Labor Force Participation Declines Throughout Much of Southeastern Michigan

Of the 212 communities in Southeastern Michigan for which labor force data was available from the American Community Survey, 119 experienced a decrease in the percentage of 16-64 year olds in the labor force between 2010 and 2015. Alternately examining the 16 years of age and up population, 135 of the 212 communities experienced a decrease. Port Huron Township in St. Clair County experienced the largest decline in its labor force for both the 16-64 year old population and the 16 and up population. For the 16-64 year old population the decline was 17.1 percent. In 2015, 74.7 percent of the 16-64 year old population in Port Huron Township was part of the labor force, and by 2015 that had declined to 61.9 percent. For the 16 and up population, Port Huron Township had a 19 percent decline in its labor force participation rate between 2010 and 2015, making that the largest decrease in the region. In 2010, 64.6 percent of Port Huron Township’s 16 and up population was in the labor force and by 2015 that declined to 52.4 percent.

While majority of the region experienced declines in the labor force participation rate, some communities experienced substantial increases. For the 16 and up population there were five communities with a percent change increase above 20 percent between 2010 and 2015. The city of Memphis had the largest percent change between 2010 and 2015 at 25.9 percent. In 2010, 61 percent of the population was participating in the labor force, and by 2015 that number increased to 76.8 percent. For the 16-64 year old population there were only three communities where the percent increase in labor force participation rates was above 10 percent. Summerfield Township in Monroe County had the largest percent increase for the 16-64 year old population at 14 percent. In 2010, 71 percent of the 16-64 year olds participated in the work force in Summerfield Township, and by 2015 that increased to 81.2 percent.

Overall, this post shows that majority of Southeastern Michigan has experienced a decline the percentage of individuals participating in the labor force since 2010. For labor force participation, there is a clear tendency for inner ring suburbs of Detroit to show moderate or substantial declines. Exurban townships evidenced some of the highest increases in labor force participation.

Labor Force Participation Lowest in Highland Park

In 2015 the Labor Force participation rate throughout Southeastern Michigan was the lowest in Highland Park (at 58%) for those 16 and above[1] , according to the American Community Survey. For reference, the rate average rate nationally was 62.4% in September 2015. By August 2017, it was 62.9.

As the maps below show, both high and low labor force participation is generally concentrated on the two sides of Eight Mile Road, just across county borders–low in northern Wayne County in the Detroit and Highland Park area, high in southern Oakland County in the Ferndale area.

An individual is considered part of the labor force if they have a job or are actively seeking one. The labor force participation rate is the percentage of adults who are members of the labor force.

[1] 16 and above refers to all ages including those above 64.

 

For those 16 and older the City of Highland Park had the lowest labor force participation rate in the region at 58 percent for those 16 and older and 54 percent for those between the ages of 16-64. In the City of Detroit the labor for participation for those 16 and older was 63 percent; it was 53 percent for those between the ages of 16 and 64. While there was a pocket of Wayne County where the labor force participation rate wasn’t above 55.2 percent for those 16 and older and above 65 percent for those between 16 and 64, the majority of the region had labor force participation rates between 62.2 percent and 71.4 percent for those aged 16 and older and between 72.7 percent and 80.5 percent for those between the ages of 16 and 64. Just as there was a concentration of low labor force participation in Wayne County in and around Detroit, there was a concentration of the highest labor force participation markets in southern Oakland County in the Ferndale/Royal Oak area. In Royal Oak the labor force participation rate was 74.8 percent for those 16 and older and 86.2 percent for those between the ages of 18 and 64. Ferndale had the highest labor force participation rate at for those between ages of 16-64 at 87.9 percent, and for those 16 and older and it was 73.2 percent.

An understanding of the labor force participation rate is important as it is another strong indicator of the economy. Those classified as unemployed may not be active participants of the workforce for a variety of reasons, one of which includes becoming discouraged and stopping seeking employment.

Next week we will look at how the labor force participation rate has changed between 2010 and 2015 and also examine how it correlates to the region’s poverty rates.

Livingston County has Lowest Unemployment Rate in Southeastern Michigan

  • 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 lower than those throughout the State and the City of Detroit.

In August of 2017 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 4.6, a slight decrease from the July unemployment rate of 4.9, according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate for August is about on par with what it was reported to be in August of 2016 which was 4.5.

The City of Detroit unemployment rate was reported to be 3 points lower in August of 2017 than what it was reported at in August of 2016. For August of this year the City’s unemployment rate was reported at 9.4; in 2016 it was reported to be 12.4.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for August of 2016 and 2017. Wayne County had the highest unemployment rates for both 2016 and 2017 (7.4 and 5.5 percent, respectively). In August of 2017, Livingston County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.2 while Washtenaw County had the lowest rate in 2016 at 3.9 (Washtenaw County’s rate remained at 3.9 in August of 2017 too).

Wayne and Monroe counties were the only two in the region with unemployment rates above 4.6 percent in 2017. In 2016 though, Washtenaw County was the only one in the region that had an unemployment rate below 4.5.

St. Clair County had the largest unemployment rate decrease between June 2016 and 2017 at 2 and Wayne County had a decrease of 1.9.

Above are three average 30-year mortgage interest rates at the national, state and local levels. 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 type of home financing this was chosen to show the rate differences.

It was the national interest rate with the lowest average for the week of September 14, 2017 at 3.8, which was 0.23 points lower than the last time we examined this data. This is the first time in the four months we have examined this data that the national interest rate average was lower than the State of Michigan’s.

Also during the week of September 14, 2017 Detroit’s average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate was 4, a rate that was higher than both the national and state averages. This was the lowest we have reported it to be since March.

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 $116,030 in June 2017; this was $1,170 higher than the average family dwelling price in May. Also, the June 2017 price was an increase of $8,130 from June of 2016 and an increase of $13,320 from June of 2015 and an increase of $18,690 from June of 2014.

Community Comparison:Bloomfield Hills, Highland Park

As we’ve been highlighting over the last several weeks in a series of posts focused on median income, poverty levels, housing and educational attainment, it is no longer just the traditionally economically depressed communities that are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession. From the rural communities on the outskirts of the region to the middle-class communities that make up much of Southeastern Michigan, economic recovery has been slow. Of course, some communities continue to fare worse than others throughout the region, and in Southeastern Michigan one community that has suffered a great deal is Highland Park. With a median income of $17,250, an 11 percent increase in the adult poverty level since 2000 and a 36 percent homeownership rate, Highland Park remains one of the most, if not the most, economically depressed community in the state. And, just 20 miles north is the City of Bloomfield Hills, where the median income is nearly 10 times that of Highland Park, the percentage of adults in poverty is about 15 times less, and the homeownership rate is at about 90 percent. The community comparison shown above is simply another visual of the class segregation that exists throughout the region. Despite such a short geographical distance existing between these two communities the socioeconomic differences could not make them seem any farther apart. These vast differences can be, at least in part, attributed to decades of policy decisions that have affected flight from the region’s hub(Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs), homeownership, economic growth, stable education systems, proposed public transportation systems and the lack of effective government responses and collaborations.

 

**All data in the infographic is from the 2015 American Community Survey**

Strong Correlations Exist For High Education Levels and High Incomes Throughout Most of Southeastern Michigan

In our last post we showed there is an area of overlapping high median incomes and high educational attainment running through Washtenaw County, western Wayne County, southern Oakland County and western Macomb County with nearly the opposite—lower median income and lower educational attainment–south of that in the region. In this post, we discuss explicitly the correlation between the levels of education examined in the last post (less than high school education, high school education, associate’s degree or some college education, bachelor’s degree, and graduate/professional degrees) and median incomes. The correlations are calculated for medians and percentages of municipalities across the region.

A correlation is statistical technique that can be used to describe the relationship between two variables. The correlation coefficient, often expressed as ‘r,’ is a numerical value that is always between +1 and -1. When r is closer to +1, it implies a positive correlation; as one variable increases, the other does as well. When r is closer to -1, it implies an inverse correlation; as one variable increases the other decreases. When the value of r is closer to 0 the implication is that there is no relationship between the two sets of data.

Educational Attainment Correlation Value
Achieved less than a high school diploma -0.74
Achieved only a high school diploma -0.71
Achieved some college or an associate’s degree -0.57
Achieved only a bachelor’s degree 0.75
Achieved a graduate or professional degree 0.77

 

Looking first across the region incomes tend to be lower for those municipalities with a higher percentage of people who do not have a high school degree, with a correlation of -0.74. This tends to indicate that less education leads to lower incomes. At the same time, it could mean that people with lower incomes have less of chance of completing their education. For those with a high school diploma the effect was slightly smaller, with a correlation of -0.71, and similarly for those with some college or an associate’s degree the correlation was -0.57.

For those at the upper end of education distribution the opposite holds true—there is a positive correlation between higher educational levels and higher incomes. Across Southeast Michigan for the municipalities with a higher percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree, incomes tend to be higher, with a correlation of 0.75. The relationship between income and educational attainment is even stronger for those who have attained graduate or professional degree, with a correlation of 0.77.

Next we examined these relationships at the county level—for all municipalities in a county. Of the seven counties in the region, Wayne County had the strongest correlations of (0.91) in relation to those with bachelor’s degrees and the median income. For those with graduate or professional degrees in Wayne County the correlation was 0.90 percent.  Monroe County had the weakest correlation value between those with bachelor’s degrees and the median income, with a correlation value of 0.22; it also had the weakest correlation between income and those with graduate or /professional degrees, with a correlation value of at -0.13 percent. Such values for Monroe County indicate that the relationship between higher levels of education attainment and higher median incomes are weakened or reversed in that largely rural setting. For several of the other counties, the correlation between these variables was much greater. In addition to Monroe County having a weak relationship between median income and those with a bachelor’s degree, there was also a weak relationship between those same two variables for St. Clair and, surprisingly, Washtenaw counties. For Washtenaw, it may occur because there are many students with higher education who are still pursuing degrees and have relatively lower incomes.

At the other end of the education spectrum, there exist a strong tendency for lower incomes to be associated with lower levels of education. Each county has either a moderate to strong correlation between incomes and lower levels of education. Monroe County again had the lowest correlations between median income and educational attainment for attainment, this time for less than a high school education and up to a high school education.

Overall, these analyses show a range of correlations across counties between higher median incomes and higher levels of educational attainment, some high and positive, others weak. Monroe County stands out as the only county one where there was a weak correlation between median income and all levels of educational attainment. It could be speculated this is because it is a more rural county and much of the work there relates to agriculture, work that is often learned at home within families.  In southeastern Michigan as a whole, there are relatively strong positive and inverse correlations between incomes and education attainment. There is a positive correlation between those who have achieved a graduate or professional degree and incomes–people with higher education tend to have higher incomes.  There is an inverse relationship between those who have not achieved a high school diploma and incomes–those with less education tend to have lower incomes.

Median Income, Educational Attainment Highlight Segregated Classes in Southeastern Michigan

Using Census data, this post examines the visual correspondence between income and educational attainment across the region. It clearly portrays the continuing association between these two critical variables with one region of high income and high educational achievement arching across the region from Washtenaw County, through Western Wayne County and up through Oakland County and western Macomb County. South of this is a region of lower income and educational attainment with a few islands of higher income and achievement. In all, this represents a strong and largely consolidated portrait of segregated classes in this region.

In Southeastern Michigan the City of Highland Park had the lowest median income at $17,250, with 33 percent of the adult population only having a high school diploma. In terms of educational attainment in Highland Park, those who had some college education or an associate’s degree represented the highest percentage of residents, as opposed to the other categories (less than high school, high school education, bachelor’s degree, graduate or professional degree). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the City of Bloomfield Hills had the highest median income at about $173,000, with the largest percent of its adult population having a graduate or professional degree (38%). Such trends are not unique to Highland Park or Bloomfield Hills.

Above the maps show what the median income of each community is with an overlay that shows what the percentage of educational attainment is at five different levels. These levels are: graduate degree, bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or some college, high school diploma or an equivalency and less than a high school diploma. The overall purpose of each map is to present an image on how educational attainment and at each level may, or may not, relate to the median income.

When looking at the maps above we see that the communities that have more than 18 percent of its adult population with graduate or professional degrees tend have median incomes above $77,000. In total, there were only 10 communities, out of 46, where more than 18 percent of its adult population had graduate or professional degrees but the median income was below $77,000. Of those 10 communities, the City of Ypsilanti had the lowest median income at about $31,000 and 18 percent of its adult population had a graduate or professional degree. The community with the highest percentage of adult residents with a graduate or professional degree  is Ann Arbor, where both the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Hospital are located. The median income for Ann Arbor in 2015 was $103,000. There was no community in Southeastern Michigan where more than 30 percent of the adults had a graduate or professional degree and had a median income below $95,000.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are 154 communities in Southeastern Michigan where 10 percent or more of the adult population had less than a high school education in 2015. The City of Hamtramck had the highest percentage of adults without a high school education at about 31 percent; the City’s median income was about $23,000. There are nine communities in the region where 20 percent or more of the population had less than a high school education. Of those nine communities, with the exception of Lincoln Park, none had a median income above $33,000. The median income in Lincoln Park was $41,000 in 2015. The City of Detroit is included in that list of nine communities, with a median income of about $26,000 and about 22 percent of its adult population having less than a high school education. Additionally, in Detroit, about 32 percent of the adult population had a high school education, and about 32 percent had some college education or an associate’s degree.

The percentage of Detroit residents with a bachelor’s degree was far lower than any of the statistics mentioned above. In Detroit, about 8 percent of residents had a bachelor’s degree in 2015. In terms of the percentage of residents throughout Southeastern Michigan with a bachelor’s degree, the average percentage was 18 percent and the median income was about $66,000.

Regionally, the community with the highest percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree was the Village of Grosse Point at about 62 percent; the city had a median income of about $139,000. The City of River Rouge had the lowest percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree at about 4 percent; it had a median income of approximately $26,000. In total, there were 46 communities in Southeastern Michigan where less than 10 percent of the population had a bachelor’s degree. Exeter Township, located in Livingston County, had the highest median income of the 46 communities that had less than 10 percent of its adult residents with a bachelor’s degree. The median income in Exeter Township was about $68,000.

Overall, this post shows that there is a correlation between median incomes and educational attainment, a deeper conversation that we will dive into next week. The maps and the data show that it is the communities with the higher percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree and/or a graduate degree that have amongst the highest median incomes.

Economy Continues to Improve in Southeastern Michigan

  • The unemployment rate increased at the State and local level (monthly);
  • Regionally, Livingston County’s unemployment rate was 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.

According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan increased throughout the summer. In June of 2017 the state unemployment rate was 4 and by July it rose to 4.9. While there was this increase during the summer months, unemployment rates were lower than those in the winter months, which peaked at 5.3 in February.

The City of Detroit unemployment rate peaked at 12.3 in January and has continued to decline since then. In June, for which the most recent data was available, the unemployment rate was recorded at 7.8, up slightly from 7.5 in May.

According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan increased throughout the summer. In June of 2017 the state unemployment rate was 4 and by July it rose to 4.9. While there was this increase during the summer months, unemployment rates were lower than those in the winter months, which peaked at 5.3 in February.

The City of Detroit unemployment rate peaked at 12.3 in January and has continued to decline since then. In June, for which the most recent data was available, the unemployment rate was recorded at 7.8, up slightly from 7.5 in May.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for June of 2016 and 2017. All but Monroe showed declines across June 2016 to June 2017. Wayne County had the highest unemployment rates for both 2016 and 2017 (6.7 and 4.5 percent, respectively). In 2017, Livingston County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.7 while Washtenaw County had the lowest rate in 2016 at 3.9. Wayne and Monroe counties were the only two in the region with unemployment rates above 4 percent in 2017. In 2016 though, Washtenaw County was the only one in the region that had an unemployment rate below 4.

St. Clair County had the largest unemployment rate decrease between June 2016 and 2017 at 2.5; Monroe County had the lowest at 0.0.

Higher Percentage of Children in Poverty in Southeastern Michigan than Adults

In Southeastern Michigan there is a greater percentage of children under the age of 18 living in poverty in several communities than there is adults living in the same circumstances. Not only is this the case in the region, but also, the percentage of children living in poverty has increased at a more rapid rate since 2000 than it has for those between the ages of 18-64 and for those above the age of 65. This is sad state of affairs.

All data presented here is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and 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.

In the year 2000 the following five municipalities had the highest percentage of children under the age of 18 living in poverty:

  • Highland Park: 45 percent
  • Hamtramck: 36.4 percent
  • Ecorse: 34.9 percent
  • Detroit: 33.9 percent
  • River Rouge: 30.9 percent

In 2010 the municipalities with the highest percentage of children population living in poverty shifted to the following:

  • Highland Park: 58.5 percent
  • Hamtramck: 58.5 percent
  • Ecorse: 51.9 percent
  • Detroit: 46.9 percent
  • Memphis: 46 percent

By 2015 the percentage of children living in poverty had increased still further throughout the region, as can particularly be seen by the top five communities with the highest percentage of children living in poverty. These communities were:

  • Highland Park: 63.8 percent
  • Hamtramck: 62. Percent
  • Detroit: 57.1 percent
  • Inkster: 56.7 percent
  • River Rouge: 54.4 percent

 

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2010

Between 2000 and 2010 the LaSalle Township experienced the highest percentage increase of children residing in poverty at 28.4 percent. LaSalle, being a more rural suburban community in Southeastern Michigan, was not the only community with such characteristics to find itself atop the list with the highest percentage increases. Of the 46 communities that experienced more than a 10 percent increases in the percentage of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2010, 11 were inner-ring suburbs.  Detroit experienced a 13 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2010; Highland Park experienced a 12.8 percent increase and Hamtramck experienced a 22 percent increase. Overall, there were only 39 communities that experienced either no increase in the percentage of children residing in poverty or a decline in the percentage.

When comparing the increase in the percentage of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2010 we see that for both adults between the ages of 18-64 and those over the age of 65, neither group experienced an increase above 17 percent. For children under the age of 18, there were 12 communities where the increase in the percentage of children living in poverty was above 17 percent.

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2010-2015

Between 2010 and 2015 there were 32 communities in Southeastern Michigan where there was more than a 10 percent increase in percentage of children living in poverty. Of these communities, the top five were nearly all more rural, suburban communities. These communities were:

  • Richmond (city): 35.2 percent
  • Belleville: 24 percent
  • St. Clair: 23.3 percent
  • Melvindale: 23.2 percent
  • Sumpter Township: 21.7 percent

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2015

Between 2000 and 2015 there were 64 communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced over a 10 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty since 2000 and 173 communities that experienced an increase above 0.01 percent. The top five communities with the largest increases were:

  • Richmond (city): 31.6 percent
  • Inkster: 28.6 percent
  • Royal Oak Township: 28 percent
  • Sumpter Township: 27.6 percent
  • Eastpointe: 26 percent

During this time span we do see that there is a greater number of inner-ring suburbs that experienced increases above 10 percent than there were during the 2000 to 2010 time frame. However, as the map shows above, the suburbs were not protected from the, in some cases drastic, increases in the percentage of children living in poverty.  And, just as the increases were drastic for several communities throughout Southeastern Michigan, they were also far greater than the percentage increases of adults between the ages of 18-64 and those above 65 living poverty during the same time period. For those between the ages of 18-64 the highest percentage increase of those living in poverty was River Rouge at 21 percent. For those above the age of 65 the City of Hamtramck experienced the largest increase at 13.5 percent.

Overall, the data presented in this post conveys two strong messages: Southeastern Michigan has a greater percentage of children living in poverty than adults and the elderly, and the percentage of children living in poverty has been increasing at a faster rate than the adults living in the region. Additionally, the data presented in this post again shows the theme that poverty levels aren’t only increasing in the region’s urban areas, but also in the suburbs and more rural areas.

Southeastern Michigan Suburbs Experience Highest Poverty Increases for Elderly

Since the year 2000 several municipalities in Southeastern Michigan have had consistently the highest percentages of residents over the age of 65 living at or below the poverty level–Highland Park, Hamtramck, Detroit. Remarkably, however, as this post demonstrates the biggest increases in poverty among older adults were in suburbs.

At the same time, the percentage of elderly residents living below the poverty line in Southeastern Michigan municipalities is below that of those between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty. Regionally, in 2015 about 10.3 percent of residents between the ages of 18-64 lived in poverty and about 6.5 percent of residents over the age of 65 and older lived in poverty.

All this poverty data is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tell us 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.

In the year 2000 the following five municipalities had the highest percentage of residents over the age of 65 living in poverty:

 

 

  • Royal Oak Charter Township: 32.1%
  • Highland Park: 28.8%
  • Memphis: 19.4%
  • Detroit: 17.9%
  • Hamtramck: 17.4%

 

In 2010 the municipalities with the highest percentage of elderly living in poverty shifted to the following:

 

  • Hamtramck: 28.6%
  • Highland Park: 26.1%
  • Oak Park: 23.1%
  • Hazel Park; 22.6%
  • Center Line: 21.9%

Most recently, in 2015, we again saw several of the same municipalities in Southeastern Michigan having the highest percentage of elderly living at or below the poverty line. By this time the percentage of elderly in poverty had continued to increase for several of the municipalities.

  • Highland Park: 38.6%
  • Hamtramck: 30.7%
  • Detroit: 20.4%
  • Melvindale: 19.5%
  • Madison Heights: 17.2%

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2010

Between 2000 and 2010 the only inner-ring suburb that ranked in the top five for Southeastern Michigan municipalities with the highest increase in the percentage of elderly living at or below the poverty line was Hamtramck. The top five municipalities that experienced the highest change in those 10 years were:

  • Yale (St. Clair County): 15.6%
  • Hazel Park (Wayne County): 15.1%
  • Brighton (Livingston County): 13.9%
  • Marion (Livingston County): 13.1%
  • Lynn Township (Livingston County) 12%

From 2000 through 2010 for the 213 municipalities for which comparable data was available through the American Community Survey, 84 experienced a decrease in the percentage of residents over the age of 65 living in poverty. On the opposite side of the spectrum, about 20 of the communities that experienced an increase in the percentage of elderly living in poverty were direct suburbs of Detroit. However, between 2000 and 2010, Detroit experienced only a 0.7 increase in the percentage of elderly living in poverty. Highland Park, which has typically ranked at the top for the percentage of residents living in poverty and for percentage increases, experienced a 2.7 percent decrease in the percentage of elderly residents living in poverty between 2000 and 2010.

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2015

Between the years 2000 and 2015, the increase in poverty among older residents was on par with the increases experienced for several municipalities between the years 2000 and 2010. During this time period, the City of Hamtramck experienced the largest increase at 13.5 percent, followed by Berlin Township (St. Clair County) and Melvindale. These were the only three communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced increases above 10 percent in the percentage of elderly residents living in poverty. Additionally, there was an overall increase in the number of communities between 2000 and 2015 that experienced a decrease in the percentage of residents over the age of 65 living in poverty. Of the 213 municipalities for which comparable data was available, 94 experienced a decrease. However, Highland Park experienced about 9 percent increase in the percentage of older residents residing in poverty between 2000 and 2015, and Detroit experienced about a 2.5 percent increase. Still the remarkable trend was the tendency for poverty among older adults to increase in the suburbs.

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2010-2015

Between 2010 and 2015, Highland Park experienced the largest increase in the percentage of residents over the age of 65 living in poverty. During this time frame, Highland Park experienced an increase of about 12.5 percent; Berlin Township followed with an increase at about 10.8 percent. These two communities were the only ones in the region that experienced increases for the percentage of residents over the age of 65 living in poverty above 10 percent between 2010 and 2015.

Additionally, between 2010 and 2015, the number of communities that experienced a decrease in the percentage of elderly residents living in poverty decreased. In total, of the 213 communities for which data was available for, 102 experienced a decrease in the percentage of residents living in poverty.

Overall, this post shows that currently, and overtime, there is a smaller percentage of resident over the age of 65 living in poverty. Compared to last week’s post, which focused on those between the ages of 18-64 (typically those of working age) we see that there is a higher percentage of residents between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty and that those percentages across the region have increased for those in that age bracket. For the elderly population though, the percentage of residents residing in poverty has increased overtime for a number of municipalities, but majority of the region experienced a decrease.

Southeastern Michigan’s Poverty Levels Have Increased Since 2000

This post explores how the percentage of residents between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty has increased throughout Southeastern Michigan since 2000 and 2015. The bottom line here is that the substantial majority of communities saw increases, some of them substantial, in poverty over the years 2000 through 2015. Only 10 saw decreases.

All data is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2000 the poverty threshold for an individual was $8,350, and for a family of four it was $17,050. In 2010 the poverty threshold for an individual was $10,830, and for a family of four it was $22,050. 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.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of Highland Park had the highest percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty in the years 2000, 2010 and 2015. Between each of the years the percentage has continued to grow. In 2000, the Census reported that 35 percent of the adult population between the ages of 18-64 was living in poverty in Highland Park. In 2010 that number increased to 42 percent and by 2015, 46.1 percent of the adult population between the ages of 18-64 in Highland Park was living in poverty. Just as Highland Park remained at the top of the list for the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty, the top five Southeastern Michigan communities with the highest poverty levels didn’t shift much from year-to-year. The data are displayed below.

2000

  • Highland Park: 35%
  • Detroit : 23%
  • Hamtramck: 23%
  • Ypsilanti: 20%
  • River Rouge: 20%

2010:

  • Highland Park: 42%
  • River Rouge: 36%
  • Hamtramck: 35%
  • Detroit: 31%
  • Royal Oak Township: 28%

2015:

  • Highland Park: 46%
  • Hamtramck: 41%
  • River Rouge: 41%
  • Detroit: 38%
  • Ypsilanti: 34%

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2010

When viewing how poverty levels have increased over time, the data shows that between the years 2000 and 2010 the City of Memphis (on the border of St. Clair and Macomb Counties) had the highest percentage increase of individuals between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty at about 17 percent. River Rouge and Hamtramck followed in the number two and three spots with percentage increases at 16 and 12, respectively. Highland Park experienced an increase at 7 percent while Detroit experienced an 8 percent increase.

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2015

Expanding the range of dates from 2000 through 2015, River Rouge, Hamtramck and Port Huron Township had the highest increases in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 in poverty between 2000 and 2015. For River Rouge that increase was 21 percent; Hamtramck had a 19 percent increase, and Port Huron Township had a 19 percent increase. In Detroit the percentage increase for individuals in poverty between the ages of 18-64 was 15 percent, and in Highland Park it was 11 percent.

In total, of the 213 communities in Southeastern Michigan for which long-term poverty data was available there were only 10 that experienced a decrease in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty between 2000 and 2015. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there were 27 communities where the percentage increase of individuals in poverty was at 10 percent or above; less than 10 of those communities were outside the direct Detroit suburbs.

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2010-2015

Finally, we examine the change in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 in poverty between the years 2010 and 2015 the data shows that the highest increases occurred in the more rural areas of the region. For individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 the city of Richmond had the highest percentage increase of residents living in poverty at 13 percent. Ypsilanti and the City of Yale both had 12 percent increases. London Township and Port Huron Township were the only other two communities in Southeastern Michigan where the percentage increase of the individuals between the ages of 18-64 was above 10 percent. The City of Detroit experienced a 7 percent increase and Highland Park experienced a 3 percent increase in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 who lived in poverty between the years 2010 and 2015.

Between 2010 and 2015 there were 58 communities in Southeastern Michigan where the percentage of individuals living in poverty decreased. The City of Unadilla had the largest decrease at 9 percent. None of the communities that experienced a decrease in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 were an inner-ring suburb of Detroit. The communities with decreases in poverty levels around 5 percent and above were located on the more outer edges of the region.

While the data shows that poverty levels have continued to increase for majority of the communities across the region, there are signs that the growth of poverty levels are decreasing. Between 2010 and 2015 there was a smaller number of communities who experienced an increase in poverty levels than between 2000-2010 or 2000 to 2015. The data comparing 2010 and 2015 levels also shows the percentage of poverty levels decreasing above 6 percent in certain communities, a statistic that was not achieved in the 2000 to 2010 comparisons and the 2000 to 2015 comparisons. However, the data does indicate that long-term poverty level growth appears to have been primarily concentrated in Detroit and its inner-suburbs. The more recent poverty data though (2010-15) shows that higher poverty levels are also being seen in the more rural areas.

Next week we will view how poverty levels are affecting the elderly population.