Fertility Rates in Michigan Continue to Decline

Fertility rates in the United States and in Michigan have been steadily declining. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, since the year 2000 fertility rates in the U.S. peaked at 69.5 births per 1,000 women of child bearing age in 2007. Since then the rates have continued to fall. Between 2011 and 2016 the fertility rate hovered between 63.2 and 62 before dropping to 60.3 in 2017 and 59.5 births per 1,000 women of child bearing age in 2018. In Michigan, the fertility rate has consistently been lower than that of the U.S., but it too has been on the decline. Since the year 2000 the fertility rate peaked in 2000 at 63 births per 1,000 women of child bearing age. Up until 2009 the fertility rate fluctuated between about 62 and 60.5, then in 2009 the rate dropped to 58.8 births per 1,000 women of child bearing age. Between 2013 and 2016 the fertility rate again increased to about 60 births per 1,000 women of child bearing age  before again dropping to 59.5 in 2017 and 58.5 in 2018. In raw numbers, in 2018 there were 110,293 births in Michigan, the lowest number since 1941.

According to a recent New York Times article, fertility rates tend to decrease with economic downturns. This happened with the Great Depression and then again with the Great Recession in 2008. However, while fertility rates rebounded following the Great Depression this has yet to happen following the recent recession. Stable fertility rates are important as they help ensure there will be a healthy workforce to keep the economy moving and to care for the elderly populations.

Below is a chart detailing the fertility rates for all of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan in 2018, along with the rate for the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit. The only county to have a higher fertility rate than the State was Wayne County. In 2018 the fertility rate for Michigan was 58.5 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 and for Wayne County the fertility rate was 66.2; the City of Detroit had a fertility rate of 70.2. Washtenaw County had the lowest fertility rate at 40.5 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. One possibility for the low fertility rate in Washtenaw County is the fact that the county is home to the University of Michigan. With such a high college population, where the typical age is concentrated in the lower 20s, it is quite possible that the fact that fewer women in their 20s are having children contributed to the county’s low fertility rate.

In addition to publishing fertility rate data by county, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also publishes it by race. Below is the data for the year 2018 by county for white women. The fertility rate for white women in Michigan in 2018 was 55.2 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, and Wayne and St. Clair counties were the only two in the region with higher fertility rates. Wayne County had a fertility rate of 58.7 in 2018 and in St. Clair County the fertility rate for white women between the ages of 15 and 44 was 57.8. White women in the City of Detroit also had a fertility rate higher than the state; Detroit’s fertility rate per 1,000 white women between the ages of 15 and 44 was 57.9.

The fertility rate for black women in 2018 in Michigan was 67.6 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. Again, there was a higher fertility rate for black women in Wayne and St. Clair counties than at the state level; those rates were 71 and 70.7, respectively. The City of Detroit also had a higher fertility rate than the state at 69.2. A fertility rate was not available for Livingston County.

It should also be noted that the fertility rate for black women in the State of Michigan and across the counties in Southeastern Michigan was higher than the fertility rates for white women in the region and at the state level.

As fertility rates decline it is also important to understand that there seems to be a shift in the age women are choosing to have children. According to the same New York Times article, at the national level, fertility rates have declined the most among teenage women; the fertility rate for teenagers has declined 70 percent since 2001. Women in their 20s are also having fewer children, despite this age group traditionally having the highest fertility rate. In 2016 it was women in their early 30s who had the highest fertility rate. By 2018, the only age group that experienced an increase in fertility rates was women in their late 30s and early 40s.  Also, according to the article, more than half the women in the U.S. who had children in their 30s had a college degree; this was more than the amount of women in their 20s with children and college degrees. There is a belief that women are waiting longer to have children to ensure their financial stability, career trajectory and that they have enough resources to provide for their children.

Monroe Most Obese County in Southeastern Michigan

The obesity rate in Michigan was at 32.3 percent in 2018, which is the most recent data from the United Health Foundation, which produces an annual federal health survey. This rate, according to the foundation, has been stable for the last several years but Michigan ranks as the 16th most obese state in the nation. At the county level, the most recent obesity data that is available is from 2015, and that data shows that of the seven counties in the region four of them are at or above the state’s obesity rate. Monroe County had the highest obesity rate regionally at 37 percent, followed by Wayne County at 34 percent. Macomb and St. Clair counties both had obesity rates of 32 percent. Washtenaw County had the lowest obesity rate at 24 percent.

Obesity can be linked to several factors, including overeating, medications, certain diseases and lack of physical inactivity. Those who are obese are also more likely to have certain diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Of course obesity is not the only factor contributing to these diseases. Below we explore the percentage of people who are physically inactive in Southeastern Michigan and the mortality rates of diseases linked to obesity.

Physical inactivity is one of the contributing factors  to obesity. Presented below is the percentage of residents in each county in Southeastern Michigan who said they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week in 2015. As is shown in the chart below, Monroe County had the highest percentage of physically inactive residents at 27.6 percent; Monroe County also had the highest obesity rate. St. Clair County had the second highest rate of physically inactive residents at 27.4 percent. Washtenaw County had the lowest percentage of residents who are physically inactive at 14.5 percent. Washtenaw County also had the lowest obesity rate.

With obesity comes several health risks, including coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, mental illnesses (depression, anxiety) and an overall low quality of life. The three charts below show the mortality rates per 100,000 people for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Of course the mortality rates displayed below are not directly produced by obesity. However, note that the counties with higher obesity rates tend to have higher mortality rates for the diseases discussed.

For mortality rates linked to diabetes, St. Clair County had the highest rate at 83.3 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Wayne County at 71 deaths per 100,000 people and then Monroe County at 65.6 diabetes related deaths per 100,000 people. Livingston County had the lowest rate at 45.6 diabetes related deaths per 100,000 people.

Overall, heart disease has a much higher mortality rate than diabetes, and the county with the highest heart disease related mortality rate in 2017 was Wayne County at 257.4 per 100,000 people. Following Wayne County was St. Clair County with a rate at 225.7 deaths per 100,000 people and Macomb County with a heart disease mortality rate of 196.1 deaths per 100,000 people. Washtenaw County had the lowest rate at 151.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

Strokes had the lowest mortality rate of the three diseases discussed here. Wayne County had the highest rate at 41.2 deaths per 100,000. Oakland County had the second highest mortality rate from strokes at 37.4 deaths per 100,000, and Washtenaw County had the third highest rate at 34.4 deaths per 100,000 people. Monroe County had the lowest rate at 29 deaths per 100,000 people.

Overall, this post highlights obesity rates in Southeastern Michigan, along with one of the causes of obesity and diseases linked to it. Ways to prevent obesity include:

  1. Being physically active;

2. Being cognizant of both caloric intake and the type of foods making up your diet;

3. Being aware of how your emotional state affects your eating habits and how to ensure that these habits do not become unhealthy.

DIA Seeks Millage Renewal

Throughout the Metro-Detroit region there are multiple millages being levied to support regional entities, most of which were born out of Detroit’s bankruptcy and the economic downturn. When some of these millages were originally levied, the initial intentions expressed to the public were that they were for only a specific amount of time, such as with the Detroit Institute of Authority (DIA). However, the Detroit Zoo for example passed a 0.1 millage in 2008, and then came back to voters in 2016, two years before the 10 year millage was set to expire, and asked for a renewal. The 0.1 millage renewal passed, and this public support for the Detroit Zoo continues to be levied; the cost of the Zoo millage for a home valued at $100,000 ($50,000 taxable value), is $5. We have also seen the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) continuously seek millage renewals and increases, the most recent being a 1 mill renewal for four years that was approved by voters in 2018.

Now, as the end of 2019 nears, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) recently announced it is up against the clock to put millage renewal language on the March 2020 ballot. The 10-year millage was originally approved by voters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties in 2012, and it was stated at that time that it was a one time request, allowing the museum time to build up its endowment for long-term financial support of operations, according to news articles of 2012 and present. Now seven years into the one-time millage, DIA officials have announced a 10-year renewal is necessary to continue offering the services the public has come to expect. In order to do this the three Art Authorities in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties (which were born out of articles of incorporation crafted and approved by the corresponding Board of Commissioners) must approve the ballot language. Just last week the Wayne County Art Authority approved putting the 0.2 mill renewal on the ballot, Oakland County is expected to debate the potential millage renewal later this month and the Macomb Art Authority will do so on Dec. 3.

As discussions again begin to ramp up over whether another regional millage renewal is necessary, it is important to consider what benefits the current tax dollars levied for the DIA may have created the region. In addition to free general admission for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne residents additional benefits can be covered under three main areas: investment in schools (free field trips with bussing, teacher professional development, and curriculum development), investment in the senior population (free group visits for older adults on Thursdays with free transportation and special programs), and investment in community partnerships (Inside/Out program, partnerships with area non-profits).

The first chart below shows the amount of money invested into the schools in the region by county and by year. In total, between 2013 and 2018 392,231 students in the tri-county region have had access to the school programs now offered by the DIA, with that investment totaling about $4.3 million. Of the three counties the most amount of money has been invested into the Wayne County schools, with that total being about $2.2 million. Wayne County has the highest population of the three counties.  It should also be noted though that investment into these various programs in the counties requires participation from the residents.

When looking at the amount invested in the senior programs since 2013 that total is about $1.7 million with the total number of seniors being reached by these special programs being 32,422. The largest investment with the senior programs since the millage has been in Oakland County with a total of  $725,362 being invested into the senior population.

Finally, the area where the most investment has been made is in the community partnerships area. Between 2013 and 2018 about $5.3 million was invested. The largest investment was in Oakland County at about $2 million. In Wayne County $1.9 million was invested, and in Macomb County about $1.3 million was invested.

It appears a new trend is emerging where millages will be needed to support regional entities and interests (the Zoo, the DIA, transit) along with day-to-day services in some cities and counties. For example, in Detroit there are currently discussions about a March ballot proposal to levy additional funds to move blight removal in the city along at a much faster pace. In Macomb County residents will asked to decide if they want to pay additional taxes in order to build a new jail. So it may be even more important for taxpayers to understand what additional taxes are appearing on their tax bill and what their priorities are. In the coming weeks we will look at the additional taxes residents pay in certain communities throughout the region to shed further light on what tax bills are now looking like.

Detroit Vacancies Decline Over Long-Term, Slow Uptick Recently in Numbers

New information on vacancies in Detroit provides a mixed picture. There were 1,490 fewer vacant Detroit properties of all kinds between September 2018 and September 2019, according to the U.S. Postal Service. However, between June 2019 and September 2019 the number of residential vacancies increased by 61 (discussed below). Overall in the month of September of 2019 there were 82,738 vacant addresses.

Although there was a decrease in the number of vacant addresses, the percentage of vacant addresses in Detroit has remained between 21 and 22 percent since June of 2011. Vacancy rates reached 20 percent in December of 2010. The peak vacancy rate in Detroit, according to U.S. Postal Service data, was in March of 2015 when it was 22.8 percent; at that time it was equivalent to 88,017 vacant addresses.

Looking backward, (we have USPS data back through 2005) the lowest vacancy rate in Detroit was in December of 2005. At that point, the rate was 10.03 percent, and that was equivalent to 38,981 vacant properties. So, overall we witnessed more than a doubling of vacancies with a gradual decline to 82,738 from a peak of 88,017.

When examining only residential vacancy rates that rate was 21.34 percent in September of 2019, which was equivalent to 74,818 vacant residential addresses. The residential vacancy rate between September of 2019 and 2018 decreased by less than 1 percent, and the total number decreased by 2,239 residential addresses. The five-year difference was a decrease of 7,230 residential vacancies. The highest residential vacancy rate was 23.5 percent in March of 2015; the lowest residential vacancy rate was in February of 2008 at 15.8 percent. Following the peak residential vacancy rate in 2015, those numbers have been on the decline.

In addition to these changes, in September of 2019 there was not a change in the number of “no stat” addresses–properties denoted by mail carriers as being either “vacant” or “no-stat.” In September of 2019 the percent of no-stat properties was 6.2 percent.  These no-stat properties are ones that carriers on urban routes mark as vacant once no resident has collected mail for 90 days. Addresses in rural areas that appear to be vacant for 90 days are labeled no-stat, as are addresses for properties that are still under construction. So, urban addresses labeled are those a carrier deems as unlikely to be occupied again any time soon. That is, both areas where property is changing to other uses and areas of severe decline may have no-stat addresses.

The maps below demonstrate both the overall Detroit address vacancy rates (including residential and business vacancy rates) by Census Tract for September 2019 (first map) and the change in vacancy rates between September 2019 and September 2018 (second map). In total, there were about 65 Census Tracts in Detroit with total vacancy rates above 35 percent. The Census Tract with the highest vacancy rate in September of 2019 was located north of I-94, between there and I-96, with a rate of 55.8 percent. There were two large clusters of Census Tracts with vacancy rates above 35 percent, one cluster was located along I-96 south and west of the Davison Freeway, and the other was located on the eastside of the city along Gratiot Avenue.

While most of the Census Tracts in the City experienced a decrease in the number of vacancies from September 2018 to September 2019, there were about 40 tracts scattered all across the city that had an increase. The Census Tract with the highest increase was located on the City’s far west side and there was an increase of 7.2 percent. The tract with the largest vacancy rate decrease was located in Southwest Detroit and there was a decrease of 11.1 percent.

In addition to the U.S. Postal Service tracking vacancy data so does the U.S. Census Bureau. The chart below shows the differences that each agency reports in vacancy rates. The Census Bureau only tracks vacant houses while the U.S. Postal Service tracks residential properties, businesses and total vacancy rates. In the chart below only residential rates are examined. As the data shows, the Census regularly has higher residential vacancy rates as compared to the U.S. Postal Service. The most recent data for the Census data (2017) shows that the City’s residential vacancy rate was 29.2 percent and that was in 2017. The Postal Service’s equivalent rate was 22.4 percent at that time. The Census data is based on a sample of about 72,000 housing units. The U.S. Postal Service data is collected by postal service workers, if a residence is deemed occupied it means it requires mail service.  It is deemed vacant if it does not require mail service. One potential reason for the difference in vacancy rates is the fact that the Census data is based on samples while the U.S. Postal Service relies on postal carrier’s actual observations of the properties. 

Problem Solving Courts Aim to Address Substance Use and Mental Health Illnesses

In Michigan there are specific courts known as “Problem Solving Courts” that are designed to address an offender’s problem. These courts often serve as an alternative to an individual serving time in jail or prison and, typically, focus on offenders with substance use and/or mental health illnesses. The different types of Problem Solving Courts are adult and juvenile drug courts, adult and juvenile mental health courts and veteran courts. These court programs are offered at the circuit court level and the district court level. In this post we will show what Problem Solving Courts exist in each county and where.

These Problem Solving Courts are additional dockets added on to a judges’ normal caseload, and running them at the district and circuit court levels does not cost locals more, beyond the need for secure internet, according to the State Court Administrator’s Office. It is through this office that additional support and training is offered. In addition to these programs providing resources for individuals to regain sobriety and a more stable life, these courts are also viewed as a cost saving measure to communities because they keep individuals out of jail. 

In total, in 2018, there were 128 drug/sobriety treatment courts in Michigan, and about 3,000 people were discharged from one of these programs. These courts do not all follow the same model, as some only accept offenders with driving under the influence charges, and others target offenders with drug related felonies. They all, though, adhere to specific guidelines to help offenders attain long-term sobriety.

Of that 128 drug/sobriety courts in the state, 31 of them were located in Southeastern Michigan, seven at the circuit court level and 24 at the district court level. Looking further into these drug courts, there are five just focused on offenders with driving under the influence charges, and two that are solely focused on juveniles. When looking at the location of the courts, Wayne County had the most drug treatment courts in 2018 at 11 followed by Oakland County with 10.  St. Clair and Monroe counties did not have any drug treatment courts.

According to the state, 65 percent of the participants throughout Michigan successfully graduated from a drug/sobriety court and 29 percent were unsuccessfully discharged due to non-compliance, absconding or a new offense.

Mental Health Courts are another type of Problem Solving Court offered in Michigan, and in 2018 there were 33 total mental health courts. In Southeastern Michigan there were 11 different mental health courts, one of which was for juveniles in Wayne County. There were four total mental health courts in Wayne County in 2018, two in Macomb County, and one each in the five other counties in the region.

According to the state, of the 1,414 participants in the mental court program 57 percent successfully completed the program. Additional data shows that unemployment for adult participants in circuit court mental health programs decreased by more than 50 percent, and unemployment decreased by more than 66 percent for participants at the district court level. Information from the state court system also showed that graduates were half as likely to commit another crime within three years of being admitted into a mental health court program.

Veteran Treatment Courts are another type of Problem Solving Court in Michigan, and in 2018 there were 25 across the state with 596 active participants. Of the active veterans involved in the program, 71 percent successfully completed their programs in 2018.  In Southeastern Michigan there were 14 Veteran Treatment Courts with five located in Wayne County, four in Oakland County, two in Macomb County and one each in Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties.

Real Estate Investments Strong in Southeastern Michigan

In September of 2019 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 3.5, a small decrease from the August unemployment rate of 4.2, according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of  Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate for September of 2018 was the same as it was this year in September, 3.5.

In September of 2019 Detroit’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent.  That Detroit unemployment rate was 0.8 points lower in September of 2019 from the previous month. Also, the September 2019 unemployment rate for Detroit was 0.1 point higher from the previous year. In August of 2018 it was 8.4 percent.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for September of 2018 and 2019. In September of 2019 Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 4.9. Washtenaw County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.

Monroe County was the only one to have a lower unemployment rate in September of 2019 compared to September of 2018. In 2018 Monroe County had an unemployment rate of 3.7 and in 2019 in decreased to 3.2.  For all the other counties in the region an unemployment rate increase between September of 2018 and 2019 was not above 0.2.

Real estate availability is another aspect of an area’s financial health. Below is information from the quarterly reports of Cushman and Wakefield, a global real estate firm, which produces information related to Metro-Detroit. According to the company, investments in Metro-Detroit have been strong in 2019. One instance cited for this is the investment Amazon is making in Pontiac at the old Silverdome site (1,500 jobs are expected to come with the purchasing and transition of the site). In the third quarter of 2019 Pontiac had a commercial vacancy rate of 13 percent, as shown in the second chart below. Southfield, the Grosse Pointes and Troy all had higher vacancy rates at 18.1 percent, 17.8 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. Ann Arbor had the lowest vacancy rate at 7.8 percent, followed by Macomb County at 8.7 percent. As one might expect Ann Arbor, with one of the lowest vacancy rates in the third quarter of 2019 also  one of the highest costs per square feet in the region at $23.25. The Birmingham/Bloomfield area was one of the only other areas in the region with a higher cost per square foot for commercial property at $25.41, while in the Grosse Pointes the average commercial property was priced at $25.02 per square foot. Macomb County had the lowest cost at per square foot at $16.97.


Production of Solid Waste Rises in Michigan

The landfills in Michigan not only hold solid waste produced from Michigan residents, but also from other states and Canada. The first chart below shows how much solid waste has been disposed of in Michigan landfills between 2008 and 2019, total. Between 2009 and 2012 the amount of waste being disposed decreased from about 49 million cubic yards in 2009 to about 44 million cubic yards in 2012. From 2013 to 2018 though the amount of waste being disposed continuously increased. In 2013 there was about 44.5 million yards of cubic waste disposed of into Michigan landfills and by 2018 that number was about 52.5 million cubic yards.

When examining the three different sources that dispose of solid waste into Michigan landfills the data shows that waste from Canada had the largest decrease between 2009 and 2012, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. In 2009 9 million cubic yards were disposed of into Michigan landfills and 2012 that number was 6.5 cubic yards.  Between 2013 and 2018 though those numbers increased from about 7.5 million cubic yards to 9.5 cubic yards. For the amount of solid waste disposed of in Michigan from instate sources that number rose from about 35 million cubic yards in 2009 to about 40 million cubic yards. For solid waste disposal from other states that amount disposed of never increased above 2.9 million cubic yards between 2009 and 2018.

Overall, the amount of waste generated in Michigan continues to increase while import rates are decreasing, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The chart below shows the total waste disposed in Michigan landfills from each county in Southeastern Michigan. This chart does not necessarily reflect how much waste is disposed in each county, but rather how much waste comes from each county. Wayne County had the highest amount of waste disposal at more than 11 million cubic yards in 2018; this amount was more than twice the amount of any other county in the region. Oakland County had the second highest amount of waste disposed in 2018 at about 4.3 million cubic yards. Livingston County had the lowest amount of waste disposed at about 380,000 cubic yards.

Below is a list of the landfills in Southeastern Michigan and the amount and type of waste disposed in them in 2018. Municipal and Commercial Waste (MCW) was the most common type of waste disposed of in Southeastern Michigan landfills, followed by Industrial Waste (IW).

In Southeastern Michigan there are 13 different landfills, two of which only accept Industrial Waste. The two landfills that only accept Industrial Waste are Detroit Edison Ash Disposal in St. Clair County and the DTE Monroe Power Plant in Monroe County.

Pine Tree Acres, which is a landfill operated by Waste Management in Lenox Township (Macomb County) had the largest amount of waste disposed there in 2018 at nearly 5.1 million cubic yards. Carleton Farms Landfill in Sumpter Township (Wayne County) had the second largest amount of waste disposed there at about 4 million cubic yards.

The City of Livonia accepted the least amount of waste in 2018. According to the Department of Environmental Quality the City of Livonia landfill received 2,700 cubic yards of Municipal and Commercial Waste and 1.8 yards of Industrial Waste.

Overall this post was intended to highlight where waste in Michigan, and the region comes from, what regional counties are producing the most amount of solid waste and how the production of waste in the state continues to rise. Not only does this post shed light on the production of solid waste but it should also be a conversation starter for the need of increased recycling rates. According to the Environmental Protection Agency the recycling rate in Michigan is 15 percent; the national average is 35 percent. While bottle returns in Michigan are at about a 90 percent redemption rate, according to a 2018 Bridge Magazine article, other recyclable items are not returned at nearly such a high rate. There needs to be a mindset change in the State of Michigan, and digging deeper into the data could help facilitate successful public information campaigns.

Unfortunately, data on recycling is not nearly as detailed as the information the state produces on solid waste. For example, information on what communities offer curbside recycling is not readily available, and the last measurement report on recycling in the state was published in 2016, with data from 2014.

There needs to be more information on recycling in Michigan, and the amount of solid waste disposed of in Michigan’s landfills needs to be reduced. Although waste from other states and countries is imported to Michigan landfills, an action that should also be halted, it is the rate at which solid waste in Michigan is being produced and disposed of that is increasing the greatest problem. We need to see a substantial reduction in solid waste disposal, and a parallel increase increase in recycling.  

Breast Cancer in Southeastern Michigan

The month of October is Breast Awareness Month and in 2019, according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, it is estimated that there will be 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer, nationally. In addition, the foundation estimates that there will about 42,000 deaths from breast cancer in 2019. Breast cancer affects both men and women, but occurs at a much higher rate in women. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, there is an estimated 129.8 new cases of invasive breast per 100,000 women each year and in men that number is 1.2 cases per 100,000 men. Additionally, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more diagnoses of breast cancer in 2019 (9,310) than lung, colon, prostate, melanoma or bladder cancer. However, the American Cancer Society also estimates that lung, colon and pancreatic cancer have a higher mortality rate than female breast cancer.

The data shown in the maps below has been provided by the Michigan Department of Community Health and Services and was last updated in 2017. Additionally, the data focuses on women.  According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, breast cancer is the most common newly diagnosed cancer among women in Michigan. In 2017 there were about 8,160 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women in Michigan.

In 2017 St. Clair County had the highest rate of women with invasive breast cancer at 27.3 per 100,000 females, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health and Services. Wayne County had the second highest rate at 22 per 100,000 females and Oakland County had the lowest rate at 17.8 at 100,000 females. At the state level the rate for women with breast cancer was 19.2 in 2017. The only county below this rate in Southeastern Michigan was Oakland County.

Although not all women with breast cancer die from the disease, there are hundreds of deaths from the disease a year. In 2017 Wayne County had the highest number of deaths at 247 followed by Oakland County at 153 and Macomb County at 126. Regionally, Livingston County had the lowest number of deaths associated with invasive breast cancer at 18. These numbers are, generally, consistent with populations across these counties. In 2017 there was a total of 1,308 deaths associated with breast cancer across Michigan.

While breast cancer rates at the county level in Southeastern Michigan are are lower than those at the national level (129.8 cases per 100,000 women), it still causes significant number of deaths per year. Since the early 2000s the number of breast cancer deaths has declined, in large part due to increased mammogram screening. This month multiple health care organizations, such as Henry Ford, Beaumont and McLaren, are offering free mammograms to raise awareness and increase the chances of early detection. The risk of breast cancer increases with age, so as individuals grow older-particularly women- annual and regular testing becomes more and more important.

Economic Indicators: Percentage of Salaried, Wage Workers who are Union Members Decreases

In August of 2019 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 4.2, a small decrease from the July unemployment rate of 4.3, according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of  Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate for August of 2018 was 0.3 points lower than what it was in August of 2019 (4.2).

The Detroit rate was 1.8 points lower in August of 2019 from the previous month. Also, the August 2019 unemployment rate for Detroit was 0.6 points lower from the previous year. In August of 2019 Detroit’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent and in August of 2018 it was 9.9 percent.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for August of 2018 and 2019. In August of 2019 Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 5.4. Washtenaw County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.3.

Wayne and Monroe counties were the only two to have lower unemployment rates in August of 2019 compared to August of 2018; Monroe County experienced a 0.9 point decrease and Wayne County experienced a 0.4 point decrease. Among the remainder, none of the other five counties in the region experienced an unemployment increase of more than 0.2 between August of 2018 and August of 2019.

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

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $129,220 in July 2019; this was $300 higher than the average family dwelling price in June. The July 2019 price was an increase of $4,980 from July of 2018 and an increase of $12,140 from July of 2017, an increase of $20,050 from July of 2016 and increase of  $25,880 from July of 2015 and, finally, an increase of 
$31,090 from July of 2014.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the percent of the workforce in Michigan that is a member of a union has gradually decreased since 2000. In 2000, 20.3 percent of employed wage and salary workers were represented by a union and in 2018 that dropped to 14.5 percent. The highest percent of union membership of the work force in that time frame was 21.9 percent. 

In the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses report released by American Express, Detroit ranked as the top metropolitan area that increased a combination of its growth rates for the number of women-owned firms, employed women and their revenue. According to Crain’s Detroit, the number of women-owned businesses in the Metro-Detroit area grew from 157,090 in 2012 to 358,507 in 2019. Additionally, the number of women-owned businesses in the State of Michigan grew 29 percent between 2012 and 2019, with employment at those companies growing 4 percent and revenue growing by 20 percent.

Long-term Substitutes More Concentrated in Lower Income Areas

In Michigan there is a teacher shortage and often times long-term substitute teachers are seen as at least a temporary fix to the problem. The individuals who fill these positions are not required to have an education background and can end up leading a classroom for a full year, or more. According to data from the Michigan Department of Education, the number of long-term substitutes in Michigan schools has increased from 213 during the 2012-13 academic year to 2,538 for the 2018-19 year. For this post we explore the percentage of teachers that were long-term substitutes in the Southeastern Michigan school districts for the 2018-19 academic year; charter schools are not included.

At first glance, the map shows that majority of the districts in the seven county region had less than 2.5 percent of the teacher population at each district serving as long-term substitute teachers. In Washtenaw, St. Clair and Monroe counties not one of the public school districts had more than 2.5 percent of the teacher population made up of long-term substitutes. The county with the highest number of public school districts with higher percentages of long-term substitute teachers was Wayne County. In Wayne County, and regionally, South Redford School District had the highest percentage of long-term substitutes at 13.3 percent. Other districts in Wayne County with higher percentages of long-term substitute teachers were the River Rouge School District, Ecorse Public Schools and the Dearborn Heights School District. In Oakland County, the Berkley School District had 13.2 percent of its teacher population made up of long-term substitutes. According to a recent article by Bridge Magazine, school districts in areas with lower household incomes are more likely to have a higher percentage of long-term substitutes. This is also especially true for charter schools, which were not examined in this post but will be at a later time. Bridge Magazine’s analysis states that charter school students are four times more likely to have a long-term substitute as a teacher than a student in a traditional public school. Additionally, according to the article, low academic performing school districts are more than three times as likely to have long-term substitutes instead of certified teachers.

While this post highlights how in some areas of the Southeastern Michigan, and in the state, there is a shortage of certified teachers, additional information reveals that there are overall personnel shortages in school districts. From teachers to speech pathologists to adult education teachers, the State of Michigan has posted critical shortage openings for retirees to re-apply to so the positions can be filled. The list can be found here. That information, coupled with the long-term substitute data, further shows that education in Michigan is in need of assistance. With a critical need for teachers, at least in part due to stagnant and/or declining salaries, and overall lack of funding for education changes need to happen to ensure the students of Michigan are receiving the education they need and deserve.