Detroit Vacancy Rate Remains at 22 Percent

There were only 26 fewer vacant Detroit properties between June 2016 and June 2017, according to the U.S. Postal Service. This was a tiny decrease compared to the total number number of Detroit addresses of 396,416, but it was a decrease in vacancies. The vacancy rate in the City of Detroit remained just above 22 percent.

There were two other decreases that were probably more important. First, there was a substantial decrease in the total number of addresses, likely indicating that more vacant properties are now vacant lots. Overall, between June of 2017 and June 2016 the total number of addresses decreased by 5,388. By June of 2017 there were 396,416 total addresses counted by the U.S. Postal Service, and of these, there were 88,329 vacant addresses. Of the 396,416 total addresses, 353,140 were residential addresses and 80,296 of those were residential vacancies, meaning the residential vacancy rate was 22.7.

Second, although the decrease in the number of vacant addresses was small between June of 2016 and 2017, the decline in the number of “no stat” addresses was much larger; that number decreased by 3,515 in the last year. There is substantial ambiguity in that number, though it likely indicates some improvement in the housing market. Mail carriers denote properties as being either “vacant” or “no-stat.” Carriers on urban routes mark a property as vacant once no resident has collected mail for 90 days. Addresses are classified as “no-stat” for a variety of reasons. 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. Urban addresses are labeled as no-stat when the carrier decides it is unlikely to be occupied again any time soon — meaning that both areas of high growth and severe decline may have no-stat addresses.

The maps below show the Detroit address vacancy rates by Census tract for June 2017 and the change in vacancy rates between June 2016 and June 2017. In total, there were about 65 Census Tracts in Detroit with total vacancy rates above 34 percent. The Census tract with the largest vacancy rate between June 2017 and June 2016 was located in a pocket of Census tracts along I-96 where the vacancy rates did not drop below 38 percent. The vacancy rate for this Census tract 54.3 percent. When looking at the second map the data shows that the largest vacancy rate increase for a Census tract was located in Southwest Detroit; the vacancy rate increase for that Census tract was 8.4 percent. The map also shows the largest vacancy rate increases were primarily concentrated in an area just east of Hamtramck and on the western side of the city near I-96.

Overall, the story this data shows is that the number of homes in the City is decreasing, and the number of vacant homes is slightly decreasing, though the exact number is ambiguous, given the uncertainty surrounding “no-stat” numbers. The decline in “no-stat” numbers is, however, consistent with recent population estimates. According the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2015 and 2016 the City of Detroit has lost about 3,541 residents; its population in 2016 was reported to be 672,795.

Oakland, Washtenaw Counties Have Highest Foreign-Born Populations in Southeastern Michigan

Of the four major counties in Southeastern Michigan, both Oakland and Washtenaw counties had the highest percentage of foreign-born populations in 2015, according to the American Community Survey. Oakland County ranked just above Washtenaw County though; the foreign born population percentage in Oakland County was 11.8 percent and in Washtenaw County it was 11.6 percent. In Oakland County there are three municipalities where more than 20.1 percent of the population was foreign born in 2015, while in Oakland County there was only one municipality.

Of all the municipalities in the region though it was Hamtramck with the highest percentage of foreign-born residents at 46.6 percent.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines a foreign-born person as “anyone who was not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes respondents who indicated they were a U.S. citizen by naturalization or not a U.S. citizen. Persons born abroad of American parents or born in Puerto Rico or other U.S. Island Areas are not considered foreign born.”

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In Macomb County in 2015, 10.6 percent of the population was foreign-born, with the city of Sterling Heights having the largest foreign-born population. In Sterling Heights 25.8 percent of the population was foreign-born; this is equivalent to 33,598 people in the city. Of those residents, 58.7 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens and the remainder (41.7%) were not U.S. citizens.

Aside from Sterling Heights, Warren and Shelby Township had amongst the highest foreign-born populations at 12.1 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively.

All of northern and eastern Macomb County had less than 5 percent foreign-born populations.

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In Oakland County, it was the western side of the county where majority of the municipalities had less than 5 percent of their populations made up of foreign-born residents. The city of Troy had the highest percentage of foreign-born residents in Oakland County at 25.8 percent, followed by West Bloomfield Township at 20.9 percent and Novi at 20.8 percent.

In Troy, 52 percent of the foreign-born residents were naturalized U.S. citizens and the remainder were not U.S. citizens. Between Troy, Novi and West Bloomfield Township, Novi had the highest percentage of non-U.S. citizens at 55 percent.

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In Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Township had the highest percentage foreign-born residents at 21.8 percent. This percentage was the equivalent to about 971 people in the charter township. Of these people, 49 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens and the remainder were not U.S. citizens. The city of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township followed Ann Arbor Township in terms of foreign-born populations. The percentage of foreign-born residents residing in Ann Arbor was 17.9 percent and in Pittsfield Township was 18. percent. These percentages were equivalent to 20,762 foreign-born residents in Ann Arbor and 6,753 in Pittsfield Township.

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In Wayne County, Dearborn and Hamtramck had the highest percentage of foreign-born residents at 26.4 percent and 46.6 percent, respectively. In Dearborn, of the 25,410 foreign-born residents 65 percent were naturalized citizens. In Hamtramck, of the 9,589 foreign-born residents, 45 were naturalized U.S. residents.

In Detroit, the foreign-born population made up about 37,000 residents but was equivalent to 5.1 percent of the population.

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Vacancy Rates in Detroit Remain Stagnant

In the City of Detroit in September 2016 the total percentage of vacancies was 21.9 percent, according to the U.S. Postal Service. This vacancy percentage was nearly unchanged from the 22 percent total vacancy rate the U.S. Postal Service reported in June of 2016. Similarly, when looking at the percentage of residential vacancies and business vacancies in the City these too nearly went unchanged between June and September. The U.S. Postal Service reports that the September 2016 residential vacancy rate was 22.4, down 0.1 percent. The September 2016 business vacancy rate was 25.9, up .02 percent from June.

Overall, in the month of September there were 87,762 reported total vacancies, 80,002 of which were residential, 7,670 of which were businesses and 104 of which were considered “other.” Between June and September, the total 0.1 percent vacancy decrease was equivalent to a decrease of 579 vacant addresses; there was a decrease of 641 vacant residential addresses and an increase of 62 vacant business addresses.

The first two maps below show, by Census Tract, the total number of vacancies and the total percentage of vacancies. The Census Tract with the highest number of total vacancies is on the east side, just north of Belle Isle. This Census Tract had 906 vacancies, which was 50.6 percent of the total number of structures in that Census Tract.

As the first map shows, majority of the Census Tracts with vacancies above 400 were located either on the cities east side, or just west of the downtown area of Detroit. When looking at the total percentage of vacancies in Detroit by Census Tract we see there is a slight shift in which Census Tracts have among the highest amount of vacancies in terms of percentage versus total numbers. This is directly related to the total number of structures in each Census Tract. For example, just east of Hamtramck there is a Census Tract with 229 vacant addresses, a number that does not put in amongst the Census Tracts with the highest vacancy numbers. However, these 229 vacant addresses in that Census Tract mean there is a 42.9 percent vacancy rate. Just south of that Census Tract is another where there are 307 vacancies which make up 18 percent of the structures there.

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When comparing the total number of vacancies between September 2015 and 2016 we see that there are several Census Tracts that experienced an increase in the total number of vacancies. It was a Census Tract just north of Highland Park that experienced the greatest increase at 7.8 percent. Vacancy increases over the last year occurred the most on the City’s east side, however they were not isolated there.

Overall, while there were Census Tracts with vacancy rate increases there was a total decrease of 5,446 vacant addresses between September 2015 and September 2016.

In addition to these changes, in September of 2016 there was a decline in the number of “no stat” addresses; that number decreased by 2084 in the last year. Mail carriers denote properties as being either “vacant” or “no-stat.” Carriers on urban routes mark a property as vacant once no resident has collected mail for 90 days. Addresses are classified as “no-stat” for a variety of reasons. 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. Urban addresses are labeled as no-stat when the carrier decides it is unlikely to be occupied again any time soon — meaning that both areas where property is changing to other uses and areas of severe decline may have no-stat addresses.

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Wayne County’s population loss remains the largest in the region—2010 to 2014

Between 2010 and 2014 Oakland and Washtenaw counties were the only two counties in the seven-county region that experienced a population change increase. According to U.S. Census Data, Oakland County’s population increased from 1.2 million in 2010 to 1.24 million in 2014 and Washtenaw County’s population increased from about 345,000 to 357,000. In Oakland County, three communities-Clarkston, Orchard Lake and South Lyon-experienced more than a 10 percent population increase. In Washtenaw County, there were also three communities-Bridgewater, Sharon and Lima townships-that experienced a population increase above 10 percent between 2010 and 2014.

In the same time frame, Wayne County experienced a 3 percent population decrease. In 2010 Wayne County’s population was about 1.82 million and in 2014 it was about 1.79 million. Of the communities that make up Wayne County, Highland Park had the largest population decrease at 13.5 percent; in 2010 the city’s population was 11,776 and in 2014 it was 10,375. Detroit’s population change was a decrease of 8.4 percent between 2010 and 2014. In 2010 Detroit’s population was 713,777, and in 2014 it was 680,250 . At the Census Tract level we see that most of the population loss above 10 percent occurred in neighborhoods along the eastside of the City of Detroit. Compared to the 43 Census Tracts in Detroit that lost more than 10 percent of its populations between 2010 and 2014 there were 24 Census Tracts that experienced a 50 percent or more population increase. Overall, at the Census Tract level, more areas in the City of Detroit experienced population increases than decreases, however, the number of people lost in certain Census Tracts is what caused the overall population decrease.

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Between 2000 and 2010 there were larger decreases (as might be expected given the longer time period) and smaller increases in population across the seven county region. Again, Wayne County had the largest population decrease of the seven counties. In 2010 Wayne County’s population was recorded at about 2 million and in 2010 it was about 1.82 million. The more rural counties-Livingston, Washtenaw and Macomb-experienced population increases above 4 percent between 2000 and 2010. At the more local level, only four communities-Independence Township, Sylvan Township, Detroit and Highland Park-experienced population decreases above 20 percent. Most of the population loss throughout the region was concentrated around Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs. When discussing the communities that experienced population increases above 20 percent, Livingston County, which had the highest population increase between 2000 and 2010 of the seven counties, had the largest number of communities with such high population increases. In Wayne County, which experienced an overall population decrease, only three communities-Northville, Woodhaven and Brownstown-experienced population increases above 20 percent. Two of those communities-Woodhaven and Brownstown-are located in the southern portion of Wayne County, and Northville is located in the northwestern portion of the county.

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Washtenaw County gains 770 residents while Livingston loses more than 1,000

Last week, we explored migrations in and out of the tri-county region using 2012-13 IRS tax returns. This week, we highlight the remaining four counties in Southeastern Michigan (Livingston, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw) where there was a total net gain of 32 residents. All counties, except Livingston, experienced net gains. Washtenaw County had the highest net gain of residents at 770, while Livingston County had a net loss of 1,085. Even with such gains and losses, the data presented in this post shows that majority of the migration in and out of a these counties occurred within the state’s boundaries.

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Washtenaw County experienced a net increase of 770 new residents, according to 2012-13 tax returns. The IRS data shows that, there were 9,596 tax returns filed by new Washtenaw County residents and 8,826 filed by former Washtenaw County residents. Former Wayne County residents contributed the most to the population influx with 2,529 of them moving to Washtenaw County. Oakland County contributed the second highest number of new residents at 891, followed by Livingston County at 649. In total, of the 9,596 new residents who moved into Washtenaw County, 5,881 were from other Michigan counties. From outside of Michigan, Cook County, Illinois (where Chicago is located) contributed the highest number of new residents at 344; Los Angeles County in California contributed 130 new residents to Washtenaw County.

When viewing the number of residents who left Washtenaw County for elsewhere, 2,225 residents moved to Wayne County (Washtenaw County had a net gain of 304 residents from Wayne County). Additionally, Washtenaw County lost 915 residents to Oakland County (a net loss of 24), and 536 residents to Livingston County (a net gain of 113). In total, Washtenaw County lost 5,785 residents to other Michigan counties, for a net gain of 96.

From outside of Michigan, Washtenaw County lost 284 residents to Cook County, Illinois (net gain of 58). Washtenaw also lost 142 residents to Los Angeles County, California (a net loss of 12).

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Livingston County lost 4,452 residents, according to 2012-13 IRS data, while gaining 3,367, for a net loss of 1,085 residents. Among the new Livingston County residents, 1,027 were from Oakland County, 536 from Washtenaw County, and 469 from Wayne County. In total, 3,285 Michigan residents moved to Livingston County during the 2012-13 time frame. Cook County, Illinois contributed the highest number of new residents to Livingston County, at 44 from an out-of-state county.

While Livingston County gained the largest number of residents from Oakland County, it also lost the most residents to the same county: it lost 1,292 residents, for a net loss of 265 residents to Oakland County. Livingston County lost 903 of its residents to Wayne County (a net loss of 434) and 649 of its residents to Washtenaw County. In total, 4,157 former Livingston County residents moved elsewhere in the state, for an in-state net loss of 872. Outside of Michigan, Cook County, Illinois gained former Livingston County residents at 37, for a net loss of 7.

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Monroe County had a net gain of 143 residents, according to 2012-13 IRS tax returns. This rural county lost 2,350 residents to other counties while gaining 2,493 new residents. Monroe County’s largest population gain came from Wayne County at 852 residents; its second largest gain was from Lucas County, Ohio (Lucas County, which borders Monroe County, is home to Toledo) at 738. Wayne County and Lucas County were also the two counties that gained the most former Monroe County residents. Monroe lost 879 residents to Wayne County (net loss of 27) and 694 residents to Lucas County (a net gain of 141).

In total, Monroe County gained 1,564 residents from other Michigan counties and lost 1,485 residents to other Michigan counties for a net gain of 79 residents.

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St. Clair County lost 2,232 residents and gained 2,192 residents, according to 2012-13 tax returns. The highest population gain for the county came from Macomb County with 1,001 residents, followed by Oakland County at 249. There were 141 former Wayne County residents who moved to St. Clair County. Pasco County, Florida (Tampa Bay area) contributed the largest number of new out-of-state residents to St. Clair County (28).

 

More former St. Clair County residents moved to Macomb County than anywhere else (1,194), resulting in a net loss of 193 residents to Macomb County. Oakland County gained the second highest number of St. Clair County residents at 210 (net gain) of 39. In total, 2,034 residents moved to St. Clair County from other Michigan counties and while 2,124 moved out, for a net loss of 90 residents. Maricopa County (Phoenix area), Arizona was the out-of-state county that gained the highest number of former St. Clair County residents at 25.

Overall, across Southeastern Michigan, there was a net gain of 5,770 residents. However, majority of the migration in and out of each county in the seven county region occurred between neighboring counties.

 

IRS Tax returns show Wayne County nets population gain

At first glance of filed 2012-13 IRS tax returns, it appears that, combined, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties gained about 5,500 residents. However, a deeper look into this information shows that majority of those leaving one county for another are actually just moving over the county line. Of the three counties, Wayne County was the only one to experience a net gain, while Oakland County was nearly equal in the number of residents leaving and moving in and Macomb County experienced a net loss.

The information provided in this post is from 2012-13 filed IRS tax returns.

Wayne County In Migration

Wayne County Out Migration

According to the 2012-13 tax returns, Wayne County lost 26,264 residents and gained 34,320, for a total net gain of 8,056. Former Oakland County residents were responsible for majority of the gain at 10,402, followed by Macomb County residents at 6,625 and Washtenaw County at 2,225. From out of state, Illinois’ Cook County (where Chicago is located) contributed the most number of new residents to Wayne County at 449.

While Wayne County gained the most number of Oakland County residents, it also lost majority of its residents to Oakland County as well. Wayne County lost 8,074 to Oakland County. Macomb County gained the second largest number of former Wayne County residents at 4,407. Outside of Michigan Cook County, Illinois gained the largest number of Wayne County residents at 355. Other counties across the country that gained more than 100 Wayne County residents were Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas area, 126 people), Los Angeles County, California (172), San Diego County, California (138), Broward County, Florida (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami metropolitan area, 113) and Maricopa, Arizona (Phoenix area, 211 former Wayne County residents).

Oakland County in migration

Oakland County out migration

Oakland County lost nearly as many residents as it gained in 2012, according to the 2012-13 tax returns. According to the data, there were 29,124 tax returns filed by new Oakland County residents and 30,001 filed by former Oakland County residents. Of those that left, Wayne County received the most at 10,402, followed by Macomb County at 5,499. In terms of out-of-state migration, Cook County again received the highest number of residents at 600. Additionally, Los Angeles County, California (251) and Maricopa County, Arizona (214) also received a high number of residents from Southeastern Michigan. While Oakland and Wayne County residents had similar migration patterns when they left Michigan, we do see that there was a greater presence of Oakland County residents in northern California and Oregon.

Of the 29,124 residents gained in Oakland County, former Wayne County residents contributed to about a third of that number (8,074) and Macomb County residents contributed and additional 5,688 residents. From out of state, there were 592 former Cook County, Illinois residents who moved to Oakland County.

Macomb County in migration

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According to 2012-13 filed tax returns Macomb County had a net loss of 1,452 residents, with 15,925 new tax returns being filed for the county and 17,377 being filed by former residents. Wayne County received the highest number of former Macomb County residents at 6,625, followed by Oakland County at 5,668. Cook County, Illinois and Maricopa, Arizona were the only two counties outside of Michigan to receive more than 100 former Macomb County residents (140 and 129, respectively).

Macomb County gained more Oakland County residents than Wayne County residents, according to 2012-13 filed tax returns. During this time period 5,499 former Oakland County residents relocated to Macomb County and 4,409 former Wayne County residents relocated there. From outside of Michigan, Maricopa County, Arizona contributed the most number of residents at 160, followed by 145 Cook County, Illinois. Macomb County experienced a net gain of residents from both Maricopa County, Arizona and Cook County, Illinois.

While majority of the migration within the tri-county region took place between neighboring counties, the 2012-13 tax returns do show that Michiganders were leaving the state, particularly to places like Arizona, Florida, California and Illinois. However, the information also shows that there was out-of-state migration in the tri-county region at that time too, and in some cases it meant there was a net gain.

Next week, we will examine migration patterns for the remaining counties that make up Southeastern Michigan.

Poverty in Metro-Detroit spreading through the suburbs

Between 2009 and 2014, poverty levels in the region’s urban communities, such as Detroit, Pontiac and Highland Park, increased, just as they did for some of their suburban neighbors. One might assume that the city of Detroit had the region’s highest percentage of residents living below the poverty level in 2014 due to the amount of press coverage it receives regarding poverty, crime, and various economic indicators. However, the city of Hamtramck, an immediate neighbor to Detroit, actually had the highest percentage of residents living below the federal poverty level in 2014.

This post will examine the percent of residents throughout the region below the poverty level in 2009 and 2014. Both the change in percent and concentration will be shown with various maps. For reference, according to the U.S. government, the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in 2014 for a family of four was $23,850; in 2009 the FPL was $22,050 for a family of four.

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In 2014, the cities with 30 percent or more of residents living below the poverty line were:

  • Ypsilanti: 30.6%
  • Inkster: 37 %
  • Pontiac: 37.8%
  • Detroit: 39.4%
  • Highland Park: 47.6%
  • Hamtramck: 48.5%

 

As mentioned above, in 2014, the city of Hamtramck had the highest percentage of individuals living below the poverty line at 48.5 percent; in 2009, that number was 38.4 percent. In the city of Detroit, the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line increased from 33.2 percent in 2009 to 39.4 percent in 2014.

 

Each county within the Southeastern Michigan region, with the exception of Livingston County, experienced an increase in the number of communities with a higher percentage of residents living below the poverty line between 2009 and 2014. For example, in 2009, a majority of St. Clair County had less than 10 percent of its residents living below the poverty level, but by 2014 that shifted to between 10-19 percent of residents. There were some communities within that county, though, such as Fort Gratiot and Port Huron Township, which experienced a decrease in the percentage of people living below the poverty level. The higher poverty levels in St. Clair County shifted to the more rural area (the northern part of the county) and to the waterfront communities. Overall, the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line in St. Clair County in 2014 was 15.2 percent.

 

Another visible increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level was in the southern portion of Macomb County. Here, cities such as Eastpointe, Sterling Heights, Center Line and Utica all went from having less than 10 percent of their populations living below the poverty level to between 10 to 19 percent of the populations living below the poverty level. For Eastpointe, just under 10 percent of the population lived below the poverty level in 2009 and in 2014 that percentage increased to 23.5 percent. In Sterling Heights, 7.9 percent of the population lived below the poverty level in 2009, and in 2014 that number increased to 13 percent. Macomb County’s overall poverty rate was 12.2 percent in 2014.

The increase in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line took place in Wayne County as well, with Redford, Flat Rock, Inkster, Wayne, and the southwest portion of the county all experiencing visible changes. Overall, Wayne County had a poverty rate of 24 percent in 2014.

While several communities throughout the region did experience an increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty line there were, as noted above, some that experienced a decrease. For example, in 2009, 10.5 percent of the population in Howell Township in Livingston County lived below the poverty line and in 2014 that number was 4.6 percent.

Among the counties in Southeastern Michigan, Livingston County had the lowest percentage of individuals living below the poverty level in 2014 at 5.4 percent. The percentage of individuals living below the poverty level in Oakland County in 2014 was 9.9 percent and in Monroe County it was 11.8 percent.

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Poverty, while being largely concentrated in the city of Detroit, has shifted outward toward the suburbs between 2009 and 2014, as illustrated above. In Wayne County, areas of Detroit, such as downtown, have experienced decreases in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line while places such as Westland, Romulus and the western portion of the county have experienced an increase. To the north of Detroit, communities in southern Macomb County, such as Eastpointe, and in southeastern Oakland County, such as Hazel Park and Oak Park, have also experienced an increased percentage in the number of residents living below the poverty line.

 

Ann Arbor, while not experiencing a shift the magnitude of Detroit’s, has also seen its populations living below the poverty levels shift to nearby areas like Pittsfield and Scio. Additionally, in Ann Arbor, poverty concentration has decreased in the northeastern portion of the city and dispersed throughout the entire city.

 

While the region has experienced a slight shift and a clear growth in concentrated poverty, this isn’t an uncommon trend for other metropolitan areas throughout the Midwest region. According to “Architecture of Segregation: Civil Unrest, the Concentration of Poverty, and Public Policy,” a new study by the Century Foundation, concentrated poverty has spread from within the boundaries of metropolitan cities and into the inner ring suburbs. This has been attributed, in part, to the gentrification and increased taxes of urban communities, which has resulted in the movement of residents who are living below the poverty level to inner ring suburbs with aging infrastructure.

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Between 2010 and 2014, pockets of Detroit neighborhoods experienced a decline in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line while others experienced increases upwards of 20 percent. Concentrations of poverty in Detroit increased in areas such as Cody/Rouge, the neighborhoods bordering Grosse Pointe Farms, along the borders of Hamtramck, and the Southwest neighborhoods of the city.

Only about a dozen census tracts had less than 20 percent of individuals living below the poverty line in 2010. A majority of these census tracts were located on the city’s west side, west of Palmer Park and near Rosedale Park, along with about four bordering the Grosse Pointes on the east side. By 2014, a majority of those census tracts experienced at least a 5 percent increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level.

 

The neighborhoods along Woodward Avenue north of Highland Park, such as Palmer Park and Green Acres, experienced some of the largest decreases in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty level in the city of Detroit between 2010 and 2014. The Midtown, East Riverside, and Corktown areas also experienced decreases in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level.

 

In spite of the positive trends in these neighborhoods, however, high poverty census tracts have dramatically increased in the city of Detroit since 2000, according to the Century Foundation study cited earlier. By 2014, the majority of the census tracts in the city of Detroit had between 40 and 59.9 percent of residents living below the poverty level. As such, even with the improvements made, poverty concentration continues to be a challenge in the city of Detroit.

It is policies, both new and recent, that have helped contribute to the increase in concentrated poverty. From the investment into new infrastructure, rather than fixing what already stands, to urban sprawl and the disproportionate building of homes for the middle class and wealthy to the income increases being felt by the rich, but maintaining stagnant for the poor, there are policies in place that allow the growth of poverty and concentrated poverty to occur.

 

 

Detroit’s housing costs increasing faster than incomes

Throughout Southeastern Michigan monthly housing costs for renters are increasing generally faster than their monthly household incomes, which in many cases are actually declining, according to data from the American Community Survey. Even in areas where the renters’ incomes improvements exceeded the change in overall regional housing costs between 2010 and 2013, monthly housing costs continued to increase at a rapid pace. There were areas in the region though, particularly Oakland County, where monthly housing cost increases stayed below the monthly household income increases. However, Detroit’s overall housing costs generally increased at a faster pace than the monthly income changes (largely declines) of residents.

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Between 2010 and 2013 all Oakland County communities experienced an increase in household income while many communities throughout the rest of Southeastern Michigan continued to experience a decrease in their household income. St. Clair County had the most communities where the household income decreased more than 9 percent (three-Columbus, Ira and Kimball townships) between 2010 and 2013; the only other county where a community had such an income decrease was Washtenaw with Bridgewater Township.

When just looking at renter’s income change between 2010 and 2013 we see that there were fewer households that experienced an income decrease and more that saw their incomes increase.

According to Governing.com, Michigan is one of three states that suffers from housing affordability burdens, particularly in the rental realm. Incomes may be increasing throughout the state, but for renters earning minimum wage, those small increases often equate to the increases in monthly housing costs, especially as demand for rental units remains high.

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Despite renters throughout the region experiencing income increases, these increases were not equal to or more than their housing costs in several communities. In St. Clair County all of the communities experienced housing cost changes above those of the renters’ monthly income. This was not unique to just St. Clair County though. Rather every county in the region, with the exception of Livingston and Oakland, had renters whose income changes weren’t keeping up with their housing cost increases. With increases in Oakland County’s renters’ income outpacing their monthly housing cost increases this could mean a number of things, including: rental prices are not increasing as quickly as places such as Detroit or Warren because demand is lower; these renters’ incomes are growing as the economy stabilizes (for places like Ferndale, Royal Oak and Rochester we see their income increases are above that of non-renters) while in areas like Detroit the median household income is lower, income growth can’t keep up with cost of housing increases.

A series of five maps drilling down into the City of Detroit (presented below) shows that pockets of the city experienced household income growth between 2010 and 2013. While there was some overlap between overall income growth and renters’ income growth, this wasn’t true for every Census Tract. One area where there was such a difference was just east of Hamtramck. Here we see that Census Tract experienced overall income growth between 2010 and 2013 but the renters there did not see their incomes increase. Renters in that area also experienced monthly housing cost increases that exceeded their income changes. In this area of the city, homeownership also appears to be more prevalent than in other areas of the city.

Throughout other parts of the city we see that the majority of Census Tracts experienced an increase in renters’ household income between 2010 and 2013. But, the increases in monthly housing cost offset most income increases. This could indicate a shift toward gentrification in some areas as long-term, lower-income renters cannot afford increasing monthly housing costs as demand for rental units in Detroit continues to grow. With a current vacancy rate of 5 percent and a desire for many suburbanites to live in areas such as Downtown, Midtown and Corktown, housing costs in the city continue to grow, according to the MetroTimes (link). It is these areas where renters experienced income growth well above the overall changes in the City of Detroit. Not every Census Tract in these neighborhoods though had renters with income changes above the overall change experienced by the city as whole.

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Detroit rental units

Suicide, Substance Use Causing Increased Mortality Rates Among White, Middle-aged Men

Suicide rates are increasing and locally the number of suicides were either highest among those 20-44 or 45-74, as detailed in a recent Drawing Detroit blog post. According to a recent New York Times article, suicide is a cause of death that is not only growing in Southeastern Michigan, but nationally. Throughout the state of Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death for white males between the ages of 35 and 49 (244 suicides total).

The article details recent research conducted by Princeton Economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case, which concludes that the rising death rates among middle-aged white men are being caused by suicides and issues related to substance use. According to the article, the mortality rate for white Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 with no more than a high school education increased by 134 deaths per 100,000 people. While the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services does not detail mortality rates by race, age and education level explicitly on its website, it does show that the mortality rate from white males between the ages of 45 and 54 increased from 469.7 to 494.4 between 2000 and 2013. Just as the death rate for white American males is increasing nationally, Michigan is also experiencing the plight.

While suicide rates have contributed to the growing mortality rate for this segment of the population, Deaton and Case found that suicide coupled with deaths caused by drug use and alcohol poisoning are what explained the increased mortality rate.

No direct explanations were discovered for the increase in suicide deaths and deaths caused by drug and alcohol use, however, Deaton found that increases in mortality rates for middle aged white men were parallel with the same population’s reports on distress, pain and poor health. This correlation, he said, could be used a rationale for the increase in the type of deaths.

 

For more on this article click here.

To learn more about suicide rates in Southeastern Michigan click here.

Veterans in SE Michigan tend to fare better with income and employment

Last week we examined where veterans live throughout the seven-county region of Southeastern Michigan and this week we take a deeper look into the socioeconomic picture for the region’s veterans. Overall, we see that veterans in the region in 2013 tended to have a higher median income level than non-veterans. Also we see that a lower percentage of veterans in the area fell under the poverty line in 2013 than non-veterans. Unemployment status for veterans throughout the region, however, varied.

This data presented in the maps below is from the 2013 American Community Survey.

When looking at median income in Southeastern Michigan at the municipal level, we see that it tended to be higher for veterans than it was for non-veterans. Municipalities such as Bloomfield Hills, Orchard Lake, and Lake Angelus – all of which have higher median income levels than the region as a whole (link to post) – also had higher veteran median income levels than a city such as Highland Park, for example, which has low median income levels.

It should be noted, however, that veterans make up a smaller portion of the population than non-veterans, and as a result, sample size may have had an influence on these numbers.

The unemployment rate among veterans varied much more than it does among non-veterans. The rate among veterans varied from 0.6 percent to 43.4 percent For non-veterans, it ranges from 2.2 percent to in 34.4 percent The locations with high unemployment also varied significantly between veterans and non-veterans, with 12 locations across five counties having over 25 percent unemployment among veterans – rates that were only seen in Detroit and Highland Park among non-veterans.

A lower percentage of veterans were below poverty status, compared to non-veterans throughout Southeastern Michigan. For both veterans and non-veterans, Highland Park had the highest percentage of residents below the poverty line: 46.2 percent of non-veterans and 25.2 percent of veterans. Only two other municipalities had more than 21.5 percent of veterans living below the poverty line: Chelsea (37.9%) and Hazel Park (27.7%). Clyde Township (0.2%) had the lowest percentage of veterans living below the poverty line.

While there were only three municipalities with 21.5 percent or more of veterans living below the poverty line, there were nine municipalities throughout the region where 21.5 percent or more of the non-veteran population was living below the poverty line. Such municipalities included Ecorse, Detroit, Pontiac, Ypsilanti and Port Huron.

Overall we see that while veterans appeared to fare better than non-veterans in terms of income and poverty status, and in some cases employment.