The number of unemployment claims in the state
of Michigan has continued to climb as the coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) has caused
businesses to shutter in an effort to keep residents safe and to “flatten the
curve.” Over the last several weeks Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued numerous
executive orders forcing the closure of businesses, telling residents to stay
home and allowing unemployment benefits to be expanded as a result of the
increasing number of claims.
According to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance
Agency there were 83,177 unemployment claims for all counties in Michigan for
the week ending March 14, 2020. This number is for all claims, including
continued and initial claims. By the following week, the number of unemployment
claims increased to 207,048 for the week ending on March 21, 2020. In total,
that was a week-over-week increase of about 123,000 claims.
The three maps below show the total number of unemployment claims by county in Michigan for the weeks that end on March 14, 2020 and March 21, 2020 and the percent change in claims between those two weeks. All maps will show that Wayne County had the highest number of unemployment claims for both weeks at 15,901 and 40,025, respectively.
The counties with the 10 highest number of unemployment
claims in the last few weeks were:
Number of Claims Week Ending 3/14/2020
Number of Claims Week Ending 3/21/2020
While Wayne County had the highest number of unemployment claims, Washtenaw County had the largest percent change between both weeks at 294 percent (increase of 3,943 claims), followed by Ottawa County at 237 percent (increase of 3,280 claims) and then Kent County at 235 percent (increase of 8,341 claims). In Wayne County there was a percent increase of 152 between the two weeks, which was equivalent to an increase in 24,124 claims. For Oakland County there was a percent increase in unemployment claims of 205 percent (15,989 claims) and for Macomb County the percent increase was 197 percent (14,946 claims).
With the Stay Home, Stay Safe order being issued by Gov. Whitmer on March 23, 2020 it is likely that unemployment claims in the State of Michigan will continue to increase. According to a recent article from Michigan Radio, the State of Michigan has a $4.6 billion trust fund to pay unemployment benefits and it has assured people that if they file for unemployment benefits they will be paid.
Funding for the Michigan Council for Arts
and Cultural Affairs has increased nearly ten-told since 2011, but is still far
below what it was prior to the Great Recession. Michigan Council for Arts and
Cultural Affairs is the state’s lead agency that develops art and culture
policy and distributes grants to support such policies throughout the state.
This state agency receives both federal and state funding, the federal funding
of which is typically a match to state funding.
The first chart below reflects the total amount appropriated to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs from both the State and the federal government and the second chart shows how much has been allocated from just the State.
Overall, the total appropriation for
Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in fiscal year 2020 is $9.7 million. That
amount has been the agency’s total annual allocation since 2015, except in 2018
and 2019 when the total appropriation amounts were $10.7 million. Since 1997 the
highest total appropriation amount Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural
Affairs has received is $25.5
while state funding for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs has
been increasing in recent years it is still at less than have of where it was
at in the late 1990s.
According to budget data provided by the
Michigan Arts Council the State of Michigan appropriated $10.1 million for the
arts in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and $9.1 million in 2020; $9.1 million was
also appropriated between 2015 and 2017. However, in 2011 and 2012 the State
appropriated $1.5 million to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural
Affairs. The federal government has consistently provided a grant to the Michigan
Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for $1.05 million since at least 2011.
When these funds are allocated from the federal government each year the
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs is expected to match, at the
most, what has been allocated to them by the federal government.
The overall purpose of the Michigan
Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs is to promote civic engagement, economic
development and educational opportunities. This agency has been able to do this
by supporting field trips and classroom initiatives, providing funding to area
government capital improvements, along with a host of other programs throughout
the state. While this agency does infuse local governments and schools with
access to arts and culture, it does not provide funding to the Detroit Institute
of Arts (DIA). The DIA is instead funded through a public millage (which is up
for a 10 year renewal on March 10), an endowment fund, revenue through
admissions and programs and donations.
Last week we examined the median income of families with school aged children by school district, and this week we examine the median income of single mothers with school aged children. The highest median income for a single mother in the Metro-Detroit region is in both Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham school districts; the median income for both these districts is just under $83,000. These median incomes are just under half of the highest median income for families with children, which is $184,289 in the Northville Public School District. Single mothers in the Northville Public School District have a median income of about $67,000.
As noted in last week’s post, the income of a parent, or
parents, does affect the education of a child due to the access the family has
to housing, resources and, ultimately, the school districts. While single
mothers in districts such as Birmingham,
Bloomfield Hills and Berkley ($70,000) have a higher median income than the
poverty threshold for a family of four ($25,750), access issues do still exist.
There is a higher risk of those issues existing in school
districts such as Hamtramck, Highland Park, Detroit and Ecorse, where the
median income for single mothers is below that of the federal poverty line for
a family of four. The Hamtramck School District has the lowest median income
for single mothers at $12,454; the
Highland Park School District follows at $15,224 and then the Ecorse Public
School District at $16,108 and Detroit Public Schools at $18,730. In total,
throughout Southeastern Michigan, there are 12 school districts where the
median income for single mothers is below $20,000; six of the districts are
located in Wayne County. Additionally, none of those school districts are
located in Livingston County. When looking at the number of school districts
where the median income of a single mother is below that of the poverty line
for a family of four there are 29 school districts. Again, Wayne County has the
highest number of school districts with single mothers with a median income
below the poverty line and Livingston County doesn’t have any districts with
Where a student lives often impacts what school they attend, and those that live in a higher income area often have access to more educational resources and opportunities. In all of Southeastern Michigan the Northville Public School District has the highest median income for families with children at $184,289. This public school district brings public education opportunities to residents in the City of Northville, Northville Township and a portion of those in Novi. In total, there are six elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school that houses about 7,000 students. The median income examined in this post is for families with school-aged children that live within the boundaries of a school district, which does not necessarily encompass the boundary lines of a city or township.
There are only four school districts in the region where the
median income for families with children is above $150,000. In addition to
Northville Public Schools, those districts are: Birmingham Public Schools
($175,132), Bloomfield Hills Schools ($159,441) and Grosse Ile Township Schools
The Highland Park School District had the lowest median
income for families with children at $16,847. This school district is contained
within the boundaries of the City Highland Park. Currently,
the only school in the district is a K-8 charter school that serves about 370
students; a high school is expected to open in the near future. Prior to the
recession, Highland Park School District had an enrollment of about 3,900
students in 2007-08; enrollment dropped to under 1,000 during the 2011-12 school
year. The changes in enrollment reflected the loss of residents in Highland
Park and the School of Choice law that allowed students in one district to
attend school in another district. Due to declining enrollment and a loss of
revenue, Highland Parks schools was placed under financial receivership and it
was determined all schools in the district would be converted into two charter
schools. As mentioned, one charter school is currently the only school in the
Throughout the region there were five school districts where
the median income of a family with children was under $25,000, those districts,
which include Highland Park schools are: River Rouge School District ($19,837),
Ecorse Public Schools ($23,668) Hamtramck Public Schools ($24,441) and Detroit
Public Schools ($24,945). Both Detroit and Highland Park public schools have
had Emergency Managers appointed by the state.
Wayne County is the only county in the region with public
school districts that has median family incomes under $25,000.
The income threshold in Michigan that is considered to be
the poverty line is $33,000 for a family of four. The only other school
district in Southeastern Michigan that has a median income for families with
children that falls below the poverty line is Van Dyke Public Schools in Macomb
Understanding the median income of families with children
for the districts in Southeastern Michigan is important because it also helps
cultivate a further understanding of educational inequalities that often exist
between children in high income and low-income families. According to the
article “Income Segregation between School Districts and Inequality in
Students’ Achievements,” the standardized test score, educational attainment
and college enrollment gaps have continued to grow between children in
high-income families and children in low-income families (Owens, 2017). This of
course affects the future of the children, including employment and housing
options. Family income also affects a child because it helps determine the
resources invested into the child, including where they live, which can have a
direct affect on their cognitive test scores, according to the article.
Additionally, other resources that affect the child’s wellbeing include food,
clothing and investments like books, technology and extra curricular
The U.S. education system allows students to attend either
public or private schools, both for K-12 and post secondary education. While
public education is the most common choice for parents and students, there are
a large number of students who attend private schools. In Southeastern
Michigan, the percentage of students within public school distract boundaries
who attend private schools varies between 1 and 24 percent.
In the Southeastern Michigan region there are 110 public
school districts, and within each of those districts some portion of students
are sent to private schools. Of the 110 public school districts, 30 have more
than 10 percent of students who attend a school operated by a private entity.
Furthermore, there are five districts in the region where more than 20 percent
of students in each district attend a private school. Of these five school
districts, four are in Oakland County and one is in Wayne County. According to
data from the American Community Survey, both Birmingham Public Schools and the
Bloomfield Hills School District (both
in Oakland County) have the highest percentage of students who attend private
schools at 24 percent. The other two
school districts in Oakland County where more than 20 percent of students are
attending private schools are Berkley and Royal Oak public schools (21 and 23
percent, respectively). The Garden City public school district in Wayne County
is the other district where more than 20 percent of students attend private schools
Conversely, Van Dyke Public Schools (Macomb County) and the Hazel Park Public School District (Oakland County) have the lowest percentage of students attending private schools in Southeastern Michigan at 1 percent. In Detroit, 6 percent of students in the Detroit Public Schools district attend private schools.
While there are various reasons for students to attend private schools, which include religious preferences, classroom sizes and access to specific resources, the districts with the two highest percentages of students attending private schools also are amongst those with the highest median incomes for parents in the region, according to the American Community Survey. In Birmingham Public Schools the median income of families with children is $175,132, and in the Bloomfield Hills public school district the median income for families with children is $159,441. Conversely, the median income for families with children in Van Dyke Public Schools district is $27,125, and in the Hazel Park Public School District the median income is $44,093.
Private school in Michigan, as it currently stands, do not
receive any public funding. With tuition costs to fund the operation of these private
schools, it is not surprising that the districts with higher median incomes
have higher percentages of students attending private schools.
The goal of the 2020 Census is to count each person in the
U.S., based on their primary residence, by April 1, 2020. However, the fear is
that several communities in Michigan will be undercounted in the 2020 Census,
meaning a lack of federal funding in the future. And a major portion of
7-county Southeastern Michigan area is in the so-called “hard to count”
The majority of the Census is completed by households
self-responding via mail or online, starting this year. Throughout the country
there are areas where self-response rates are very high, and in other areas
they are just the opposite. The areas with previously low self-response rates
have been deemed as “hard to count” areas; these areas often include minority
and immigrant populations, along with renters and children under the age of 5.
Data for this post was provided by City University of New
York, and they deemed an area hard to count if its self-response rate was 73
percent or less for the 2010 Census. This percentage is based on the mail
return rate from occupied housing units for the 2010 Census.
As the map shows below, at the county level, self-response mail in rates are high throughout Southeastern Michigan, ranging from 78.5 percent to 86.6 percent. Livingston County had the highest self-response rate at 86.6 percent while Wayne County had the lowest at 78.5 percent. Breaking this data down to the census tract level helped determined what areas would be hard to count for the 2020 Census.
Overall, at the county level, five of the seven counties have hard to count populations. Wayne County has the highest hard to count population at 30 percent and Macomb County has the lowest hard to count population (of those with such a population) at 2 percent. Livingston and St. Clair counties did not have any hard to count data available. Wayne and Washtenaw counties are the only two in the region with hard to count populations in the double digits (30 and 10 percent, respectively).
When looking at the counties on a deeper level, by census tract, we see that Highland Park, Inkster and Detroit (all in Wayne County) have the largest hard to count populations in the region. In Highland Park 100 percent of the population is considered hard to count for the 2020 Census; in Inkster that percentage is 91 percent and in Detroit 86 percent of the population is considered hard to count. The top reason for all three of these cities having such a percentage of hard to count populations is due to the high poverty levels. Other reasons, according to AP News, include a high African American population, low response rates to the American Community Survey and a high percentage of children living below the poverty level. Of the hard to count communities in Southeastern Michigan (27), nine have hard to count populations above 50 percent.
Washtenaw County has the second overall highest percentage of hard to count populations. This is because Ypsilanti has 52 percent of the population considered hard to count. Ann Arbor is estimated to have 29 percent of its population designated as hard to count. The main reason for Ann Arbor’s hard to count status is because of the high percentage of residents between the ages of 18-24 years of age (the University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor); there is also a high proportion of renters there and a high proportion of individuals who move residences from one year to the next. In Ypsilanti there is a high hard to count population due to high poverty levels and the high number of renters.
To ensure overall high self-response rates the Census Bureau
has now made it possible for individuals to complete the Census online, by mail
and over the phone. If residents do not respond by one of those methods census
takers will knock on the doors of homes that have not responded. Additionally,
communities throughout the stateare also putting together large outreach
campaigns to ensure members of their communities complete the Census. For
example, the City of Detroit has a website that lists Census resources, ways to
volunteer for outreach events and how to apply for a job with the Census. For
more information on the Census visit 2020census.gov.
In December of 2019 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 3.5, which is 0.6 percentage points lower than what it was in 2018 (4.1), according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate of 3.5 in December was the same as it was in September and October of 2019. However, it was 0.3 points higher than it was in the previous month.
December unemployment data at the local level is not yet available from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, but the November 2019 unemployment rate for the City of Detroit was 7 percent, which is the lowest it was all year. The November unemployment rate was 0.8 percentage points lower than the October 2019 unemployment rate (7.8 percent) and also 0.8 percentage points lower than the November 2018 Detroit unemployment rate.
The chart above displays the unemployment
rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for November
and 2019. In November
Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 4. Washtenaw
County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2.
Between November of 2018
and 2019 each county in the region had a lower unemployment rate in 2019 than
the previous year,
with the exception of Oakland County. In both November of 2018 and 2019 Oakland
County had an unemployment rate of 2.9. In that same time span Monroe County
had the largest difference in unemployment rates. In November 2018 the Monroe
County unemployment rate was 3.7 and in November 2019 the unemployment rate was
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
According to the index, the average price
of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $129,250
this was $1,540
average family dwelling price in September. The September 2019 price
was an increase of $3,170 from October
and an increase of $9,860 from October
an increase of $17,920
and increase of $24,440
and, finally, an increase of
$29,490 from October
For our cities to function effectively, taxes must be levied
to support services vital to their survival. Here we examine the same
hypothetical Eastpointe property discussed last week to portray what additional
taxes—beyond general school, city and county operating millages—are levied to
provide services to this city’s residents.
The first chart below shows that from 1998 to 2009, the
total dollar amount this hypothetical property owner was paying in taxes
gradually increased. This can be attributed to two factors. First, both the
assessed and taxable value of the property (shown in Chart 3) gradually
increased during that time, meaning more property tax revenue for local
governments. Second, voters approved at least one new major tax levy during
that time. This major tax was approved in 2005 and allowed the city to collect
a special levy of up to 7 mills for public safety. For this hypothetical
household, that levy equaled $327.94 in 2005. In contrast, a decade later, that
same special levy brought in $219.08. The decline was due to the fact that the
taxable value of the property plummeted, along with the assessed value, in the
wake of the Great Recession.
As shown in Chart 1, the amount of taxes this hypothetical
property owner paid peaked in 2009 ($2,432.30), which corresponded with the peak
taxable value of this home ($53,599). The subsequent decline in tax bills
occurred despite new service assessments approved by Macomb County voters. For
example, it was in December of 2008 when the regional millage for the Detroit
Zoo began to appear on the tax bills for this property, which by then had a
taxable value of $51,340.41, costing the homeowner $5.13. Tax data from the
City of Eastpointe also shows that this new assessment was much lower than
existing county assessments such as the Huron-Clinton Metroparks millage, costing
this hypothetical property owner $11.01 in 2009,and the Suburban Mobility Authority
for Regional Transit (SMART) millage, which cost the homeowner $30.29 that year.
Chart 2 below presents a timeline of the changes in county-wide and city millages
that affected Eastpointe taxpayers.
**(Note-all taxes on the Eastpointe
tax bill are included in the graph above)
Chart 2: Timeline of Eastpointe, Macomb County Millages and Increased
Suburban Mobility Area Transit Authority
(SMART): 1 mill (quadrennial countywide renewals approved at varying rates; the
most recent was narrowly approved in 2018)
Eastpointe Public Safety: 7 mills (part of
general city operating millage starting in 2016)
Detroit Zoo: 0.1 mill (2008-present; renewal
approved in 2016)
Macomb County Veteran Millage: 0.4 mills
(2008-present; increase approved in 2016)
Recreation Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe:
1 millage (2011-Present)
Detroit Institute of Arts: 0.2 mills (2012-2022;
renewal question on March 2020 ballot)
South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority
(SMORSA): 14 mills (2015-present)
**The Huron Clinton
Metropark Authority millage has been levied since the 1940s***
The trend of decreased property values and the addition of
special assessments to tax bills continued in the wake of the Great Recession. In
2011, residents in Eastpointe and Roseville approved a 1-mill levy to fund the newly
created Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe (RARE). Later,
voters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties approved a 10-year, 1 mill tax for
the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), which appeared on tax bills in December of
2012. The largest increase came in 2015, when Eastpointe and Hazel Park voters
approved the creation of the South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority
(SMORSA), to provide a new revenue source for public safety services in both
cities; this regional authority levies 14 mills annually. Macomb County voters
also approved a 0.069 mill veterans millage in 2016, a slight increase from an
earlier 0.04 millage rate. In addition,
residents of Eastpointe have regularly renewed a millage to support their local
Between 1998 and 2019, the timeline for the data in this
post, the amount in taxes paid reached a high in 2009 at $2,432.30 (when the
taxable value of the property was at its highest) and a low in 2014 at
$1,563.50 (when the taxable value was at its lowest). Due to the limitations of
Michigan’s Proposal A, which only allows annual taxable value increases of 5
percent or the rate of inflation (unless the property is sold), the taxable
value of this hypothetical property rose only about 7.4 percent over the next
five years (2015-19). However, due to these new assessments, the hypothetical
property owner paid about 38 percent more in total property tax during that
timeframe—roughly equal to the rate of the home’s assessed value increase.
Eastpointe’s case reveals that local governments have had
some success in combating the fiscal consequences of the decline of general
operating tax revenue with voter-approved special assessments for the
county-level service authorities, and especially with SMORSA. Voter support for
these services has been there in recent years, but it remains to be seen
whether it will persist in the coming years.
This year, property owners across Macomb County may see some
additional changes to their tax bills. In March, the DIA will ask voters to
renew a 10 year, 1 mill tax renewal; if voted down in any particular county, the
DIA assessment in that county will fall off the tax rolls in 2022. Voters will
also be asked to approve a 1.9, 10-year millage on the March ballot to support
classroom operations through the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD);
this proposed millage is different from the general operating millages currently
levied by the MISD and local school districts.
Later, in August, Macomb County voters will also be asked to approve a
millage for a yet to be determined amount and length to support either building
a new county jail or renovating the current one. The Regional Transit Authority
(RTA) may also be considering a millage proposal in 2020; although at this time
it appears Macomb County voters will not be asked to support the proposal to
This post is the first of many that will
demonstrate the difference between the taxable and assessed values in
communities throughout Southeastern Michigan and explain the various taxes
levied in these communities and their use. We will highlight at least one
community in each county in the region and this post discusses Eastpointe in
Macomb County. Eastpointe, formerly known as East Detroit, has a population of
about 32,000, a median income of about $46,000 and a median home value of
$64,700, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The chart below shows the taxable value
and assessed value of a
Eastpointe home, beginning in July of 1998 through December of 2019. The
taxable value is the value used to calculate a property’s taxes, and each year
it can only increase by 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
This number may be equal to the property’s state equalized, or assessed value,
but not more than those values. Such limits on tax growth, or lack thereof, is
a result of Proposal A, a state constitutional amendment approved by voter referendum in 1994.
The assessed value of a property, or the state equalized valued (SEV), is
usually about half of a property’s true cash value, and the true cash value is
the fair market value of the property.
In 1998 the taxable value of the
Eastpointe property examined was $40,000 and the assessed value was $50,000. In
July of 2007 the assessed value of the property peaked at $83,252 but the
taxable value was only at $50,186. By 2008 the Great Recession hit Southeastern
Michigan and both the assessed values and taxable values of properties began to
decline. Between July of 2007 and July of 2010 the assessed value decreased
from $83,252 to $40,700, or more than 50 percent ($40,000). The
annual declines continued after the recession, and the assessed value of the
property reached its lowest point in July of 2014 at $34,641, a nearly 60%
decline from its peak.
July of 2014 the assessed value of the property has increased to $47,840.
As noted, the taxable value of the
property was $40,000 in July of 1998, but it did not increase nearly as much as
the assessed value did, because it cannot rise more than
the rate of inflation or 5 percent from year-to-year. As a result,
taxable value of the property did not peak until July of 2009 ($53,599).
A year later though, in July of 2010, the taxable value plummeted to $39,749. A
property’s taxable value can decrease in such a way if there is a physical loss
to the property and/or if the property is sold in the previous tax year. The
Great Recession began in 2008 and by 2010 the taxable value of properties were
on the decline, ultimately
governmental budgets, and services.
July of 2013 the taxable value of this Eastpointe property reached its low
point at $30,804. Since then the taxable value of the property has only
increased to $33,095.
Due to economic trends and the way taxable values and assessed values are calculated under Proposal A of, the assessed value of a property is nearly always higher than the taxable value. For this specific property, the only time the taxable value and assessed value were nearly the same was in July of 2009, whenthe taxable value was $39,749 and the assessed value was $40,700. In addition, while the gap between the two values has not been nearly as large as it was prior to the recession, since 2016 that gap has been widening.
As noted earlier, our various forms of
government rely on property taxes to function, primarily our local governments
(municipalities and school districts). The chart above shows that just because
the local economy is recovering since the Great Recession, the budgets of local
governments are not necessarily reaping the benefits. According to a recent
report by the Michigan Municipal League, 173 cities in Michigan have
experienced a 2 percent or less revenue growth in the last 15 years and an
additional 52 have experienced a budget growth of 3 percent or more. For
Eastpointe, according to the a recent report released by the Michigan Municipal
League, the total revenue for the city in 2002 was $22.3 million, and in 2017
it was $25.8 million. While the total revenue for Eastpointe has increased by
16 percent the revenue generated by property and income taxes declined by 23
percent. However, while the effects of limited property tax have
affected municipalities across the state, the slow growth of such taxes has
the property owners. According to a September 2018 Detroit Free Press article
income growth in the state has increased since the last recession, household
incomes prior to the recession have not yet been recouped. Since incomes are
also recovering at a slower rate, it can be viewed that the slow growth rate of
property tax revenue is allowing property owners to better stay afloat
It should be noted though that a, at least in Southeastern Michigan,
local tax bills have become gradually more complicated as voters approve additional
levies, to help make up for the loss in
revenue as a result of the recession, and the loss in revenue due to the
Next week we will examine the various taxes levied for this hypothetical
Eastpointe property, including what they are for, what additional ones have
been added over time and how the overall tax amount for the property has either
increased, or decreased, over time.
Traffic fatalities in Michigan totaled
just under 1,000 in 2018, a number that officials from the Michigan State
Police said is too high. However, that number was below the 2016 and 2017
traffic fatality numbers which rose above 1,000. Below we examine the number of
traffic fatalities and injuries in Southeastern Michigan, along with the number
of fatalities and injuries related to alcohol, distracted driving and drugs. As
the charts show, of the factors examined, alcohol is the largest contributor to
traffic fatalities in the region.
Wayne County, which is also the largest
county in the state, had the highest number of traffic fatalities at 164, 63 of
which were alcohol related. Distracted driving contributed to 6 of the164
deaths and drugs contributed to 38. Oakland and Macomb counties had the second
and third highest number of traffic fatalities in the region at 54 and 53. In
Oakland County, of the 54 traffic fatalities, 13 were alcohol related, 3 were
related to distracted driving and 8 were related to drugs. For Macomb County, alcohol
contributed to 18 of the 53 traffic deaths and distracted driving contributed
to 3 of the deaths; there were not any drug related traffic deaths.
When looking at the percentage of alcohol
related traffic deaths compared to the total number of traffic deaths, Monroe
County had the highest rate. Of the 29 traffic deaths in Monroe County in 2018,
48 percent of them (14) were alcohol related. St. Clair County had the lowest
percentage at 6 percent. In 2018 there were 16 traffic deaths in St. Clair
County and 1 was alcohol related. With those two exceptions, the percentage of
alcohol related traffic deaths ranges between 24 and 38 percent.
Of the other two factors, drugs contributed more to traffic fatalities than distracted driving.
Injuries related to vehicle accidents are
higher than fatalities and while Wayne, Oakland and Macomb still had the
highest numbers in the region, the data shows that distracted driving was
reported to be the largest contributor of the factors examined. Overall, data
indicated that distracted driving contributed to an average of 10 percent of
the traffic related injuries in Southeastern Michigan in 2018. In Macomb C,
Monroe and Washtenaw counties distracted driving contributed to 11 percent of
the traffic related injuries and in Wayne County distracted driving contributed
to 7 percent.
Although Wayne County had the lowest percentage of distracted driving related traffic injuries in the region, it had the highest number at 1,082 (there were 16,578 total injuries). Alcohol was related to 897 traffic injuries in Wayne County and drugs were related to 281 injuries. In Oakland County there were 10,105 total traffic related injuries, 572 of which were alcohol related, 1,013 of which were related to distracted driving and 199 of which were related to drugs. In Macomb County there were 7,360 traffic related injuries, 391 of which were related to alcohol, 813 of which were related to distracted driving, and none of which were related to drugs. And, while Macomb County did not report any drug related traffic injuries in 2018, St. Clair County was the only county in the region where there were more drug related traffic injuries than alcohol or distracted driving injuries. In 2018 there were 931 traffic injuries in St. Clair County, 122 of which were related to drugs.
While the full 2019 Michigan State Police
Report on traffic fatalities and injuries has not been released, officials
maintain that they continue to strive for fewer than 1,000 fatalities each
year. Additionally, officials have said they believe the lower 2018 number is
related to additional efforts made to educate drivers and stricter enforcement.
The 2019 numbers will be released in March, and at that time we will examine
the new data and compare it to historical data.