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Standard of Living


Nine hundred residents shared their views through telephone and online opinion surveys conducted in the first half of 2019. Key findings are summarized, including ratings for different aspects of life in Flint. Ratings are based on a scale of one to five, in which five means “very positive” and one means “very negative.” For more information about how the ratings were calculated, see Methodology.


This section highlights survey results regarding what’s working and what needs improvement. If a section of Focus on Flint does not include information about Things to Celebrate or Things to Improve, it’s because the survey didn’t yield responses to fit the categories.


In addition to results of the opinion survey, Focus on Flint shares information that local nonprofit organizations and agencies have reported hearing from the residents they serve.


Support for the organizations and programs presented in bold text includes funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which produced this report. To learn more, visit the Foundation’s website,


Each section includes data and statistics that illuminate strengths of the Flint community and highlight challenges. These facts were collected through opinion surveys of Flint residents; from city, state and federal agencies; and from local nonprofit organizations. The Flint surveys were conducted in the first half of 2019. Unless otherwise noted, all remaining data are from 2018.


This section highlights organizations and programs working to address issues in the Flint community and provides information about how to connect with them.


Focus on Flint explores nine important issues facing the local community: Arts and Culture, Economy, Education, Health, Housing, Public Safety, Quality of Life, Standard of Living and Water. This section describes why each issue is critical to the community and summarizes work underway.

Double Up Food Bucks staff set up at the Flint Farmers’ Market to share information about the program.

“Trying to eat healthy is expensive. I’m a single mother, I’m working two jobs, and it’s just not enough. I need SNAP to make it through, and knowing you have Double Up Food Bucks means you got more fresh vegetables.”

— A Flint mom and Double Up Food Bucks shopper


A higher standard of living would mean more residents would have opportunities to lead a healthy life, advance in their careers, own a home and have access to a quality education, as well as cultural and recreational amenities. With over 69% of children living in poverty and median household income in the community falling well below the county and state, residents continue to express serious concerns about Flint’s standard of living. Addressing this will require: meeting the basic needs of residents; designing programs and resources that aim to break the cycle of poverty; and providing comprehensive support for vulnerable populations, such as uninsured residents and older adults.


Nonprofit organizations are working with local government and philanthropies to offer resources to help people meet their basic needs. This includes: access to healthy food; options for low-cost health insurance; rent and utility assistance; and programs for vulnerable populations. (See the Resource Guide for more information.) Below are just a few examples of what’s available in the Flint community:

  • The Double Up Food Bucks program, operated by the Fair Food Network, increases families’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Through this program, households that use a Bridge Card to purchase fruits and vegetables receive a dollar‑for‑dollar match for such purchases.
  • In 2020, over one-third (37%) of Genesee County residents received Medicaid health care coverage. Enrollment in Healthy Michigan (Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program under the Affordable Care Act) increased more than 25% between December 2016 (29,223) and December 2020 (39,827).
  • Organizations such as Catholic Charities of Shiawassee & Genesee Counties assist with rent and utility expenses.
  • Senior centers, such as Brennan and Hasselbring, offer programs and events for older adults to engage, connect and stay active. The Valley Area Agency on Aging also supports seniors with a variety of services.

Unfortunately, in some cases, such as rent and utility assistance, the need far exceeds available resources. Longer-term, systemic solutions must be developed to eliminate the need for these programs.


Rx Kids, led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, will provide cash payments to expectant mothers in Flint during pregnancy and throughout the first year of a child’s life. Through Rx Kids, which began enrollment in early 2024, families will be “prescribed” a total of up to $7,500 in cash.

PHOTO: MIKE NADDEODr. Mona Hanna-Attisha holds one of the first babies enrolled in Rx Kids.
This will include a one-time $1,500 payment to expectant mothers in mid-pregnancy, followed by $500 per month for the first year of a child’s life. All pregnant women and infants who are residents of the city of Flint will be eligible for the program. It is the first citywide program of its kind in the United States.

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