Crops Growth Behind Due to Weather

Knee high by the Fourth of July.

That’s how the old saying goes for farmers to measure the success of their corn crop during the summer months. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture 98-100 percent of corn and soybean crops are planted by the end of June. However, this year, because of wet soil conditions, only 90 percent of corn crops had been planted by June 23, 2019 and about 71 percent of soybean crops had been planted. While nearly all of the corn is planted by now, it does not mean it will be ready for harvesting when typically expected. Right now, a lot looks about ankle3 high, instead of knee high.  As for the soybeans, planting is far below the five-year average, and conditions are declining because of the waterlogged soil.

Given that crop production may be down this year, we took a look at the number of acres planted, aggregate yields last year and bushels yielded per acre in 2018 in Southeastern Michigan. This can  provide a better perspective as to how agriculture affects the lives and economy of Michigan residents.

Regionally, Monroe County had the highest number of acres harvested for corn at 50,500 acres, with Washtenaw County coming in second at 35,000 acres. Monroe, St. Clair, Livingston and areas of Macomb and Washtenaw counties are more rural, with more space for farming. Oakland and Wayne counties tend to be more urban and have the lowest number of acres harvested, along with the fewest number of bushels yielded and produced. Following the trend in which county harvested the most amount of corn regionally, Monroe County also produced the most at 8.5 million bushels of corn and it yielded 168.3 bushels per acre. A bushel is an old measure based on a bushel basket. Wayne County produced the lowest number of bushels of corn at 70,000; it yielded 116.7 bushels per acre.  In terms of the most amount of corn yielded in 2018, St. Clair County had the highest yield at 176.5 bushels yielded per acre of corn planted.


When looking at the amount of soybeans harvested in 2018 regionally, Monroe County again had the highest number of acres harvested at 83,500, and St. Clair County had the second highest at 70,200. Wayne County had the lowest number of soybean acres harvested at 3,000 acres. In terms of production, Monroe County produced the highest amount at 3,765,000 bushels; a bushel of soybeans weighs 60 pounds.  St. Clair County produced 3,150,000 bushels of soybeans and Wayne County had the lowest production rate at 118,000 bushels. When looking at the amount of soybeans yielded per acre each county was within close range of the others. Livingston County had the highest yield rate at 47.7 bushels per acre and Washtenaw County had the lowest yield rate at 43.1 bushels per acre. 


While the majority of crops are now planted there are still many farmers worried about the yield for crops that will be harvested and produced. There are also plenty of farmers relying on crop insurance to ensure some kind of income for the year. According to recent MLive article, the extent of crop insurance claims this year is 13 times higher than last year. As we wait to see what the end result of this year’s corn and soybean crop season is, we also wait to see if the weather patterns of this summer will become a pattern in years to come.

Birth Rates Continue to Decline in Michigan

In 2017 Kent County had the highest birth rate per 10,000 people in the state of Michigan at 136.5. This means there were 8,684 live births in Kent County in 2017 with a population of 636,376. Wayne County had the second highest birth rate in the state at 131.9 live births per 10,000 people; this equates to 23,257 live births for a population of about 1.7 million. Of the 83 counties in Michigan 38 of them had live birth rates above 100 per 10,000 people in 2017. Additionally, in terms of the total number of live births Wayne County had the highest total with Oakland County having the second highest total at 13,184.

As the second map below shows, most of the state had between 13 and 4,660 live births in 2017. There were 12 counties where the total number of live births was below 100, with Keweenaw County having the lowest number of live births in 2017 at 13.  Keweenaw County is in the Upper Peninsula, and like Keweenaw County several of the other counties in the UP had less than 100 live births in 2017. On the opposite end of the range, there were only five counties in the state that had more than 4,660 live births, those counties being Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Genesee and Kent counties.

onitoring the number of births and birth rates in an area is important because it directly impacts policy and budgeting as it relates to education and health care. In the U.S., and in Michigan, the number of births are dropping. For example, in 2017 in Michigan there was a total of 111,507, which was about 2 percent lower than what it was the previous year. As Michigan’s population ages but birth rates decline some are concerned that long-term this will affect the state’s economy and the talent pool.

Hamtramck Schools Have Highest Percentage of Students Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch

A few weeks ago Drawing Detroit explored how many students are eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services by county. With the percentage of students being eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services being a proxy measure of poverty, we wanted to dig deeper into the data to see what areas of each county had the highest and lowest percentage of services eligible for the service. 

Those who are eligible for free or reduced lunch prices are children in households that receive benefits from the Food Assistance Program or Family Independence Program. For example, in 2018, a family of four that has an annual income of about $33,000 or less was eligible for free or reduced lunch prices.

Hamtramck Public Schools may not be the most populated school district in Southeastern Michigan, but it has the highest percentage of students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services. According to the Michigan Department of Education, out of the 3,300 students enrolled in Hamtramck Public Schools, 3,115 are eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services. This translates to 94 percent of the school population being eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services. In total, there are only seven school districts in the region where 80 percent or more of the students in the district are eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services. Of those seven districts, four are in Wayne County (Hamtramck Public Schools, Detroit Public Schools, Highland Park Public Schools and Inkster Public Schools), two are in Macomb County (Mount Clemens Public School District and Van Dyke Public Schools) and one is in Oakland County (Oak Park Public Schools).

On the opposite end of the spectrum there are 14 school districts in the region where 20 percent or less of the student population is eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services. Northville Public Schools has the lowest percentage of students eligible at 6.5 percent. In total, of the 7,355 students enrolled in the school district, 483 are eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch benefits. Macomb and St. Clair counties are the only two in the region with no school districts with less than 20 percent of students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services. In St. Clair County, all the school districts have between 20 and 60 percent of students eligible and in Macomb County, majority of the school districts are in that same range. The exception in Macomb County is the Mount Clemens School District and the inner-ring Detroit school districts, such as Van Dyke Public Schools, Warren Consolidated Schools and others that are near the City of Detroit. In the more rural school districts to the west (in Washtenaw and Livingston counties) nearly all the school districts have less than 40 percent of students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services.

With majority of the school districts in the region having at least 20 percent or more of students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch services, this highlights a need for more investment in our children, ensuring they have the resources mentally and physically grow. As noted earlier, this data also relates to the poverty levels in the region and further highlights how it affects our youth. 

Economic Indicators: Housing Prices $30K Higher Since 2014

In April of 2019 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 3.7, a decrease from the March unemployment rate of 4.4, according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of  Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate for April of 2018 was 0.2 points higher than what it was in December of 2019 (3.7).

The Detroit rate was 0.8 points lower in April of 2019 from the previous month. Also, the April 2019 unemployment rate for Detroit was the same as it was during the same time the previous year ( unemployment rate was 8 both years).



The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for April of 2018 and 2019. In April of 2019 Wayne County and St. Clair County both had the highest unemployment rates at 4.6. Washtenaw County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.6. Washtenaw County was also the only county in the region to have a lower unemployment rate in April 2019 than in April 2018. Macomb and St. Clair counties had the highest difference in their unemployment rates between April 2018 and 2018; in that time frame the rates increased by 0.5. The unemployment rate for Wayne County increased by 0.4.



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 $123,370 in February 2019; this was $180 higher than the average family dwelling price in January. The February 2019 price was an increase of $5,710 from February of 2018 and an increase of $12,340 from February of 2017, an increase of $19,940 from February of 2016 and increase of  $26,490 from February of 2015 and, finally, an increase of 
$29,270 from February of 2014.

Wayne County has Highest Percentage of Children Owed Child Support

In 2017 Wayne County had the highest percentage of children owed child support in Southeastern Michigan at 26.6 percent. What this means is that among children who should  be receiving child support, there is a percentage in each county who are still owed something. The age of children looked at for this data was 0-19 years of age. Next to Wayne County, St. Clair County had the second highest percentage of children owed child support at 22.2 percent. Washtenaw County had the lowest percentage of children owed child support at 11.9 percent, and Livingston County was at 12.2 percent.

Just as Wayne County had the highest percentage of children owed child support, it also had the highest percentage of children owed child support who had not received any. According to the data, 33.2 percent of Wayne County children who were owed child support in 2017 had not received any. And, while Washtenaw County had the lowest percentage of children owed child support regionally, it had the second highest percentage of children who had not received any. In 2017, 19 percent of Washtenaw County children who were owed child support did not receive any. Livingston County had the lowest percentage of children who were owed child support but didn’t receive any at 7.3 percent. The difference in the percentage of children owed child support and the percentage who have received none could be dependent on several factors, including the median income and employment rates of that area and the resources a county dedicates to ensuring those who owe child support pay.

Child support plays a vital role in a child’s life by giving him or her additional resources to have access to financial security. Child support helps ensure a child has food, shelter and other daily necessities. Each situation involving child support differs, but in general, if a parent does not have full custody of a child he or she should anticipate paying at least 25 percent of their income for child support.

Wayne County Has Highest Percentage of Free/Reduced Lunch Eligible Students

Access to regular and nutritious meals is important, particularly for children. Having access to breakfast and lunch allows students to be able to focus better, have energy and to grow, both physically and mentally. For this reason, we have adopted programs to deliver free and reduced price lunches to children in difficult circumstances. The percentage of children eligible for free or reduced lunches prices thus tracks poverty levels in a school district or county, while at the same time representing an investment in our children.

Those who are eligible for free or reduced lunch prices arechildren in households that receive benefits from the Food Assistance Program or Family Independence Program. For example, in 2018, a family of four that has an annual income of about $33,000 or less was eligible for free or reduced lunch prices. As the map below shows, Wayne County had the highest percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch in 2018, according to data from the 2019 Kids Count. In 2018 64.5 percent of school-aged children in Wayne County were eligible for free or reduced lunch prices. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 35.5 percent of children living in Wayne County in 2017 (the most recent data) were considered to be living below the poverty level. In 2017 a family of four was considered to be living below the poverty level if the annual household income was $24,600 or less. The county with the second highest percentage of school-aged children eligible for free or reduced lunch prices was Macomb County at 47.6 percent, and St. Clair County was slightly behind with 45.7 percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch prices. And, for additional insight, the percentage of children living below the poverty level in 2017 in Macomb County was 17.6 percent, and the percentage of children living below the poverty level in St. Clair County was 19.2 percent.  Regionally, the county with the lowest percentage of children eligible for free or reduced lunch prices was Livingston County; 22 percent of students were eligible. The percentage of children living below the poverty level in Livingston County was 7 percent.



While we do know that the percentage of children eligible for free or reduced lunch prices is a proxy measure for poverty, the percentages for both data sets do not directly mimic one other. Additionally, the income guidelines differ for the overall poverty level and eligibility for free and reduced lunch. Overall though, we do see that areas with higher poverty levels have a higher percentage of children eligible for free or reduced lunch prices.

Wayne County Continues to Lose Residents

In our seven county region, Wayne County continues to be the most populated county, yet since 2010 it has also lost the most residents, according to new population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018 Wayne County had a population of about 1.75 million people, the Census estimated. However, as the second map shows, this was a loss of about 67,000 people since 2010. This change in population resulted in a 3.6 percent decline in Wayne County’s population. St. Clair and Monroe counties also experienced population losses since 2010.  According to the data, St. Clair County experienced a 2.3 percent population loss since 2010 and Monroe County experienced a 1 percent population loss. In 2018 St. Clair County had a population of about 159,000 and Monroe County had a population of about 150,000.

While more rural counties like St. Clair and Monroe counties experienced a population loss, Livingston and Washtenaw counties experienced the most growth regionally. In 2018 Washtenaw County had a population of about 371,000, which was an 8 percent growth since 2010. This 8 percent growth meant an additional 26,000 people moved to the county since 2010. In Livingston County the population grew by about 6 percent since 2010. In 2018 the Livingston County population was about 191,000, this is reflective of about a 10,000 person growth since 2010.

Macomb and Oakland counties also experienced population growth since 2010, by 4.7 and 4 percent, respectively. Oakland County is the only other county in the region with a population above 1 million (its population is about 1.3 million). Macomb County has a population of about 875,000.



At the state level, Michigan’s population has continued to grow for seven years now, with its most recent population count being just under 10 million people. One reason it is estimated the state is experiencing growth is because more people are moving to Michigan, and fewer people are leaving.

Number of Females Elected in Michigan Increases

In November of 2018 Michigan voters cast ballots for a record number of females to serve as elected officials. The office of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state are now all filled by females. In addition, there was an increase of females elected to serve in the House of Representatives and the State Senate. Also, two female were elected to the State Supreme Court, one being an incumbent and the other a newcomer.

During the previous term in the State Senate, four females served in the 39 seats. But, in 2018 that number increased to 11 females serving in the 39 State Senate districts, meaning 28 percent of those elected to the State Senate in 2018 were women. As the map below shows there are no females serving in the State Senate for any district north of the Grand Rapids area. Additionally, most of the females elected to serve for the 2019 term represent areas in Southeastern Michigan.

In the House of Representatives the number of females elected to serve increased from 33 in the last term to 41 in the 2019 term. In total, there are 110 districts in the House of Representatives, 37 percent of which are represented by females. Unlike in the State Senate, females serve in districts throughout the state, including in the northern part of the lower peninsula and in the upper peninsula.

On the local level in Southeastern Michigan, representation of females on County Board of Commissioners varies throughout the region. In St. Clair County no women serve on the Board of Commissioners. In Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties each Board of Commissioners has more 50 percent or more female representation. Wayne County has the highest female representation on its Board at 60 percent (9 of 15 Commissioners).

Overall, the number of females represented in elected positions in Michigan increased following the 2018 election. At least part of that was a result of more women running for elected positions.

 

911 Fees the Norm in Michigan

The way in which funding for 9-1-1 services changed in Michigan in 2018 with Public Act 51. On a quarterly basis, the state provides funding to the counties. This funding comes from the $0.25 state 9-1-1 fee on postpaid devices and a 5 percent fee on pre-paid phone cards and minutes. From there, 65 percent of these pooled funds are paid to the counties in Michigan. Of this 65 percent, 40 percent of the funds are distributed to each county and the other 60 percent are distributed on a per capita basis to the counties. Counties also have the option to levy additional 9-1-1 fees through levying a local surcharge. If levied, the surcharges must be used to fund personnel, facilities and training related to the delivery of 9-1-1 services. These surcharges can be levied by one of three ways, which are:

  • The County Commission passes a resolution to collect a maximum of $0.42 per month on the cell phone bills of county residents;
  • The County Commission places a surcharge (which can be above $0.42 but cannot exceed $3) as a county-wide proposal;
  • Collecting a local surcharge by the rate authorized to that specific county pursuant to the Michigan Public Service Commission Case No. U-15489.

As noted, funding is made available to all counties in Michigan for 9-1-1 services through the provisions of Public Act 51. With the option to levy additional funds to support 9-1-1 services, most counties in Michigan have decided to utilize the opportunities offered to them to do so. Of the 83 counties in Michigan, only 11 do not currently bring in additional funds through a 9-1-1 surcharge, with Macomb County being the largest county not do so. Regionally, Wayne County levies the additional $0.42 (the most a County Commission can charge by not placing a measure on the ballot) through a surcharge, Oakland County levies $0.91, Monroe County levies $0.42, St. Clair County levies $0.60, Washtenaw County levies $0.43 and Livingston County levies $1.85, which is the highest regionally.

Of Michigan’s 83 counties there are six that levy $3, which is the maximum amount a county can levy and must be approved by voters.

Metro-Detroit Sees Lower Unemployment Rates

  • The State and City of Detroit’s unemployment rates decreased at the monthly levels;
  • Regionally, September 2018 unemployment rates are lower than the prior year;
  • Housing prices continue to rise in Metro-Detroit.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for September of 2017 and 2018. In September of 2018 Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 4.5, with St. Clair County having the second highest regional unemployment rate 3.9. Livingston and Washtenaw counties were the only two in the region with unemployment rates below 3 in September of 2018. The unemployment rate for Livingston County was 2.9, and the unemployment rate for Washtenaw County was 2.8.

When comparing 2017 and 2018, every county in the region experienced a decline in the unemployment rate. Monroe County experienced the largest decline, with the September 2017 unemployment rate being 5.5 and the September 2018 unemployment rate being 3.6.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for September of 2017 and 2018. In September of 2018 Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 4.5, with St. Clair County having the second highest regional unemployment rate 3.9. Livingston and Washtenaw counties were the only two in the region with unemployment rates below 3 in September of 2018. The unemployment rate for Livingston County was 2.9, and the unemployment rate for Washtenaw County was 2.8.

When comparing 2017 and 2018, every county in the region experienced a decline in the unemployment rate. Monroe County experienced the largest decline, with the September 2017 unemployment rate being 5.5 and the September 2018 unemployment rate being 3.6.

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 $124,770 in August 2018; this was $530 higher than the average family dwelling price in July. The August 2018 price was an increase of $7,010 from August of 2017 and an increase of $15,110 from August of 2016, an increase of $21,020 from August of 2016 and increase of $26,050 from August of 2014.