor, in a county of wealth

Aug 5, 2014 | Pat Shellenbarger

Being poor is tough anywhere. But wanting for basics in Livingston County, the state’s most affluent, carries a different kind of sting.

Down and out in Lake County

Aug 5, 2014 | Pat Shellenbarger

Lake County competes for the unwanted title of Michigan’s poorest county. Like many rural areas across the state, Lake residents endure higher poverty, serious health and social ills, and little hope for the future.

A day on the streets with a young panhandler

Aug 7, 2014 | Ted Roelofs

The story behind one man's sign.

Free speech goes begging in Grand Rapids

Aug 7, 2014 | Ted Roelofs

Across Michigan, communities are trying to craft restrictions on panhandling that don’t run afoul of First Amendment protections.

A charter school for the rural poor closes

Aug 12, 2014 | Pat Shellenbarger

Is it better to keep low-income students together despite poor test scores? Or do they benefit from learning alongside middle-class children?

Along Michigan’s back roads, thousands of homeless children

Aug 12, 2014 | Pat Shellenbarger

Brenda Greenhoe scours abandoned garages and backwoods lots in rural counties, bringing adrift children to school.

Up North, isolation impedes health care for seniors

Mar 12, 2015 | Nancy Derringer

In far-flung rural Michigan, hardly anything is close by. It can be a problem for those in need of medical attention.

A graying population poses challenges for Up North counties

Mar 12, 2015 | Nancy Derringer

High up on Michigan’s Mitten, arthritis is creeping into the fingertips. Michigan leads the nation with the most counties with a median age over 50.