Alarming Rates of Poverty and Child Abuse Revealed in Missoula Health Assessment
The 2017 Missoula County Health Assessment has been released, it shows that most Missoulians love their community, but there were also some big red flags that officials will be working on over the next few years.
"What we did is we collected a lot of data about all kinds of health and well-being indicators: everything from obesity and smoking all the way to poverty, housing, access to health insurance and education levels -- then we put it all in one place," said Health Department Accreditation specialist Robin Nielson-Cerquone.
The study is filled with graphs covering multiple topics. Some of the most striking graphs reveal the climbing number of child abuse cases and the number of Missoulian's struggling below the poverty level.
"What we are seeing is that housing just continues to get less and less affordable. One thing that really stood out is that child abuse and neglect has gone waaaaay up, I think it has trippled in the past five to six years, at least doubled. We've also seen some stuff that's really good, one thing we found in all our surveys is that there's really wide agreement acrosss the community that we love our home, we love our physical place."
When assessing poverty, the study points to the "MIT Living Wage Calculator" which says Missoula families with two children and two working adults would need to earn around $65,000 per year. That number may seem out of reach to many, as the median household income in Missoula is just above $46,000 per year.