Between 2000 and 2015 median incomes in cities and townships throughout Southeastern Michigan declined by an average of 20 percent, according to U.S. Census Data. This percentage, and all percentages discussed in this post were adjusted to 2015 dollars to best show the true decline in incomes throughout the region. (Note that this percentage is the average across cities and townships, each treated equally. Therefore it will be different from a number aggregated across individuals as opposed to municipalities.)
In our last post we highlighted how the city of Bloomfield Hills had the highest median income at $172,768 in 2015. This data shows that incomes for Southeastern Michigan’s highest income community decreased by 26.5 percent overall from 2000 through 2015, but this broken down between a 36.7 percent decline between 2000 and 2010 and a 16 percent increase between 2010 and 2015. These statistics further add weight to the narrative that the wealthiest are financially bouncing back much more quickly since the recession, while the middle class and low income families have been making minimal gains, at best. Between 2010 and 2015 there were 15 communities where median incomes increased at least 20 percent. Of those communities, the average median income in 2015 was about $77,000 while the average median income for the region was about $66,500. In total, there were 117 communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced an increase in median income between 2010 and 2015. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were 10 communities with median incomes above $80,000 in 2015 that experienced a decline in median income between 2010 and 2015; of those 10 communities seven experienced a decline of less than 5 percent.
Between 2000 and 2010 there were only 5 communities that experienced median income growth. Overall though, the average change in median income (adjusted) between 2000 and 2010 was negative 22 percent; there were 136 communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced median income declines above 20 percent during that time frame.
There were 117 communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced an increase in median income between 2010 and 2015. These communities showed an average increase of almost 10 percent. At the same time, 91 communities in the region experienced decreases in median income by an average of roughly 6 percent. Between 2010 and 2015 median incomes in all of Southeastern Michigan increased by an average of nearly 3 percent.
While the data shows a modest median income growth post recession (2010 to 2015), median incomes were down by approximately 20 percent in 2015 compared to what they were in 2000. Since then, there have been only 5 communities that have experienced any median income growth—City of Northville, Sylvan Township, City of Plymouth, Ira Township and City of Memphis. All of these communities experienced an increase in median incomes under 10 percent, with two of them being lower that 5 percent. The other 203 communities in the region exhibited decreases in median incomes by an average of almost 21 percent between 2000 and 2015. It is clear that majority of the regional population is still trying to earn back the wages that once existed in the early years of this century.
The city of Hamtramck experienced one of the largest decline at 34 percent. For the city of Hamtramck, there was an even larger decrease in the adjusted median income between 2000 and 2015 than there was between 2000 and 2010. In 2000 the median income for Hamtramck (adjusted to 2015 dollars) was $36,634 and in 2015 it was reported at $23,759; overall there was a 35 percent decrease. The city, which has one of the region’s lowest median incomes, also experienced a decline in median income between 2010 and 2015.
The city of Detroit is another community where the median income decreased since both 2000 and 2010. According to the data, Detroit experienced a 36 percent median income decrease since 2000 and a 9 percent median income decrease since 2010. In 2000 the median income was reported at about $40,000 (adjusted for inflation) and in 2010 it was reported at about $28,000 (adjusted for inflation). The 2015 median income for the city of Detroit was about $25,000.
Overall, the data show that economic growth since the recession has been slow, at best. Majority of the communities in Southeastern Michigan have yet to recover to their adjusted 2000 incomes. Studies suggest that has to do with several factors, including job availability, average wages, out migration and educational attainment. In this series, we will further explore these factors to better help highlight why the growth has been so slow and what areas are suffering the most.