How Immigrants Impact Michigan’s Economy

With about 6.5 percent of Michigan’s population being comprised of foreign-born residents (an increase from 3.8 percent in 1990) their contribution to the economy is evident. From running their own businesses and employing non-foreign born residents to filling in gaps in the work force, a 2016 study by New American Economy shows just how much the immigrant population in the state contributes to the overall economy.

According to the Census Bureau, about 6.5 percent of Michigan’s population is made up of immigrants. Of that population, those that come from Asia make up majority of the foreign-born population at 50.7 percent and those that come from Northern America (Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) made up one of the smallest segments of the population at 5.3 percent (Oceana made up .5 percent).

Untitled

As shown in the infographic, of Michigan’s immigrant population, 30,086 of them were self-employed in 2014, and 8.3 percent of the immigrant population were entrepreneurs. Additionally, 15,780 Michigan residents were employed by immigrant owned firms and $608.4 billion of income was generated by immigrant businesses, according to the 2016 New American Economy report “The Contributions of New Americans in Michigan.”

ImmigrantImage

Through immigrant population employment, in 2014 there was about $20 billion in income generated and $5.4 million in taxes generated (total-combined federal and state). Asian immigrants contributed the most in income and taxes, according to the report. In 2014 Asian immigrants generated $7.6 billion in income and $2.2 billion in taxes ($574.9 million went to state and local taxes), the Middle Eastern and Northern African population generated $2.8 billion in income and $753.5 million in taxes ($213.1 million went to state and local taxes), the Hispanic population generated $2 billion in income and $473.6 million in taxes ($167.5 million went to state and local taxes) and the Sub-Saharan Africa population generated $548.5 million in income and $139.5 million in taxes ($44.9 million went to state and local taxes), according to the report. Not only did Michigan’s immigrant population contribute to federal and local taxes, but also to entitlement programs. In 2014, Michigan’s immigrant population contributed $507.5 million to Medicare and $1.9 billion to social security.

According to the report, 30 percent of Michigan’s doctors, 9,150 people, were foreign born. Software developers came in second at 28 percent (7,474 workers), followed by farm workers (27%-7,762), post-secondary teachers (22%-12,880), mechanical engineers (22%-10,502), packers and packagers (17%-3,507), computer systems analysts (22%-3,152) and food-service managers (14%-5,310). In total, the percent of immigrant workers employed in a Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematic (STEM) field was 15.3 percent, according to the New American Economy report. The report also points out how there is a shortage of STEM workers in the state, with 10 jobs being available for every one employable worker.

The information presented in this post provides a broad economic overview on the contributions of Michigan’s immigrant population. To learn more about these contributions on everything from how Michigan’s student immigrant population plays a role in the economy to how age plays a factor in economic growth for the foreign-born and non-foreign born populations, please read the whole report here.

Source: http://www.renewoureconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/nae-mi-report.pdf

Auto Parts top Michigan Exports, Imports

In Michigan, parts and accessories related to transportation-particularly those related to automobiles and trucks-were the top 10 commodities both imported and exported between 2012 and 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In total, the U.S. percent share of commodities Michigan exports is less than the U.S. percent share it imports, however neither have risen above 5.5 percent since 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2015 Michigan exported $25.1 billion worth of transportation equipment, ranging from rear view mirrors to engine ignition spark plugs. In total though, according to the International Trade Administration, Michigan exported $54 million worth of goods in 2015. Canada, a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partner, received the largest amount of commodities. In 2015 Canada received about $23.5 million worth of goods; this is equivalent to about 44 percent of the goods exported from Michigan. Mexico, also a NAFTA partner, was second to Canada in exports; in 2015 about $11.8 million worth of goods was exported to Mexico. Canada and Mexico were the only two countries who received more than $4 million worth of exports from Michigan in 2015, according to the International Trade Commission.

Slide03

Slide04

Of the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in Michigan the Detroit-Dearborn-Warren area had the highest dollar value of exports at $44.3 billion, according to the International Trade Administration. That $44.3 billion translated into 68.5 percent of the state’s share of exports. Of the data available, the Lansing-East Lansing MSA had the lowest percent share of exports at 1.3, which was equivalent to $852 million.

Of the six of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for which data was available (no data for Washtenaw County), Wayne County had the highest value of goods exported in 2015 at $21.2 billion; Livingston County had the lowest at $570 million.

 

Slide06

Slide07

The U.S. percentage of imports reached a new peak in 2015 at 5.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since 2012, Michigan’s share of U.S. imports has steadily risen from 5.1 percent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, of the top 10 goods imported into Michigan, crude oil from petroleum is one of only two items on the list that is not directly labeled as a part related to transportation vehicle (transmission, ignition, etc.). The other good listed is seat parts related to medical chairs.

Imports from Canada ranked above all other countries as the leading source of imports to Michigan. In 2015, 36.8 percent of the goods imported into Michigan were from Canada; 35.4 percent of goods imported into the state were from Mexico. The country with the third largest percentage that Michigan imported from was China at 7.4 percent.Slide09

Slide10

The data presented in this post shows that Michigan’s imports and exports are still heavily linked on the auto industry, and the majority of the goods exported from the state are produced in the most populous region of the state. This region, the Detroit-Dearborn-Warren MSA, is located within miles to Canada and connected via a bridge and a tunnel.

Both in terms of exports and imports, this post also shows that Michigan has the strongest relationships with its NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico. One of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises has been to re-negotiate the agreement. Both Trump, a Republican, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell agree that NAFTA has harmed workers and factories. Recently, Rep. Dingell and Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced a resolution seeking a renegotiation of NAFTA to reduce the trade deficit, according to a Feb. 20 Michigan Radio article.

That resolution can be read here.

Fatal Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents Least Common in Northern Michigan

In 2015 it was counties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that had the highest amount of traffic accidents and deaths, per capita, from traffic accidents, according to the Michigan of State of Police. Luce County had the highest number of traffic injuries per 10,000 residents at 17.15 (40 total) and Baraga County had the highest number of deaths from traffic crashes per 10,000 residents at 1.17 (1 total). Of these injuries and deaths several were directly related to alcohol, a trend that occurred throughout the state. However, when looking beyond the per capita numbers, we see that it was in Southeastern Michigan where the highest number of traffic related injuries and deaths occurred, both where alcohol was and was not a factor, throughout the state. These high numbers can be, at least in part, attributed to the denser population in that region of the state.

In Wayne County in 2015 there were 191 traffic fatalities, 59, or 31 percent, of which were related to alcohol. Additionally in Wayne County, there were 15,713 total traffic crash related injuries in 2015. Of those injuries, 836, or 5 percent, were related to alcohol being involved in the crash. In Oakland County, of the 67 total traffic fatalities, 18 were related to alcohol (27%) and of the 10,406 traffic injuries 608 (6 %) were related to alcohol. In Macomb County, there were 17 fatal accidents related to alcohol out of 59 total fatal traffic accidents (28%) in 2015. In addition, there were 389 alcohol related traffic injuries in Macomb County; this accounted for 5 percent of the total number of traffic crash related injuries.

Of the fatal traffic accidents throughout Michigan in 2015 there were four counties where alcohol was a factor in 100 percent of the traffic fatalities. These counties were: Mackinac, Baraga, Gogebic (all in the Upper Peninsula) and Mecosta. All three of the Upper Peninsula counties had one traffic fatality, all of which were attributed to alcohol being involved in the crash. Mecosta, in Mid-Michigan in the lower Peninsula, had four fatal traffic accidents in 2015, all of which alcohol played a factor in.

Conversely, there were 31 counties in the state where there were no alcohol related traffic fatalities. However, 28 of those 31 counties had zero total traffic related fatalities. Majority of these counties were located in Northern Michigan. Traffic accident injuries related to alcohol though occurred in every county in 2015, according to the Michigan State Police.

slide3

slide4

slide5

slide6

Business Vacancies and Employment Increase in Detroit

  • The unemployment rate across the state has remained stagnant while the rate in the city of Detroit has inched upward(monthly);
  • The number of employed Detroit residents increased, as did the City’s labor force (monthly);
  • The business vacancy rate in Detroit has experienced an overall increase since 2012;
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeastern Michigan increased from May to June 2016 (monthly);
  • Commodity Price Index decreased for Southeastern Michigan (monthly);
  • Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to gradually increase on a month-to-month basis and experience larger growth when compared on an annual basis.slide03

According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan remained steady at 4.5 percent through August 2016. During this same period, unemployment in the City of Detroit increased to 11.5 after hitting an annual low of 9.1 in April.slide05

According to quarterly data provided the U.S. Postal Service, the June 2016 business vacancy rate in the City of Detroit was 25.7 percent, which was equivalent to 7,608 vacant businesses out of 29,648 total businesses. Of the data provided, the lowest business vacancy rate in the City of Detroit was in September of 2012. That rate was 23.3; there were 6,925 vacant addresses of the 29,696 addresses.

The business vacancy rate in the City has steadily grown over the last four years, except between March-December 2015 when it declined. In December of 2015 the rate dropped to a low of 24.3.

slide07

In July of 2016 the number of employed Detroit residents rose to 218,587, an increase of 1,054 from June. Between July of 2016 and July of 2015 there was a total increase of 8,117 employed Detroit residents, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Along with the the number of employed Detroit residents increasing over the last year, so has the labor force. Between July of 2016 and July and 2015 the labor force increased by 37,556 to a total of 249,815.

slide09

The Purchasing Manger’s Index (PMI) is a composite index derived from five indicators of economic activity: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories. A PMI above 50 indicates the economy is expanding.

According to the most recent data released on Southeast Michigan’s Manager’s Index, the PMI for August 2016 was 66, an increase of 8.5 points from the prior month. The August 2016 PMI was an increase of 9.4 from the previous year.  With this increase, the PMI for August is considered strong, especially due to the increase in new orders.

slide11

The August 2016 Commodity Price Index decreased 9.3 points from July but increased 5 points from the prior year. The July 2016 Commodity Price Index reached an annual high due to pricing pressures and stronger demands at that time. The August decrease represents decreased pressure and demand.

slide13

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

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $107,900 in June 2016. This was an increase from $102,710 from June of 2015 and an increase from $97,340 from June of 2014.

Psychiatric Hospital Bed Access Non-Existent in Livingston, St. Clair counties

The number of adult psychiatric beds available in the 1950s (3.4 per 1,000 people) has greatly decreased over the last 60 years in part due to the increased availability of drugs, the poor conditions of early psychiatric hospitals and the shift toward deinstitutionalization, according to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital Medical Director of Quality and Clinical Integration Vikram Eddy. In Southeastern Michigan such a lack of access to licensed adult psychiatric beds exists. According to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, access to psychiatric hospital beds in Southeastern Michigan is non-existent in some counties (Livingston and St. Clair counties) and low in others.

psychbeds (1)

Of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan, Oakland County had the highest adult psychiatric hospital bed access per 1,000 residents at 0.34. In comparison, as discussed in our last post, hospital bed access in Oakland County was 3.4 per 1,000 residents. In 2016, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there were 453 licensed psychiatric beds at nine different hospitals in Oakland County; Havenwyck Hospital in Auburn Hills had the most at 153.

In Wayne County there was a total of 317 licensed adult psychiatric hospital beds at eight different hospitals; the psychiatric hospital bed access per 1,000 residents was 0.17. BCA Stonecrest Center in Detroit had the highest number of psychiatric beds in the county at 88.

Macomb and Washtenaw counties also had access near 0.2 adult psychiatric beds per 1,000 residents in 2016. The adult psychiatric hospital bed access in Macomb and Washtenaw counties was 0.23 per 1,000 residents. In total, there were 198 licensed adult psychiatric beds in Macomb County and 81 in Washtenaw County. In our last post Washtenaw County was highlighted for the having the highest number of licensed hospital beds per 1,000 residents at a rate of 4.6. The number of licensed hospitals beds at the University of Michigan Health Systems largely contributed to that rate; there are 1,000 licensed hospital beds at the University of Michigan and 27 licensed adult psychiatric hospital beds.

All of the adult licensed psychiatric beds discussed in this post are housed in private hospitals. Statewide, there are five public health hospitals that cater to those with mental illness; only one of these hospitals is in Southeastern Michigan (Walter B. Reuther). This institution was not included in this post because of the state of Michigan has different licensing requirements and therefore does not list it in its psychiatric hospital bed access document, which is produced by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Arguments have been made nationally and locally that states such as Michigan should move away from their decentralized and deinstitutionalized mental health approach and increase the number of state run mental health facilities. Currently, community based mental health services are administered through 46 community mental health agencies, all of which have faced state aid cuts and remain independent of one another. In our work in Detroit’s neighborhoods we regularly hear of men and women in dire need of these services. Because of this we see a need for increases in community-based services and hospital-based services, if we are to meet the needs of the state’s citizens.

 

Oakland County Intersections Takes Top Spots for Total Number of Crashes

The Michigan State Police recently released new traffic data regarding the number of crashes at intersections throughout the state in 2015. In the seven county region, Oakland County had the intersection with the largest amount of crashes at 186. This intersection is at Pontiac Trail and M-5/Martin Parkway in Commerce Township. The intersection in the region with the second highest number of crashes was also in Oakland. This intersection is located in Southfield at 12 Mile Road and Telegraph; there were 132 crashes there in 2015.

For more on this study click here.

Drawing Detroit will be further looking into the total number of crashes at these intersections as relates to traffic flow.

CityLab: Solar Power’s Success Relies on Community Friendly Policies

In a story written by CityLab it was found that in order for solar power to become a more expansive renewable energy source there must be policies in place that allow communities as a whole to reap the benefits, avoid solar mandates and block third party solar panel ownership. In this study Michigan was found to be one of the 10 worst states for solar power growth.

For more on this study click here.

Number of children with elevated blood lead levels decreasing in Michigan, Detroit

The total number of children with lead poisoning in the state of Michigan and in the city of Detroit under the age of 6 has experience an overall decrease since 1998, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In 2014, according to the data, there were 2,050 children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL, a significant drop from the previous year’s number of 4,793 . Of the number children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL in the state of Michigan in 2014, 71 percent (1,462 children) were from the city of Detroit, according to the data (2015 data for the state of Michigan is not yet available). Some preliminary data from State for Detroit is shown in the charts below, but it is preliminary and not discussed above.

Also in 2014 there were 672 children in the state of Michigan with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL; this was an increase of 19 from the previous year. Of the 672 children, 54 percent (323 children) of those children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL were from the city of Detroit. Of the data provided, in 1998 the state had the highest number of children with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL at 24,563; this also holds true for children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL. In 1998 there were 7,144 children under the age of 6 with lead levels above 10 ug/dL. At the Detroit level, 1998 also had the highest number of children with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL and above 10 ug/dL. There were 12,305 children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL in the city of Detroit in 1998; this was 50 percent of the children state wide. Also in 1998, there were 5,002 children from Detroit under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL; the number of Detroit children who tested at the level made up 70 percent of the state total for children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL.

While the number of children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL decreased between 1998 and 2014 for the state and the city of Detroit, the percentage of the children from Detroit who made up the state total has increased (50% to 71%). The number of children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL also decreased between 1998 and 2014 in the state and the city of Detroit, as did the percentage of Detroit children who made up the state total.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 5 ug/dL is used a reference level by experts “to identify children with blood lead levels that are much higher than most children’s levels.” The CDC has recommended that public health actions be initiated in children under age 6 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL).1 Babies and young children can be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths.

Slide03

Slide04

Slide05

Slide06

The total number of children with lead poisoning in the state of Michigan and in the city of Detroit under the age of 6 has experience an overall decrease since 1998, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In 2014, according to the data, there were 2,050 children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL, a significant drop from the previous year’s number of 4,793 . Of the number children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL in the state of Michigan in 2014, 71 percent (1,462 children) were from the city of Detroit, according to the data (2015 data for the state of Michigan is not yet available). Some preliminary data from State for Detroit is shown in the charts below, but it is preliminary and not discussed above.

Also in 2014 there were 672 children in the state of Michigan with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL; this was an increase of 19 from the previous year. Of the 672 children, 54 percent (323 children) of those children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL were from the city of Detroit. Of the data provided, in 1998 the state had the highest number of children with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL at 24,563; this also holds true for children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL. In 1998 there were 7,144 children under the age of 6 with lead levels above 10 ug/dL. At the Detroit level, 1998 also had the highest number of children with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL and above 10 ug/dL. There were 12,305 children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL in the city of Detroit in 1998; this was 50 percent of the children state wide. Also in 1998, there were 5,002 children from Detroit under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL; the number of Detroit children who tested at the level made up 70 percent of the state total for children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL.

While the number of children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels between 5-9 ug/dL decreased between 1998 and 2014 for the state and the city of Detroit, the percentage of the children from Detroit who made up the state total has increased (50% to 71%). The number of children under the age of 6 with blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL also decreased between 1998 and 2014 in the state and the city of Detroit, as did the percentage of Detroit children who made up the state total.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 5 ug/dL is used a reference level by experts “to identify children with blood lead levels that are much higher than most children’s levels.” The CDC has recommended that public health actions be initiated in children under age 6 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL).1 Babies and young children can be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths.

Slide08

Slide09

Slide10

Slide11

Slide12

Slide13

Slide14

Four Detroit zip codes have more than 16% of tested children with elevated blood lead levels

According to 2014 data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Detroit zip codes of 48204 (where Grand River Ave. and Joy Road both cross Livernois), 48206 (just west of New Center), 48211 (just east of Hamtramck) and 48214 (West Village/Indian Village area) had the highest estimated percentages (between 16.4% and 21.1%) of children with an elevated blood lead level >/=5 ug/dL . According to the Centers for Disease Control, 5 ug/dL is used a reference level by experts “to identify children with blood lead levels that are much higher than most children’s levels.” The CDC has recommended that public health actions be initiated in children under age 6 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL).1 Babies and young children can be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths.2

Of the 30 zip codes in the city of Detroit, seven had 4.5 percent or less of children test with an elevated blood lead level of >/=5 ug/dL. Of these zip codes, and all the Detroit zip codes, 48201 (which is the Midtown/Cass Corridor section of Detroit) had the highest percentage of children tested for lead poisoning in 2014. In Midtown/Cass Corridor area, 58.4 percent of the children were tested for lead poisoning.

Lead is a heavy metal that accumulates in the body when ingested, and has toxic effects on the nervous system, cognitive development, and blood production. A child can get lead poisoning from two main sources: deteriorating lead based paint, airborne lead based particles that can be inhaled as dust. Deteriorating lead-based paint is especially hazardous when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear, such as windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.3 Air-borne lead paint particle dust, does not necessarily have to be inhaled, but can also settle in nearby soil and on porches, windowsills and stairs and can therefore also increase risk of being ingested by children as they crawl or play.4 A lead dust equivalent of only three grains of sugar can begin to poison a child.5

The main target for lead is the nervous system. Even very low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in permanent damage to the brain and nervous system leading to lifelong behavior and learning problems.6 Estimates show a 2.6-point decrease in IQ level for every 10 µg/dL increase in blood lead and studies have found that significant damage occurs even at BLLs below 5 µg/dL.7 I In addition, lead poisoned kids are seven times more likely to drop out of high school.8 Locally, about 60 percent of DPS students who performed below their grade level on 2008 standardized tests had elevated lead levels.8

Lead poisoning can also result in inattentiveness, hyperactivity, disorganization, aggression, increased risk of delinquency.9 Studies have shown, higher childhood blood lead levels are consistently associated with higher adult arrest rates for violent crimes.10 For every 5 µg/dL increase in blood lead levels, the risk of being arrested for a violent crime as a young adult increased by almost 50%.11

There is no current effective treatment of children with elevated blood lead levels.7

Slide3

Slide4

Slide5

Slide6

 

  1. CDC: Lead (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/)
  2. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2013). http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead#lead
  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2013). http://www2.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family#sl-home
  4. Farfel, M., Orlova, A., Lees, P., Rohde, C., Ashley, P., and Chisolm, J. “A Study of Urban Housing Demolitions as Sources of Lead in Ambient Dust: Demolition Practices and Exterior Dust Fall.” Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 111, Issue 5 (2003): 1228-1234).
  5. Olden, K., PhD. “Environmental Risks to the Health of American Children.” Preventative Medicine 22 (1993): 576-578.
  6. 6. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2013). http://epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead#lead
  7. Zhang, N., Baker, H.W., Tufts, M., Raymond, R.E., Salihu, H., & Elliott, M.R. (2013).  Early Childhood Lead Exposure and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Detroit Public Schools, 2008-2010.  American Journal of Public Health, 103(3), e72-e77.
  8. Lam, T. and Tanner-White, K. “High lead levels hurt learning for DPS kids.” Detroit Free Press (May 16, 2010).
  9. Zubrzycki, J. “Lead-Exposure Problems Spotlighted in Detroit.” Education Weekly Vol. 32, Issue 5 (2012): 6-9.
  10. 10. Drum, K. “America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead.” Mother Jones (Jan. 3, 2013).

11 Wright, J. et al. “Association of Prenatal and Childhood Blood Lead Concentrations with Criminal Arrests in Early Adulthood.”

 

Making Sense of the Environment: Exploring the Locational Patterns of Cultural Organizations in Southeast Michigan

The ongoing demographic changes in urban and suburban communities present a challenging task for cultural organizations. Unlike more dynamic creative industries (media firms, telecommunications, law and other consulting firms) that often have the capacity to choose their location, most cultural organizations rely heavily on fixed capital that ties them to their historic locations. The majority of long-standing cultural organizations (history and natural history museums, opera, ballet, symphony, art museums) were established in certain geographic locations (mostly urban centers) by elites from former generations at the time of the Industrial Revolution or during periods or urban prosperity and growth. In post-industrial cities, such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, many of these institutions face severe survival and sustainability pressures due to the overall economic decline, reduction in the attendance rates, increased competition for funding with other organizations, and the aging of their core audiences and supporters. The problem of audience decline is particularly salient in areas with high population diversity, as well as areas that lack proper infrastructure to provide access to cultural resources for traditionally underserved populations.

In response to these issues, the Center for Urban Studies has been conducting research on exploring the locational patterns of cultural organizations in Southeast Michigan. The study is being conducted in collaboration with the Wayne State University’s Assistant Professor of Political Science Alisa Moldavanova, who studies nonprofit organizational sustainability. This study examined the locational patterns of 216 cultural organizations in Southeast Michigan in relation to the social and demographic profile of their communities. The goal is to holistically explore the existing geographical, institutional, and social barriers limiting access to cultural organizations, analyze the public accessibility of these institutions, and develop recommendations regarding improving access to cultural organizations.

As the first step in this study, we have explored the density of cultural organizations’ locations in the seven-county region of Southeast Michigan. Our analysis shows that different types of cultural institutions are unevenly distributed in this geographic area, as seen in the map below. There are areas of cultural districts (high density of particular types of organizations and the overall presence of the sector), and cultural deserts (low density of particular types of organizations and the sector). We see a high concentration of arts and cultural institutions in Detroit, Ann Arbor and near the Bloomfield Hills area. The opposite is true for many of the rural communities in the region and even suburbs bordering the high-density arts and cultural areas like Detroit and Ann Arbor. Newer organizations in this study appeared to select locations with access to donors (and where donors had relocated as the city expanded), creating mini-districts in recent suburbs such as Bloomfield Hills in Oakland County (established 1932), Rochester Hills in Oakland County (established 1984), and Northville in Wayne County (established 1955). This suggests that, as cities and regions have expanded, the original organizational location may no longer serve the institution in the same manner it once did, and may fail to adequately reflect current and future needs of local communities.

Map1

As the second step in this study, we have been constructing an index of access to cultural organizations that takes into account admissions policy, the physical characteristics of a location (i.e. travel distance), and the availability of, and access to, transportation. So far, we have applied the index to three selected organizations – the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Art Museum and the University of Michigan Art Museum. We analyzed the levels of access to these institutions by different CENSUS tracts. When used in combination with community socio-demographic characteristics, this index, which is displayed in the map below, reveals that certain groups of the population are at a greater disadvantage in terms of their access to cultural amenities. In particular, areas of the lowest access are the most rural, have the greatest number of people with less than Bachelor’s degree, the greatest number of unemployed people, and the lowest median household income. On the contrary, areas with the highest access tend to be urban and suburban. Some have the highest median household income, the lowest percent of unemployment, the least percentage of people in poverty, and the greatest number of seniors, while some of the older urban areas, still have high access because of their proximity to the historic cultural centers. These areas tend to have lower socio economic indicators. The access index, therefore, reveals that, due to access barriers, some organizations may be underutilizing an important community resource – diverse audience, while others like the DIA still provide access to diverse populations. Interestingly, Western Wayne County and south Central Oakland County enjoy relatively high access because of their centrality relative to the three institutions studies here.

In the map below, we see that the areas with the lowest access to the three art museums
(Detroit Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Art Museum and the University of Michigan Art Museum), which have an index score of 2 and are colored in purple, are located in the more rural edges of the region in St. Clair, Livingston, and Monroe counties. One area in the region has the highest access score (9, colored red), and that is the area around Bloomfield Hills. Residents in this area have one the highest median incomes in the region.

Map2