Commute Times in Southeastern Michigan Slightly Increase

 

In all Southeastern Michigan communities more than 70 percent of residents with a job commuted to work by some mode of transportation, whether it be by vehicle or a mode of public transportation in 2016, according to U.S. Census data. In our sprawling region, where cars are king, suburban life has long dominated and road infrastructure is failing, it is no surprise that the average commute time for the region is 30 minutes. However, in 61 of the region’s communities more than 50 percent of commuters experienced a commute time above 30 minutes in 2016.

At the level of counties, Livingston County had the longest average commute time in 2016 at 32 minutes, followed by St. Clair County at 29 minutes. When considering individual communities, there were only three communities where the average commute time was above 40 minutes; these communities were: Berlin Township (40 minutes), Riley Township (41 minutes) and Emmett Township (41 minutes). All three of these communities are located in the more rural areas of the region.

As noted, the data for 2016 shows that 61 communities in Southeastern Michigan have more than 50 percent of commuters experiencing a commute above 30 minutes. Unadilla Township had the highest percent of residents experiencing more than a 30 minute commute at 75; the average commute time for residents in that township was 39 minutes. No city had an average commute time below 20 minutes, and the communities with the lowest commute times either had large employment hubs or were located very close to them. For example, in 2016 commuters in Ann Arbor had the lowest commute time at 20 minutes. Both the University of Michigan and University of Michigan Health Care System are located in Ann Arbor, a relatively compact city.

Between 2010 and 2016 the average percent of residents who commuted to work increased only slightly, by 0.3 percent. While this shows that the number of commuters on the road remained relatively the same between 2010 and 2016, other data shows that, arguably, congestion on the roads have increased. According to the data, the average commute time for residents in Southeastern Michigan increased by about two minutes.

There were 30 communities in the region though where the commute time increased by more than 10 minutes. Overall, there were 127 communities that experienced a percent change increase in average commute times between 2010 and 2016. The communities with the largest percent increase in average commute times between 2010 and 2016 were spread across the region, which could very well mean road congestion was increasing due to the region’s road system. For example, the City of Northville had the largest percent change increase in commute time between 2010 and 2016 at 31 percent. Northville is located near to I-275, I-696 and I-96 in the areas where these highways are often under construction and experience regular traffic backups due to congestion.

River Rouge had the second largest increase at 26 percent. Jefferson Avenue runs through River Rouge, but was not easily accessible in the city between 2013 and 2016 due to the Jefferson Bridge being closed. This traffic shift would have caused commuters in River Rouge, and other downriver communities, to have to utilize Fort Street and/or I-75 to commute, meaning there were additional vehicles on these alternate routes.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there were 78 communities in the region where average commute times decreased between 2010 and 2016. Of those communities, 14 had a decrease in the average commute time by more than 10 minutes.

While construction and constricted road systems attribute to traffic congestion, so does the number of vehicles on the road. In Southeastern Michigan we know that there is no comprehensive regional transit system, and instead majority of commuters rely on driving themselves to and from work. A way to decrease traffic congestion is to create a reliable, connected regional transit system that residents would be able to utilize to get to and from work. Increased use in public transportation would decrease congestion, particularly at peak hours, and put less stress on our existing road infrastructure.

Crimes Rate for Detroit Among Highest in the Region

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released data on known criminal offenses for the year 2016. For this post, these criminal offenses have been turned into rates per 100,000 residents to accurately show how reported crimes differ between the some of the most well known cities in each county in Southeastern Michigan.

The cities featured in this post are

  • Ann Arbor: Washtenaw County
  • Detroit: Wayne County
  • Howell: Livingston County
  • Pontiac: Oakland County
  • Port Huron: St. Clair County
  • Warren: Macomb County

*Note: Information on cities in Monroe County were not part of the report.

Of the nine crimes featured, Detroit had the highest rate of the eight featured crimes for all but one. Conversely, of the nine featured crimes, Howell had the lowest rates for six of them.

Overall, property crimes had the overall highest rates of the crimes discussed in this post while murder and non-negligent manslaughter had the lowest. Property crime rates also had the largest difference between the city with the highest rate (Detroit) and the city with the lowest rate (Howell).

According to the FBI, Detroit had the highest murder and non-negligent manslaughter rates in 2016 of the six cities examined in this post. This rate was calculated to be 44 per 100,000 residents; this was equivalent to 303 murders for a population of about 680,000. Between 2015 and 2016 the murder rate remained the same because the population numbers and the number of reported murders and non-negligent manslaughter crimes (295 reported in 2015) didn’t vary much from year-to-year.

Howell was the only one of the six cities with zero reported murders in 2016, and therefore had a murder rate of zero.

According to the FBI forcible rape is defined as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.  Attempts or assaults to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded.”

In 2016, of the cities highlighted in this post, Port Huron had the highest reported rape rate per 100,000 residents at 163; this was equivalent 48 reported rapes reported to law enforcement for a population of about 60,000. In 2015, the reported rape rate in Port Huron was 104.

Ann Arbor had the lowest rate at 37, which was equivalent to 44 total rapes known to law enforcement. Detroit’s forcible rape rate per 100,000 residents was 85 in 2016, or 579 total rapes known to law enforcement.

 

According to the FBI robbery is defined as “the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

Of the featured cities, Detroit had the highest robbery rate per 100,000 at 430, a decrease from the 2015 rate of 510. According to the data, the number of reported robberies in 2016 were 2,941 in Detroit.

Pontiac had the second highest robbery rate in 2016 at 202 and Howell had the lowest rate at 0.

According to the FBI, aggravated assault is defined as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.”

In 2016 Detroit had the highest aggravated assault rate of the cities featured in this post. Detroit’s 2016 rate was about 1,446 per 100,000 residents, a rate that was about 320 points higher than the 2015 rate. In 2016, Pontiac had the second highest rate at 913, which was about the same rate for the city in 2015. Ann Arbor had the lowest aggravated assault rate of the six cities featured at 106.

According to the FBI, property crime “includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.  The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims.”

Detroit had the highest property crime rate of the six cities featured at 4,628 per 100,000 residents in 2016; this was an increase from the 4,092 rate Detroit had in 2015. The city with the second highest property crime rate was Warren at 2,607 per 100,000. Howell had the lowest rate of the featured cities at 1,304; this rate decreased by about 200 from the year before. There was a 3,324 point difference between Howell and Detroit, making this the largest rate difference of the featured cities.

According to the FBI burglary is defined as, “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.  To classify an offense as a burglary, the use of force to gain entry need not have occurred.”

Detroit’s burglary rate per 100,000 residents in 2016 was 1,286, making it the highest of the featured cities. Additionally, similar to what the data was shown for the other categories in this post, Detroit experienced rate increase for burglary from 2015 to 2016. In 2015 the burglary rate for Detroit was 1,164 and in 2016 it increased to 1,286.

Howell again had the lowest rate of the cities at 189. Although Howell’s rate was significantly lower than the City of Detroit’s, Howell also experienced a burglary rate increase between 2015 and 2016.

According to the FBI, larceny theft is defined as “the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another.”

Detroit had the highest larceny-theft rates of the featured cities in 2016 at 2,039 and Port Huron came in second at 1,735.

Detroit’s rate was equivalent to 13,938 reported crimes for a population of about 680,000 while Port Huron’s rate was equivalent to 510 reported crimes for a population of about 29,000. Howell again had the lowest rate at 1,104; this was equivalent to 105 reported crimes for a population about about 9,600.

According to the FBI, motor vehicle theft is defined as “the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.”

The highest motor vehicle theft rate of the featured cities was 1,303 per 100,000 residents for the City of Detroit, nearly a 530 point rate increase from 2015. This rate was equivalent to 8,905 motor vehicle thefts for a population about 680,000. The city with the second highest motor vehicle theft rate was Warren with a rate of 379. In 2016 Warren had 512 reported motor vehicle thefts for a population of about 135,000. Ann Arbor had the lowest motor vehicle theft rate of 95 per 100,000 residents in 2016 of the featured cities.

According to the FBI, arson is “any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.”

Detroit had 554 reported arsons in 2016, giving it the highest rate at 81, while Ann Arbor had 10 reported arsons for a rate of 8.

 

 

Healthcare, Technology, Business Expected to Add Most Jobs in Detroit

News recently broke that the City of Detroit did not make the short list as a possible location for the second Amazon Headquarters. The reason why? Some said it was concern over the region’s ability to attract talent in a sustainable and long-term way and lack of a robust transit system. While Amazon may not be moving to Detroit, this post highlights what talent the Metro-Detroit Region is expected to foster through 2024.

The data in this post is from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget and highlights what industries and occupations that Department predicts will grow and lose positions between 2014 and 2024 in the Detroit Metro area.

The data below shows expected growth rates, by percentage and numbers, for all the major industries. According to the data, the construction industry is expected to the experience the overall largest growth rate in the Metro-Detroit region at 14 percent. When digging deeper into the data we see that the sub-industries of heavy civil engineering construction and specialty trade contractors had among the highest projected growth rates at 23.1 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively (see Chart 2).   The professional and business services industry is projected to have the second highest growth rate at 13 percent. This growth is largely supported by the 17.2 percent growth rate projected for the professional, technical and scientific sub-industry, which is categorized under professional business services. Just as heavy civil engineering construction ranked atop the projected growth list for the sub-industries, the professional, technical and scientific sub-industry ranked second (see Chart 2).

When examining the raw numbers, professional and business services is expected to add the largest number of industry jobs at about 48,000. The professional, technical and scientific sub-industry makes up about 32,000 of these positions. As shown in Chart 3 though, professional, technical and scientific sub-industry ranks second when examining the numbers, the health care and social assistance industry ranks at the top with an anticipated number of about 33,000 positions to be added.

The only major industry in the region that is expected to experience a loss is government. The data projects a 3 percent loss of positions between 2014 and 2024. When looking at the sub-industry data we see that that loss is anticipated to come from the federal government side, as highlighted in the Chart 3. The Postal Service is expected to experience a 21.1 percent loss, or about 2,000 jobs, and the federal government is expected experience a 3.5 percent loss, or about 2,600 jobs (see Chart 5). The only government sub-industry that is projected to experience growth between 2014 and 2024 is local government; this sub-industry is expected to have a 2.2 percent growth rate.

In addition to examining industry growth in Metro-Detroit we are also looking into occupational growth. The first chart below, Chart 4, shows the projected percentage growth, or decline, of each major industry as defined by the the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The Computer and Mathematical Occupations has the highest projected rate of growth at about 18 percent and among the highest number of anticipated jobs to be added at about 11,600 (Chart 6).

The Healthcare Support Occupations has the second highest anticipated growth rate at 16 percent, but it is the Healthcare Practitioners Occupation that is expected to add the most number of positions, as shown in Chart 7, at 12,785. For the Computer and Mathematical Occupations category, the sub-occupations of Statistician and Operations Research Analyst ranked among the highest for project growth at 41 and 37 percent, respectively, but combined these two occupations are expected to add a total of 470 jobs. As shown in Chart 9, Mechanical Engineers (5,280), Home Health Aides (4,815) and Customer Service Representatives (4,735) are the top three sub-occupations expected to add the highest number of positions between 2014 and 2024 (the number of positions expected to be added through sub-occupations combined are the total number of positions expected to be added to the occupation categories).

The sub-occupation that ranked highest for expected rate of growth was credit councilor, which has a projected growth rate of 41.7 percent, as shown in Chart 8. Credit Councilors fall under the Business and Financial Operations Occupation and are expected to add 340 jobs.

The final two charts in this post show that the occupations with the largest anticipated rate of decline are those that are becoming obsolete, largely due to technology. For example, in Chart 9, the percentage of telephone operators needed between 2014 and 2024 is expected to decline by 48 percent and the percentage of photographic processors is expected to decline by 38 percent. When examining just the numbers, as shown in Chart 10, bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks are expected to lose the largest total number of positions at 1,245, followed by postal service mail carrier (900) and press machine setters and operators (840).

Overall, this data set shows that healthcare and business, including computer technologies, and construction are the industries expected to support predicted job growth in Metro-Detroit through 2024, with the occupations that support these industries expected to follow similar growth.

It is important that numbers versus percentages be paid attention to when understanding the economic future of Detroit, because, as our post shows, percentage of growth for certain occupations may be high but a further look at the numbers shows that the total number of positions currently available and expected to be offered in the future remain small in some of these categories with high percentage increases.

But, both the raw numbers and percentages for healthcare, business and computer and construction industries and occupations give some idea of the future of jobs in the Detroit area over the next six years.

Populations Living with Disabilities, in Poverty Overlap in Metro-Detroit

In 2016 Royal Oak Charter Township had the highest percentage of residents with disabilities at 29 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The five cities in the region with the highest percentage of residents with disabilities were:

Royal Oak charter township 29
Hazel Park city 25.8
Port Huron city 23.7
Memphis city 22.6
Highland Park city 22

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the determination of an individual’s disability status is complex, as it is an umbrella concept that covers various aspects of an individual’s health. For the American Community Survey (ACS), the data set on which this post is based, individuals self-report if they have a disability based on standardized questions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, per section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act.

Regionally, the average percentage of residents with a disability was 12.5 percent. Of the 210 communities for which data was available, 90 communities had more than 12.5 percent of the population classified as having disabilities. The map shows that the eastern portion of the region, from Monroe County up through St. Clair County, had the most communities in Southeastern Michigan with above average percentages of residents with disabilities. Several of these communities also had among the highest poverty rates.

The City of Detroit is an example of a community with above average disability and poverty rates. In 2016, 21.7 percent of the population in Detroit had a disability, and 39.4 percent were living at or below the poverty level. The average poverty rate for Southeastern Michigan in 2016 was 10.3, according to the ACS. The second map below further highlights how the Census tracts with among the highest percentages of the population living with a disability also had some of the highest rates of those residents living in poverty. There were 30 Census tracts where between about 68 and 86 percent of the populations had a disability and was living in poverty. Conversely, there were also about 29 Census tracts where less than 30 percent of the population had a disability and was living in poverty. Overall though, majority of the Detroit’s population that had a disability was living in poverty, according to the 2016 ACS data.

Research shows that those living in poverty have a higher risk of having a disability because they have more limited access to basic necessities (clean water, health care), are more likely to live in more dangerous environments (low quality housing, closer to natural disaster zones and environmental hazards) and are more likely to accept high risk jobs. Conversely, people with a disability have a higher chance of living in poverty due to higher costs of living as it relates to medical care and the limited opportunities that may occur due to the disability. Disability can, thus, be viewed as both a cause and consequence of poverty.

The information below shows the communities with the highest disability rates in the region, along with their poverty rates. All five of the communities, with the exception of Memphis, had above average disability and poverty rates. In 2016, the average percentage of residents in Southeastern Michigan living with a disability was 12.5, and the average percentage of residents living below the poverty line was 10.3.

Disability Rate Poverty Rate
Royal Oak Charter Township 29 31.5
Hazel Park 25.8 25.2
Port Huron 23.7 27.8
Memphis 22.6 8.8
Hazel Park 22 46.8

 

Overall, these data add to the narrative that poverty is a cause and consequence of disability.

Monroe’s Water Lead Levels Highest in Southeastern Michigan

In 1991 the Lead and Copper Rule was implemented by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a means to help prevent exposure to lead and copper. According to the rule, if lead concentrations in drinking water exceed 15 parts per billion (ppb) in more than 10 percent of customer’s taps sampled, additional controls must be taken to prevent corrosion. According to a recent MLive article, which compiled Michigan Department of Environmental Quality lead testing data from water systems throughout the State of Michigan, the City of Monroe was the only public water system in Southeastern Michigan that had lead levels that reached the federal threshold. According to the data, which states testing ended on Dec. 31, 2016, the City of Monroe’s 90th percentile for lead was 15 ppb. For comparison, the data showed that between January and June of 2017 Flint’s 90th percentile for lead was 7 ppb.

In Southeastern Michigan, there were only three public water systems (for which data was available) with lead concentration levels above Flint’s. Those systems were located in:

  • Grosse Pointe Shores: 9 ppb
  • Capac: 7ppb
  • Marysville: 12 ppb

Conversely, there were 77 public water systems in Southeastern Michigan for which data was available, with zero lead tested in the water system.

While the data shows the lead levels are improving in Flint, this data also shows how the region’s, and the state’s, water systems need continuous monitoring and the infrastructure needs regular maintenance. According to a Brookings article (link), the federal government is only responsible for less than a quarter of the spending on all 51,000 plus public water systems in the country. This means, local and state governments must bare the brunt of the cost to ensure citizens have access to a clean, reliable water source. In Southeastern Michigan, a large portion of the region’s water system is overseen by the Great Lakes Water Authority. This government agency is regional authority that was created to ensure larger purchasing power is available for infrastructure improvements. This is one step the region has taken in recent years to ensure clean water remains available to the residents of Southeastern Michigan.

Southeastern Michigan’s Population Slightly Increases, Auto Sales and Unemployment Decreases

  • Detroit and Wayne County suffered the loss of populations between 2015 and 2016, while some of the region’s outermost communities experienced growth;
  • The unemployment rate decreased at the State and local levels(monthly);
  • Regionally, Livingston County’s unemployment rate remains the lowest;
  • The Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to increase monthly and annually while national mortgage rates are became higher than those throughout the State and the City of Detroit.
  • Auto sales took a dip between 2016 and 2017, while employment in auto manufacturing increased

The City of Detroit remained the most populated City in Michigan, according to 2016 Census data. However, Detroit’s population numbers continued to decline. In 2016, it was reported that the City of Detroit had a population of 683,443 and in 2015 the population was at 690,074. This 6,631 person population loss was equivalent to nearly a 1 percent loss in population. Aside from Detroit remaining as the most populated city regionally, and statewide, the other four of the top five most populated cities in Southeastern Michigan were: Warren (135,069), Sterling Heights (131,674), Ann Arbor (118,087) and Clinton Township (99,193). Of all the five communities, Detroit was the only City to lose residents. Of the 210 communities for which data was available was available for, 98 lost residents between 2015 and 2016.

Overall, while population gain, and loss, between cities wasn’t extreme, the trend of some of the region’s most rural communities growing continued. For example, Greenwood Township in St. Clair County grew by about 800 people, which was about an 8 percent increase. In terms of percent change, the top 10 communities that experienced growth, ranging from percent change increases of 5.8 to 1.8 percent, were all located outside of the region’s urban centers, with the exception of Ypsilanti. This narrative is further strengthened by the fact that, at the County level, four counties that grew in population between 2015 and 2016. Those four were Oakland, Washtenaw, Livingston and Macomb counties. As the map shows, majority of the communities in these counties experienced no more than a 0.21 population loss, if a loss occurred at all. In terms of percent change, Washtenaw County grew the most at 1.13 percent, which was equivalent to an additional about 4,000 people calling Washtenaw County home. Conversely, Wayne County experienced the greatest population loss in the county at -0.64 percent, which was equivalent to about a 11, 375 people leaving the county between 2015 and 2016. Despite the population loss, Wayne County remains the most populated county in the region with 1,767,593 residents.

When examining the bigger picture, the data shows that, as a whole, Southeastern Michigan grew by about 3,700 residents between 2015 and 2016. In 2016 there were 4,716,448 residents and in 2015 there were 4,712,709.

In November of 2017 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 4.6, a slight increase from the October unemployment rate of 4.5, according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate for November was 0.3 points below what it was in November of 2016.

The City of Detroit unemployment rate was reported to be 2.6 points lower in November of 2017 than what it was reported at in November of 2016. For November 2017 the unemployment rate was reported at 7.8; in 2016 it was reported to be 10.4.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for November of 2016 and 2017. Wayne County had the highest unemployment rates for both 2016 and 2017 (5.7 and 4.5 percent, respectively). In November of 2017, Livingston County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.8 while Washtenaw County had the lowest rate in 2016 at 2.9. By November of 2017, Washtenaw County’s unemployment rate increased to 3.1. In November of 2017, Washtenaw and Monroe counties were the only two in the region that had unemployment rates higher than in November of 2016.

Wayne and St. Clair counties were the only two in the region with unemployment rates at or above 4 percent in 2017.

Wayne County had the largest unemployment rate decrease between November 2016 and 2017 at 1.3. In November of 2017 Wayne County had a unemployment rate of 4.5, and in 2016 that rate was 5.7.

Data on the national, state and local average 30-year mortgage interest rates show rates increasing across all three from September to December. These rates were provided by bankrate.com, which does a national survey of large lenders on a weekly basis. As a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is the most traditional form of home financing, we chose it to show the rate differences.

It was the national interest rate with the highest average for in December of 2017 at 4.09, which was 1.1 points higher than the last time we examined this data, which was in September of 2017 .

In December of 2017 Detroit’s average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate was 4.03, a rate that was higher than the state average. It showed an increase after declining from March through September.

The above charts show 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 $117,850 in November 2017; this was $1,170 higher than the average family dwelling price in May. Also, the November 2017 price was an increase of $8,060 from June of 2016 and an increase of $14,440 from November of 2015 and an increase of $20,560 from November of 2014.

According to data from a recent Wall Street Journal article, overall year-to-date auto sales for the Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Chrysler all declined between 2016 and 2017. This data includes sales of domestic and import cars and trucks. Chrysler suffered the biggest hit, according to the data, with an 8.9 percent total decrease in sales. Ford suffered a .9 percent decrease in sales and General Motors suffered a 1.4 percent decrease.

Of all the automotive companies, American and international, General Motors had the largest percent of market share in 2017 at about 17 percent with about 3 million sales.

Between 2010 and 2017 employment in both the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts manufacturing employment sectors has grown in the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2010 there were 45,100 employees in the motor vehicle employment manufacturing sector and 18,400 in the motor vehicle parts manufacturing sector for an over all total of 63,500. By 2017 there 71,500 employees in the motor vehicle manufacturing employment sector, a number that has steadily increased over the last eight years. For the motor vehicle parts manufacturing sector there were 27,100 employees. The total across both sectors in 2017 was 98,600. So, compared to 2010, these two have increased overall by 35,100, more than 50 percent. However, the rate of increase for vehicle manufacturing has slowed, while the rate for parts manufacturing has stabilized, after a slight drop.

Food Least Accessible for Detroit in Southeastern Michigan

Throughout Southeastern Michigan the City of Detroit had the highest number of Census tracts with the lowest access to food sources, according to 2015 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). For the purpose of this post, low income is defined as Census tracts with a poverty rate of 20 percent of higher or with a median family income less than 80 percent of median family income for the state or metropolitan area. Areas with low access to food are identified as Census tracts having 33 percent of the population living within a certain mileage from a grocery store. In this post these areas are identified by either being a half-mile or mile from a grocery store in an urban area and 10 miles in a rural area (these differences are identified in each map below). According to the USDA, none of the counties and/or Census tracts in Southeastern Michigan are identified as rural, so the 10 mile rural identifier will not be used in this post.

Half-mile  Mile

When examining the Southeastern Michigan region for the number of Census tracts with low-income families and low access to food sources within a half-mile majority of the City of Detroit is highlighted in the map below, in addition to Hamtramck and Highland Park. There were also several Census tracts just outside the border of Detroit, in areas including Warren, Eastpointe, Dearborn, Hazel Park and Southfield, that had low incomes and low access to reliable food sources. While there were several Census tracts in every one of the seven counties in the Southeastern Michigan region, it was Wayne County that had the had the highest number of residents with low incomes and low access to grocery stores within a half-mile of residents’ homes.

A closer look at just the Census tracts in the City of Detroit show that there were only a select number of pockets in the City that were not considered low income and also had access to a grocery store closer than a half-mile. One such area that stands out is the downtown area. Other areas include the Denby, Cody Rouge and West Village neighborhoods.

In Washtenaw County, it was the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area that had the highest number of Census tracts with low-income families not having access to grocery stores and in Oakland County, beyond those Census tracts that border Detroit, it was the Pontiac that had the most number of low-income residents with low access to food options. In the less densely populated counties in the region (Monroe, St. Clair, Livingston) there was an average of about three Census tracts with a poverty rate of 20 percent of higher or with a median family income less than 80 percent of median family income and access to a grocery store more than a half-mile away.

One Mile

When the radius was expanded to one mile, the number of Census tracts without access to grocery stores dramatically decreased. The most notable decrease in the region was in the City of Detroit. In the maps below there are only about 20 Census tracts in the City of Detroit with a poverty rate of 20 percent of higher or with a median family income less than 80 percent of median family income and access to a grocery store more than a mile away. In the maps above, which depict access within a half-mile, nearly the entire City is highlighted for low income and low access. A notable difference due to access between a half-mile and mile can also be seen in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area.

Throughout Livingston, Monroe and St. Clair counties there was a minimum decrease in the number of Census tracts with a poverty rate of 20 percent of higher or with a median family income less than 80 percent of median family income and access to a grocery store more than a half-mile away.

Low Income and Low Vehicle Access

The maps below identify low-income Census tracts where more than 100 housing units did not have a vehicle and were more than a half-mile from the nearest grocery store. When applying these variables we see there was an overall fewer number of Census tracts without access than when only looking at access, despite transportation accessibility. This was particularly true throughout Wayne County and in Census tracts just north of Wayne County. In Detroit, the highest concentration of Census tracts with more than 100 housing units not having a vehicle and that were more than a half-mile from the nearest grocery store were those on the west side of the City along Livernois Avenue.

In examining the data provided by the USDA, we see that regionally it was the City of Detroit, its inner-ring suburbs that had the highest number of low-income families with among the lowest access to food due to the location of grocery stores in 2015. To help support access to grocery stores, a robust public transportation network could be one solution, particularly in Detroit and its surrounding cities. Additionally, it is also important to understand the impact low incomes have on families when it comes to accessing healthy foods. While grocery stores may be within a half-mile or mile from a home, once an individual reaches a grocery store the chances of them purchasing fresh, non-processed foods may not be as high due to cost, and quite possibly access within the store. To support access to fresh foods in urban areas like the City of Detroit the Detroit Food Justice Task Force recommends policies that allow for more support of neighborhood famers markets and small businesses and research that identifies the food needs of neighborhoods throughout the City.

Maternal Deaths Highest in Detroit

A look into the pregnancy related death rates in Southeastern Michigan showed that the City of Detroit had higher rates from 2008-13 (combined) than any other governmental unit reported for the region. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says pregnancy related deaths are those when a woman dies while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy from any cause related to, or aggravated by, pregnancy or its management. According to MDHHS data, the pregnancy related death rate for Detroit was 44.4 per 100,000 babies from 2007-13 (44.4 total). Pregnancy associated deaths, by contrast are those that occur while a woman is pregnant or within a year of pregnancy irrespective of cause; these deaths can include suicide, drug overdoses or medical causes such as cancer. The rate for Detroit was 62.7 per 100,000 babies for pregnancy associated deaths (48 total) from 2007-13. When comparing pregnancy associated deaths and pregnancy related deaths, the data shows that there were overall higher rates for pregnancy associated deaths. This is likely because pregnancy associated deaths encompasses a broader range of causes of death.

As stated, the data provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows that Detroit had the highest rate of pregnancy related death and pregnancy associated death rates in the region. For pregnancy related deaths, Wayne County had the lowest rate at 9.5 per 100,000 babies (9 total), for the counties where data were available. Wayne County’s rate excludes the deaths in the City of Detroit. In Southeastern Michigan pregnancy related rates for Livingston, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties were not available because there were five or less deaths.

For pregnancy associated deaths Oakland County had the overall lowest rate at 28.6 (7 total). In Southeastern Michigan, pregnancy associated rates for Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties were not available because there were five or less deaths.

According to an article from the Detroit News, high maternal death rates are related to chronic health conditions and high rates of poverty, both of which are common in Detroit.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services does not have data for 2014 and 2015 because it had not been reviewed by the State’s maternal death committees, as of early December, according to a representative from the department. In early 2017, Public Act 479 of 2016 was signed into law making maternal death reporting mandatory. Prior to this law reporting was voluntary.

Southeastern Michigan Poverty Levels Drop Slightly

Throughout Southeastern Michigan, majority of the communities in the region experienced a decrease in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level between 2015 to 2016, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2016, a family of four was considered to be living at the poverty level with an annual income of $24,250, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; this was the same for 2015.

Southeastern Michigan was -0.2 percent. However, Summerfield Township in Monroe County experienced a 7 percent increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level between 2015 and 2016. In 2015, 9 percent of residents in Summerfield Township lived below the poverty level and in 2016, 16 percent of residents lived below the poverty level. Of the 28 municipalities (out of 213 in Southeastern Michigan) where there was a 1 percent or higher increase in the poverty level between 2015 and 2016, the majority were located in the rural suburbs of the region.

 

The municipality with the largest percentage decrease in residents living in poverty was Port Huron Township in St. Clair County at -5 percent. In 2015, 23 percent of the residents in Port Huron Township lived below the poverty level and by 2016 that decreased to 18 percent.

While there was an overall average decrease in the percentage of residents living in poverty between 2015 to 2016, the two cities with the highest overall percentage of residents living below the poverty level experienced an increase. In 2016, about 50 percent of the residents in Hamtramck lived below the poverty level; this was a 2.4 percent increase from 2015. In 2016, Highland Park had about 47 percent of its residents living below the poverty level, which was an increase of 2.5 percent.

 

Detroit

In 2016, about 39 percent of residents in Detroit lived below the poverty level, which was a decrease of 1 percent from 2015. A closer look at the Census tracts in Detroit though show that poverty levels did not decrease across the board. One Census tract specifically, which is located along the Detroit River in Southwest Detroit, experienced a 49 percent increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level. In addition to that Census tract, several others surrounding it also experienced poverty level increases up to 19 percent.

When looking at the Census tracts east of Hamtramck, with the exception of seven, all experienced a decrease in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level. It was this area of the City of Detroit that had the fewest number of Census tracts with percentage increases in the poverty level but also had among the highest poverty levels in 2016. It was just west of Highland Park though that had the most number of Census tracts with poverty levels below 35 percent in 2016.

Overall, the most recent poverty data released by the U.S. Census Bureau does show that poverty levels are decreasing, but not a rapid rate. The data also shows that there were 19 municipalities in the region with 20 percent or more of residents living below the poverty level. While this was a decrease from the 23 municipalities with the same statistic in 2015, the numbers still tell a story that Southeastern Michigan isn’t climbing out of poverty rapidly. We will need many years of broad based economic growth to reduce poverty levels substantially.

Detroit Childhood Poverty Increases 23 Percent Since 2000

Childhood poverty in Detroit has increased about 23 percent since 2000 and about 10 percent since 2010, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2015 it was reported that the percentage of children under the age of 18 living in poverty in Detroit was 57.1 percent. This is compared to 46.9 in 2010 and 33.9 in 2000.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the poverty threshold for an individual in 2015 was an annual earning of $11,770 and for a family of four it was $24,250.  In 2010 the poverty threshold for an individual was $10,830 and for a family of four it was $22,050. In 2000 the poverty threshold for an individual was $8,350 for a family of four was $17,050.

2015

In 2015, there were 29 Census tracts where between 76 and 98 percent of children were living in poverty. Of these Census tracts, 14 were located east of Hamtramck, with four located along Gratiot Avenue (the southern portion). On the western side of the City of Detroit, there were five Census tracts with between 76 and 98 percent of children were living in poverty along Grand River Avenue. Also, there were seven Census tracts with between 76 and 98 percent of children living in poverty west of Livernois Avenue.

2010

In 2010 the percentage of children living in poverty in Detroit was 47 percent. The majority of the Census tracts west of Livernois Avenue had less than 56 percent of children living in poverty. There were 29 Census tracts where more than 72 percent of children were living in poverty and 25 of those were located east of Livernois Avenue.

2000

In 2000, 34 percent of children were living in poverty; this was the lowest percentage among the three years being compared in this post. A look at the map shows that majority of the Census tracts on the west side of the City had less than 31 percent of children living in poverty. Just west of Livernois Avenue is where majority of the Census tracts with more than 42 percent of children living in poverty were located. In total, there were 19 Census tracts where 53 percent or more of children lived in poverty in 2000.

Child Poverty Percent Change 2000-15

Between 2000 and 2015 there was a 23 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty in Detroit. A large part of that increase came from 36 Census tracts where there were percentage increases between 43 and 79 percent of children living in poverty. A handful of these Census tracts were located along Grand River Avenue. One of those Census tracts was the same as one of the 2015 Census tracts with the highest percentage of children living in poverty. In addition to large percentage increases in areas along the Grand River and Gratiot corridors, there were also two clusters of Census tracts in Detroit where there were increases between 43 and 79 percent of children living in poverty. One cluster was in the eastern portion of the City in the Denby neighborhood area, and the other was in the eastern portion of the City in the Brightmoor/Cody area. While majority of the Census tracts in the City experienced percentage increases in the percent of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2015, there were a number of Census tracts that experienced percentage decreases. While there weren’t large clusters experiencing such decreases, many of these Census tracts were located in the central area of Detroit.

Child Poverty Percent Change 2010-15

Between 2010 and 2015 there was a 10 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty. The map shows there were fewer Census tracts that experienced the highest tier of percentage increases for children living in poverty for the 2010-15 time frame than the 2000-15 time frame. In total, there

were 26 Census tracts where there was between a 40 and 85 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty in Detroit. Of these Census tracts, four were located along Grand River Avenue and another three were located along Gratiot Avenue.. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there were about 30 Census tracts with decreases between 21 and 69 percent in the percentage of children living in poverty. There were about 10 more Census tracts in the 2010-15 time frame than the 2000-15 time that experienced the highest tier in percentage decreases in the percentage of children living in poverty.

This deep dive into the percentage of children living in poverty in Detroit in 2015, and how those percentages have changed since 2000 and 2010, shows that poverty in the City is increasing across most neighborhoods, though the pace and breadth of increases has slowed since 2010. Our previous posts show that regionally childhood poverty is increasing at a faster rate than overall poverty levels, and Detroit is no exception to this. In our last post we suggested the need for job development and training in Detroit neighborhoods to allow individuals-particularly young adults-to have greater opportunities to participate in the labor force. Such opportunities for Detroit residents would also be an avenue to decrease the rate of childhood poverty.