Where a Student Lives Impacts their Education: Northville has Highest Median Family Income

Where a student lives often impacts what school they attend, and those that live in a higher income area often have access to more educational resources and opportunities. In all of Southeastern Michigan the Northville Public School District has the highest median income for families with children at $184,289. This public school district brings public education opportunities to residents in the City of Northville, Northville Township and a portion of those in Novi. In total, there are six elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school that houses about 7,000 students. The median income examined in this post is for families with school-aged children that live within the boundaries of a school district, which does not necessarily encompass the boundary lines of a city or township.

There are only four school districts in the region where the median income for families with children is above $150,000. In addition to Northville Public Schools, those districts are: Birmingham Public Schools ($175,132), Bloomfield Hills Schools ($159,441) and Grosse Ile Township Schools ($150,060).

The Highland Park School District had the lowest median income for families with children at $16,847. This school district is contained within the boundaries of the City Highland Park. Currently, the only school in the district is a K-8 charter school that serves about 370 students; a high school is expected to open in the near future. Prior to the recession, Highland Park School District had an enrollment of about 3,900 students in 2007-08; enrollment dropped to under 1,000 during the 2011-12 school year. The changes in enrollment reflected the loss of residents in Highland Park and the School of Choice law that allowed students in one district to attend school in another district. Due to declining enrollment and a loss of revenue, Highland Parks schools was placed under financial receivership and it was determined all schools in the district would be converted into two charter schools. As mentioned, one charter school is currently the only school in the district.

Throughout the region there were five school districts where the median income of a family with children was under $25,000, those districts, which include Highland Park schools are: River Rouge School District ($19,837), Ecorse Public Schools ($23,668) Hamtramck Public Schools ($24,441) and Detroit Public Schools ($24,945). Both Detroit and Highland Park public schools have had Emergency Managers appointed by the state.

Wayne County is the only county in the region with public school districts that has median family incomes under $25,000.

The income threshold in Michigan that is considered to be the poverty line is $33,000 for a family of four. The only other school district in Southeastern Michigan that has a median income for families with children that falls below the poverty line is Van Dyke Public Schools in Macomb County ($27,125).

Understanding the median income of families with children for the districts in Southeastern Michigan is important because it also helps cultivate a further understanding of educational inequalities that often exist between children in high income and low-income families. According to the article “Income Segregation between School Districts and Inequality in Students’ Achievements,” the standardized test score, educational attainment and college enrollment gaps have continued to grow between children in high-income families and children in low-income families (Owens, 2017). This of course affects the future of the children, including employment and housing options. Family income also affects a child because it helps determine the resources invested into the child, including where they live, which can have a direct affect on their cognitive test scores, according to the article. Additionally, other resources that affect the child’s wellbeing include food, clothing and investments like books, technology and extra curricular activities.

Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills have Highest Percentage of Students in Private Schools

The U.S. education system allows students to attend either public or private schools, both for K-12 and post secondary education. While public education is the most common choice for parents and students, there are a large number of students who attend private schools. In Southeastern Michigan, the percentage of students within public school distract boundaries who attend private schools varies between 1 and 24 percent.

In the Southeastern Michigan region there are 110 public school districts, and within each of those districts some portion of students are sent to private schools. Of the 110 public school districts, 30 have more than 10 percent of students who attend a school operated by a private entity. Furthermore, there are five districts in the region where more than 20 percent of students in each district attend a private school. Of these five school districts, four are in Oakland County and one is in Wayne County. According to data from the American Community Survey, both Birmingham Public Schools and the Bloomfield Hills School District  (both in Oakland County) have the highest percentage of students who attend private schools at 24 percent.  The other two school districts in Oakland County where more than 20 percent of students are attending private schools are Berkley and Royal Oak public schools (21 and 23 percent, respectively). The Garden City public school district in Wayne County is the other district where more than 20 percent of students attend private schools (22 percent).

Conversely, Van Dyke Public Schools (Macomb County) and the Hazel Park Public School District (Oakland County) have the lowest percentage of students attending private schools in Southeastern Michigan at 1 percent. In Detroit, 6 percent of students in the Detroit Public Schools district attend private schools.

While there are various reasons for students to attend private schools, which include religious preferences, classroom sizes and access to specific resources, the districts with the two highest percentages of students attending private schools also are amongst those with the highest median incomes for parents in the region, according to the American Community Survey. In Birmingham Public Schools the median income of families with children is $175,132, and in the Bloomfield Hills public school district the median income for families with children is $159,441. Conversely, the median income for families with children in Van Dyke Public Schools district is $27,125, and in the Hazel Park Public School District the median income is $44,093.

Private school in Michigan, as it currently stands, do not receive any public funding. With tuition costs to fund the operation of these private schools, it is not surprising that the districts with higher median incomes have higher percentages of students attending private schools.

Census 2020: Hard to Count Areas in Southeastern Michigan

The goal of the 2020 Census is to count each person in the U.S., based on their primary residence, by April 1, 2020. However, the fear is that several communities in Michigan will be undercounted in the 2020 Census, meaning a lack of federal funding in the future. And a major portion of 7-county Southeastern Michigan area is in the so-called “hard to count” category.

The majority of the Census is completed by households self-responding via mail or online, starting this year. Throughout the country there are areas where self-response rates are very high, and in other areas they are just the opposite. The areas with previously low self-response rates have been deemed as “hard to count” areas; these areas often include minority and immigrant populations, along with renters and children under the age of 5.

Data for this post was provided by City University of New York, and they deemed an area hard to count if its self-response rate was 73 percent or less for the 2010 Census. This percentage is based on the mail return rate from occupied housing units for the 2010 Census.

As the map shows below, at the county level, self-response mail in rates are high throughout Southeastern Michigan, ranging from 78.5 percent to 86.6 percent. Livingston County had the highest self-response rate at 86.6 percent while Wayne County had the lowest at 78.5 percent. Breaking this data down to the census tract level helped determined what areas would be hard to count for the 2020 Census.

Overall, at the county level, five of the seven counties have hard to count populations. Wayne County has the highest hard to count population at 30 percent and Macomb County has the lowest hard to count population (of those with such a population) at 2 percent. Livingston and St. Clair counties did not have any hard to count data available. Wayne and Washtenaw counties are the only two in the region with hard to count populations in the double digits (30 and 10 percent, respectively).

When looking at the counties on a deeper level, by census tract, we see that Highland Park, Inkster and Detroit (all in Wayne County) have the largest hard to count populations in the region. In Highland Park 100 percent of the population is considered hard to count for the 2020 Census; in Inkster that percentage is 91 percent and in Detroit 86 percent of the population is considered hard to count. The top reason for all three of these cities having such a percentage of hard to count populations is due to the high poverty levels. Other reasons, according to AP News, include a high African American population, low response rates to the American Community Survey and a high percentage of children living below the poverty level. Of the hard to count communities in Southeastern Michigan (27), nine have hard to count populations above 50 percent.

Washtenaw County has the second overall highest percentage of hard to count populations. This is because Ypsilanti has 52 percent of the population considered hard to count. Ann Arbor is estimated to have 29 percent of its population designated as hard to count. The main reason for Ann Arbor’s hard to count status is because of the high percentage of residents between the ages of 18-24 years of age (the University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor); there is also a high proportion of renters there and a high proportion of individuals who move residences from one year to the next. In Ypsilanti there is a high hard to count population due to high poverty levels and the high number of renters.

To ensure overall high self-response rates the Census Bureau has now made it possible for individuals to complete the Census online, by mail and over the phone. If residents do not respond by one of those methods census takers will knock on the doors of homes that have not responded. Additionally, communities throughout the stateare also putting together large outreach campaigns to ensure members of their communities complete the Census. For example, the City of Detroit has a website that lists Census resources, ways to volunteer for outreach events and how to apply for a job with the Census. For more information on the Census visit 2020census.gov.

2019: Michigan Unemployment Rates Hit Lowest Point in December

In December of 2019 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 3.5, which is 0.6 percentage points lower than what it was in 2018 (4.1), according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of  Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate of 3.5 in December was the same as it was in September and October of 2019. However, it was 0.3 points higher than it was in the previous month.

December unemployment data at the local level is not yet available from the Michigan Department of  Technology, Management and Budget, but the November 2019 unemployment rate for the City of Detroit was 7 percent, which is the lowest it was all year. The November unemployment rate was 0.8 percentage points lower than the October 2019 unemployment rate (7.8 percent) and also 0.8 percentage points lower than the November 2018 Detroit unemployment rate.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for November of 2018 and 2019. In November of 2019 Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 4. Washtenaw County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2.

Between November of 2018 and 2019 each county in the region had a lower unemployment rate in 2019 than the previous year, with the exception of Oakland County. In both November of 2018 and 2019 Oakland County had an unemployment rate of 2.9. In that same time span Monroe County had the largest difference in unemployment rates. In November 2018 the Monroe County unemployment rate was 3.7 and in November 2019 the unemployment rate was 2.9.

The above chart shows the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $129,250 in October 2019; this was $1,540 lower than the average family dwelling price in September. The September 2019 price was an increase of $3,170 from October of 2018 and an increase of $9,860 from October of 2017, an increase of $17,920 from October of 2016 and increase of  $24,440 from October of 2015 and, finally, an increase of 
$29,490 from October of 2014.

Eastpointe: Property Taxes Decrease, Number of Special Assessments Increase

For our cities to function effectively, taxes must be levied to support services vital to their survival. Here we examine the same hypothetical Eastpointe property discussed last week to portray what additional taxes—beyond general school, city and county operating millages—are levied to provide services to this city’s residents.

The first chart below shows that from 1998 to 2009, the total dollar amount this hypothetical property owner was paying in taxes gradually increased. This can be attributed to two factors. First, both the assessed and taxable value of the property (shown in Chart 3) gradually increased during that time, meaning more property tax revenue for local governments. Second, voters approved at least one new major tax levy during that time. This major tax was approved in 2005 and allowed the city to collect a special levy of up to 7 mills for public safety. For this hypothetical household, that levy equaled $327.94 in 2005. In contrast, a decade later, that same special levy brought in $219.08. The decline was due to the fact that the taxable value of the property plummeted, along with the assessed value, in the wake of the Great Recession.

As shown in Chart 1, the amount of taxes this hypothetical property owner paid peaked in 2009 ($2,432.30), which corresponded with the peak taxable value of this home ($53,599). The subsequent decline in tax bills occurred despite new service assessments approved by Macomb County voters. For example, it was in December of 2008 when the regional millage for the Detroit Zoo began to appear on the tax bills for this property, which by then had a taxable value of $51,340.41, costing the homeowner $5.13. Tax data from the City of Eastpointe also shows that this new assessment was much lower than existing county assessments such as the Huron-Clinton Metroparks millage, costing this hypothetical property owner $11.01 in 2009,and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit (SMART) millage, which cost the homeowner $30.29 that year. Chart 2 below presents a timeline of the changes in county-wide and city millages that affected Eastpointe taxpayers.

Chart 1

**(Note-all taxes on the Eastpointe tax bill are included in the graph above)

Chart 2: Timeline of Eastpointe, Macomb County Millages and Increased Millage Renewals

1995

  • Suburban Mobility Area Transit Authority (SMART): 1 mill (quadrennial countywide renewals approved at varying rates; the most recent was narrowly approved in 2018)

2005

  • Eastpointe Public Safety: 7 mills (part of general city operating millage starting in 2016)

2008

  • Detroit Zoo: 0.1 mill (2008-present; renewal approved in 2016)
  • Macomb County Veteran Millage: 0.4 mills (2008-present; increase approved in 2016)

2011

  • Recreation Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe: 1 millage  (2011-Present)

2012

  • Detroit Institute of Arts: 0.2 mills (2012-2022; renewal question on March 2020 ballot)

2015

  • South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority (SMORSA): 14 mills (2015-present)

**The Huron Clinton Metropark Authority millage has been levied since the 1940s***

Chart 3

The trend of decreased property values and the addition of special assessments to tax bills continued in the wake of the Great Recession. In 2011, residents in Eastpointe and Roseville approved a 1-mill levy to fund the newly created Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe (RARE). Later, voters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties approved a 10-year, 1 mill tax for the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), which appeared on tax bills in December of 2012. The largest increase came in 2015, when Eastpointe and Hazel Park voters approved the creation of the South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority (SMORSA), to provide a new revenue source for public safety services in both cities; this regional authority levies 14 mills annually. Macomb County voters also approved a 0.069 mill veterans millage in 2016, a slight increase from an earlier 0.04 millage rate.  In addition, residents of Eastpointe have regularly renewed a millage to support their local library.

Between 1998 and 2019, the timeline for the data in this post, the amount in taxes paid reached a high in 2009 at $2,432.30 (when the taxable value of the property was at its highest) and a low in 2014 at $1,563.50 (when the taxable value was at its lowest). Due to the limitations of Michigan’s Proposal A, which only allows annual taxable value increases of 5 percent or the rate of inflation (unless the property is sold), the taxable value of this hypothetical property rose only about 7.4 percent over the next five years (2015-19). However, due to these new assessments, the hypothetical property owner paid about 38 percent more in total property tax during that timeframe—roughly equal to the rate of the home’s assessed value increase.

Eastpointe’s case reveals that local governments have had some success in combating the fiscal consequences of the decline of general operating tax revenue with voter-approved special assessments for the county-level service authorities, and especially with SMORSA. Voter support for these services has been there in recent years, but it remains to be seen whether it will persist in the coming years.

This year, property owners across Macomb County may see some additional changes to their tax bills. In March, the DIA will ask voters to renew a 10 year, 1 mill tax renewal; if voted down in any particular county, the DIA assessment in that county will fall off the tax rolls in 2022. Voters will also be asked to approve a 1.9, 10-year millage on the March ballot to support classroom operations through the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD); this proposed millage is different from the general operating millages currently levied by the MISD and local school districts.  Later, in August, Macomb County voters will also be asked to approve a millage for a yet to be determined amount and length to support either building a new county jail or renovating the current one. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) may also be considering a millage proposal in 2020; although at this time it appears Macomb County voters will not be asked to support the proposal to support this.

Eastpointe: Property Values Rise as Taxable Values Inch Up

This post is the first of many that will demonstrate the difference between the taxable and assessed values in communities throughout Southeastern Michigan and explain the various taxes levied in these communities and their use. We will highlight at least one community in each county in the region and this post discusses Eastpointe in Macomb County. Eastpointe, formerly known as East Detroit, has a population of about 32,000, a median income of about $46,000 and a median home value of $64,700, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The chart below shows the taxable value and assessed value of a hypothetical Eastpointe home, beginning in July of 1998 through December of 2019. The taxable value is the value used to calculate a property’s taxes, and each year it can only increase by 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. This number may be equal to the property’s state equalized, or assessed value, but not more than those values. Such limits on tax growth, or lack thereof, is a result of Proposal A, a state constitutional amendment approved by voter referendum in 1994. The assessed value of a property, or the state equalized valued (SEV), is usually about half of a property’s true cash value, and the true cash value is the fair market value of the property.

In 1998 the taxable value of the Eastpointe property examined was $40,000 and the assessed value was $50,000. In July of 2007 the assessed value of the property peaked at $83,252 but the taxable value was only at $50,186. By 2008 the Great Recession hit Southeastern Michigan and both the assessed values and taxable values of properties began to decline. Between July of 2007 and July of 2010 the assessed value decreased from $83,252 to $40,700, or more than 50 percent ($40,000). The annual declines continued after the recession, and the assessed value of the property reached its lowest point in July of 2014 at $34,641, a nearly 60% decline from its peak. Since July of 2014 the assessed value of the property has increased to $47,840.

As noted, the taxable value of the property was $40,000 in July of 1998, but it did not increase nearly as much as the assessed value did, because it cannot rise more than the rate of inflation or 5 percent from year-to-year. As a result, the taxable value of the property did not peak until July of 2009 ($53,599). A year later though, in July of 2010, the taxable value plummeted to $39,749. A property’s taxable value can decrease in such a way if there is a physical loss to the property and/or if the property is sold in the previous tax year. The Great Recession began in 2008 and by 2010 the taxable value of properties were on the decline, ultimately affecting governmental budgets, and services. In July of 2013 the taxable value of this Eastpointe property reached its low point at $30,804. Since then the taxable value of the property has only increased to $33,095.

Due to economic trends and the way taxable values and assessed values are calculated under Proposal A of, the assessed value of a property is nearly always higher than the taxable value. For this specific property, the only time the taxable value and assessed value were nearly the same was in July of 2009, when the taxable value was $39,749 and the assessed value was $40,700. In addition, while the gap between the two values has not been nearly as large as it was prior to the recession, since 2016 that gap has been widening.

As noted earlier, our various forms of government rely on property taxes to function, primarily our local governments (municipalities and school districts). The chart above shows that just because the local economy is recovering since the Great Recession, the budgets of local governments are not necessarily reaping the benefits. According to a recent report by the Michigan Municipal League, 173 cities in Michigan have experienced a 2 percent or less revenue growth in the last 15 years and an additional 52 have experienced a budget growth of 3 percent or more. For Eastpointe, according to the a recent report released by the Michigan Municipal League, the total revenue for the city in 2002 was $22.3 million, and in 2017 it was $25.8 million. While the total revenue for Eastpointe has increased by 16 percent the revenue generated by property and income taxes declined by 23 percent. However, while the effects of limited property tax have negatively affected municipalities across the state, the slow growth of such taxes has benefitted for the property owners. According to a September 2018 Detroit Free Press article while income growth in the state has increased since the last recession, household incomes prior to the recession have not yet been recouped. Since incomes are also recovering at a slower rate, it can be viewed that the slow growth rate of property tax revenue is allowing property owners to better stay afloat economically.

It should be noted though that a, at least in Southeastern Michigan, local tax bills have become gradually more complicated as voters approve additional tax levies, to help make up for the loss in revenue as a result of the recession, and the loss in revenue due to the limited growth of taxable values. Next week we will examine the various taxes levied for this hypothetical Eastpointe property, including what they are for, what additional ones have been added over time and how the overall tax amount for the property has either increased, or decreased, over time.

Alcohol Causes Most Traffic Deaths in Southeastern Michigan, Distracted Driving Causes Most Injuries

Traffic fatalities in Michigan totaled just under 1,000 in 2018, a number that officials from the Michigan State Police said is too high. However, that number was below the 2016 and 2017 traffic fatality numbers which rose above 1,000. Below we examine the number of traffic fatalities and injuries in Southeastern Michigan, along with the number of fatalities and injuries related to alcohol, distracted driving and drugs. As the charts show, of the factors examined, alcohol is the largest contributor to traffic fatalities in the region.  

Wayne County, which is also the largest county in the state, had the highest number of traffic fatalities at 164, 63 of which were alcohol related. Distracted driving contributed to 6 of the164 deaths and drugs contributed to 38. Oakland and Macomb counties had the second and third highest number of traffic fatalities in the region at 54 and 53. In Oakland County, of the 54 traffic fatalities, 13 were alcohol related, 3 were related to distracted driving and 8 were related to drugs. For Macomb County, alcohol contributed to 18 of the 53 traffic deaths and distracted driving contributed to 3 of the deaths; there were not any drug related traffic deaths.

When looking at the percentage of alcohol related traffic deaths compared to the total number of traffic deaths, Monroe County had the highest rate. Of the 29 traffic deaths in Monroe County in 2018, 48 percent of them (14) were alcohol related. St. Clair County had the lowest percentage at 6 percent. In 2018 there were 16 traffic deaths in St. Clair County and 1 was alcohol related. With those two exceptions, the percentage of alcohol related traffic deaths ranges between 24 and 38 percent.

Of the other two factors, drugs contributed more to traffic fatalities than distracted driving.

Injuries related to vehicle accidents are higher than fatalities and while Wayne, Oakland and Macomb still had the highest numbers in the region, the data shows that distracted driving was reported to be the largest contributor of the factors examined. Overall, data indicated that distracted driving contributed to an average of 10 percent of the traffic related injuries in Southeastern Michigan in 2018. In Macomb C, Monroe and Washtenaw counties distracted driving contributed to 11 percent of the traffic related injuries and in Wayne County distracted driving contributed to 7 percent.

 Although Wayne County had the lowest percentage of distracted driving related traffic injuries in the region, it had the highest number at 1,082 (there were 16,578 total injuries). Alcohol was related to 897 traffic injuries in Wayne County and drugs were related to 281 injuries. In Oakland County there were 10,105 total traffic related injuries, 572 of which were alcohol related, 1,013 of which were related to distracted driving and 199 of which were related to drugs. In Macomb County there were 7,360 traffic related injuries, 391 of which were related to alcohol, 813 of which were related to distracted driving, and none of which were related to drugs. And, while Macomb County did not report any drug related traffic injuries in 2018, St. Clair County was the only county in the region where there were more drug related traffic injuries than alcohol or distracted driving injuries. In 2018 there were 931 traffic injuries in St. Clair County, 122 of which were related to drugs. 

While the full 2019 Michigan State Police Report on traffic fatalities and injuries has not been released, officials maintain that they continue to strive for fewer than 1,000 fatalities each year. Additionally, officials have said they believe the lower 2018 number is related to additional efforts made to educate drivers and stricter enforcement. The 2019 numbers will be released in March, and at that time we will examine the new data and compare it to historical data.

Real Time Water Monitoring System Will Need Regional Support

In Southeastern Michigan there are 14 wastewater treatment plants that did, and plan to again, participate in a real time water monitoring system. This real time water monitoring system would span from Port Huron to Monroe, from where Lake Huron meets the St. Clair River down to Lake Erie. The purpose of the system is to better ensure the water basin that provides drinking water to more than 3 million people remains clean, and if there is contamination, those who run the water plants could shutoff intake to ensure contaminants do not enter the drinking water.

Current events in Southeastern Michigan, such as the collapse of a site into the Detroit River that is potentially contaminated with uranium and the leaking of green hexavalent chromium ooze onto I-696 near stormwater drains, are a reminder of just how easily our waterways can become contaminated. While steps certainly need to be taken to avoid contaminants entering our waterways, a full scale real time water monitoring system is also vital for public health. However, that has not always been a priority.

The real time water monitoring system was first established in 2006 with $3.5 million in funding provided by the federal government; local governments at the county and municipal level also initially chipped in. However, by 2011 the system was no more as funding dried up. The reasons? According to a 2016 MLive article, local communities did not have the funds to allocate toward the operation and maintenance of the system and would not pass the operational charges along to the ratepayers. Additionally, a 2012 Municipal and Sewer Magazine article stated that some of the communities along the Huron to Erie water real time water monitoring system corridor were concerned about the data the system was producing and wanted to invest money in their own systems, not a regional one. 

Since 2011 the region has been left without a real time water monitoring system due to lack of and interest in funding. That is until in 2017 when then Gov. Rick Snyder allocated $375,000 in his budget. The Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) has since been charged with procuring and installing the water monitoring system. According a SEMCOG representative, the updated installation of the system is near completion and they hope to have real time data from it pushed to public in the near future. In December they gave no indication that any of the stations were running, just that a stakeholder meeting would be happening in the near future.

While the re-investment in the system gives way to updated infrastructure needed to protect our waterways and public health, as the story of the system’s past shows, regional investment and collaboration will be necessary for its success.  As of the beginning December, no funds beyond the 2017 investment by the state had been allocated to the system and staff at the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy were unaware of the system and its funding. Funding options may vary in keeping the system operating-whether it be surcharges passed on to ratepayers, additional taxes levied or additional funds found in government budgets. However the funds are found, they need to be allocated to protect the public health of the region and cleanliness of our greatest natural asset.

If the communities along the Huron-to-Erie water basin don’t come together to collaborate at a regional level to keep this system running, history could repeat itself leaving the region without a system to protect our health.

The image below was provided by SEMCOG and shows the locations where the real time water monitoring system sites will operate from, which are water treatment plants throughout the region. These sites were also part of the original system that was established in 2006.

STD Rates on the Rise in Southeastern Michigan

Throughout Southeastern Michigan, Wayne County has consistently had the highest sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates since at least 2009, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Below are three charts showing the rates per 100,000 people for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. All three charts show that the rate at which individuals in Wayne County have one of those STDs is much higher than any of the neighboring counties. Additionally, Livingston County had such low numbers of sexually transmitted infections accounted for there was no data available for some of the STDs.

The first chart below shows the rates people with chlamydia per 100,000 between 2009 and 2018 for the counties in Southeastern Michigan. Wayne County’s rate peaked at 1,213.6 in 2010 but has since declined to 872.6 per 100,000 people in 2018. The sheer number of chlamydia cases reported in Wayne County in 2018 was 15,305. The county with the lowest number of cases per capita was Livingston County. In 2009 the rate was 112.1 cases per 100,00 people and by 2018 that number increased to 312.5 cases per people. In 2018, 318 cases of chlamydia were reported in Livingston County. Unlike with Wayne County, all the other counties in the region experienced an overall increase in the rate at which people were contracting the infection. Of the three types of STDs explored in this post, chlamydia has the highest number of cases reported, making it the most common.

The national trend also appears to show an increase in the number of people becoming infected with an STD. Although no specific reason was given for the decrease in Wayne County’s number it could be related to an increase in information related to sexual education and access to condoms, which are the primary prevention source beyond abstinence.

Wayne County again had the highest rate for the STD examined in the chart below, which is gonorrhea. However, the trend for this infection is not as similar to the trend for chlamydia. For Wayne County, there were 457.2 gonorrhea cases per 100,000 people reported in 2009, and while that number dipped to 213.4 cases per 100,000 people in 2014 it has since increased to 363.4 cases per 100,000 people. While it is fair there has been an overall decrease in the amount of gonorrhea cases reported over the last 10 years, there seems to be a trend of those numbers rising. In 2018 in Wayne there was a total of 6,374 gonorrhea cases reported.

St. Clair County regularly had the lowest rates reported for gonorrhea infections between 2009 and 2018. In 2009 there were 79 cases reported per 100,000 people and in 2018 that number decreased to 45.2 (72 cases total). However, the number of cases dropped so low in 2014 and 2015 a rate wasn’t able to be calculated, again showing the trend where there has been an overall decrease in cases, but the numbers are beginning to tick up.

For some counties, like Macomb, Oakland and Washtenaw, the per capita number has increased above the  number reported in 2009. Washtenaw County had the second highest per capita number of cases reported throughout the time frame. In 2018 the gonorrhea rate was 141 cases per 100,000 people (523 cases). While an overall increase from the 2009 rate of  95.8 cases 100,000 people, it is more than 200 points below the Wayne County rate.

Syphilis has the lowest rate among the sexually transmitted infections examined in this post, so low that only data for Wayne, Macomb Oakland and Washtenaw counties was available. Wayne County had the highest rates between 2009 and 2018. In 2009 Wayne County had a rate of 17.4 cases per 100,000 people and in 2018 that increased to 44.8 cases per 100,000 people, or a total of 786 cases. Of the counties with reported data it was Macomb County with the lowest rates, in 2011 (the first year when per capita data was reported) the rate was 6.8 cases per 100,000 people and in 2017 (the most recent year for data) the rate increased to 11.8 syphilis cases per 100,000 people, or 148 cases.

Overall the trend remains that the number of STD cases continue to rise, with the 26 years of age and under population experiencing the largest number of cases, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In the charts above you will see that Washtenaw County regularly falls in second or third in terms of rankings for the per capita rates of any one of the three infections discussed above. This likely has to do with the fact that Washtenaw County is home to both the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.

Overall, experts believe part of the rise is related to misinformation or overall lack of information on STDs. They urge those who are sexually active to be open and honest with both their partner(s) and health care providers about regular testing, and proper treatment if necessary, to ensure the STD isn’t spread to additional people. Information on ways to best prevent STDs, such as use of condoms, regular testing and abstinence, are also encouraged to be discussed more with all individuals, particularly those under the age of 26.

For more information on STD testing, prevention and other information click here

Economic Indicators: Industrial Areas Seeing Increase in Leasing

In October of 2019 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 3.5, the same as it was for the month of September, according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of  Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate for October of 2018 was only slightly higher than it was this year in October, 3.7.

In October of 2019 Detroit’s unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.  That Detroit unemployment rate was 0.7 points lower in October of 2019 from the previous month. Also, the October 2019 unemployment rate for Detroit was 1.5 points lower from the previous year. In October of 2018 it was 9.3 percent.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for October of 2018 and 2019. In October of 2019 Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 4.5. Washtenaw County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.5.

Between October of 2018 and 2019 each county in the region had a lower unemployment rate in 2019 than the previous year; the county with the largest decrease was Macomb County. In October of 2018 the unemployment rate in Macomb County was 4.1 and in October of 2019 it decreased to 3. Also, Macomb, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties all had unemployment rates at 3 percent or lower while St. Clair and Wayne counties had unemployment rates at 4.1 and 4.5, respectively.

The availability of industrial spaces is another aspect of an area’s financial health and below is information from the quarterly reports of Cushman and Wakefield, a global real estate firm, which produces information related to Metro-Detroit. According to the company, leasing of industrial spaces in the third quarter of 2019 is up from the second quarter, with the Airport area having the strongest increase by landing companies such as DSV and Crane World Wide Logistics with their lease renewals. Additionally, the overall vacancy rate in the Metro-Detroit area is at 2.9 percent, and as shown in the first chart below the Downriver and East side areas have the lowest vacancy rates at 1.5 percent. The Southfield area has the highest vacancy rate at 5 percent.

The second chart below shows the average cost of industrial spaces in the region per square foot. There are three different types of industrial space as defined by Cushman and Wakefield and those are: manufacturing, office space and warehouse/distribution spaces. As the chart shows, office space has the highest market value, with the Southfield area having the highest cost at $14.19 per square feet. In nearly all the areas warehouse/distribution spaces has the second highest cost with Southfield again having the highest market rate at $7.15 per square foot. In the Downriver and Troy areas though manufacturing spaces have a higher market rate than the warehouse space. In Downriver, manufacturing spaces average $4.94 per square foot and warehouse spaces average $4.80 per square foot; in Troy manufacturing spaces average $7.22 per square foot and $5.60 per square foot for warehouse spaces. Troy also has the highest market value for manufacturing spaces in the region.

According to Cushman and Wakefield, there is an expectation that utilization of industrial spaces will continue to increase in 2020 meaning a continuation of low vacancy rates.

The above chart shows the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $129,250 in September 2019; this was $800 lower than the average family dwelling price in August. The September 2019 price was an increase of $4,460 from September of 2018 and an increase of $11,650 from September of 2017, an increase of $19,470 from September of 2016 and increase of  $25,670 from September of 2015 and, finally, an increase of 
$30,910 from September of 2014.