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.

NYT: Support for Climate Change Solutions More Popular than Expected

According to a recent New York Times article, there is broader consensus on solutions to climate change than one may automatically think. For example, support for renewable energy is above 60 percent, nationally, and in theory about 70 percent of Americans support the idea of a carbon tax. To read more on these solutions and how the support varies across the country click here.

Suicide Rates in Southeastern Michigan Continue to Rise

Suicide rates in the State of Michigan have been increasing, and data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows that suicide rates in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties have contributed to that increase. Between 2006 and 2016, Macomb County experienced the highest increase for all ages at a rate of 3.2 per 100,000 residents. Macomb County went from a rate of 10.2 in 2006 to 13.4 in 2016. In 2016 the suicide rate in for Oakland County was 11 per 100,000, a slight increase in the rate of 0.2. For Wayne County the rate was 11.9 per 100,00, an increase in the rate of 1.8. All three counties had a lower suicide rate in 2016 than state’s rate of 13.5 per 100,000.

Data for Livingston, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties is not used in this post because it was only reported on a 5-year-average from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and this data is reported on an annual basis.

While the under 25 years of age population had among the lowest suicide rates of the age categories examined in this post, it did have the highest rate increases of the categories between 2006 and 2016. For the State of Michigan in 2016, the suicide rate for those under the age of 25 was 6.9 per 100,000 resident; this was an increase of 3.4 from 2006. Wayne County was the only county of the three (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb) with a higher suicide rate for the 25 and under population than the State of Michigan. According to the data, Wayne County’s suicide rate for the under 25 years of age population was 8.1 per 100,000 residents, an increase in the rate of 4.2 from 2006. With a rate increase of 4.2, Wayne County also had the highest rate increase in the tri-county region.

For the 25-74 years of age population, the suicide rate in the State of Michigan was 17.1 per 100,000 residents. Macomb County was the only county in the tri-county area with a rate higher than the state’s. The Macomb County suicide rate was 17.5 per 100,000 residents, a rate increase of 3.2 from 2006. Oakland County was the only one to experience a rate decrease for the 25-74 years of age population between 2006 and 2016. The rate decrease for Oakland County during that time period was -1 per 100,000. Oakland County’s suicide rate for the 25-74 year population was 13.9 per 100,000 residents in 2016.

For the 75 years of age and older population, Macomb County was again the only one in the tri-county region with a rate above the State’s. In 2016, Macomb County’s rate was 18.1 per 100,000 residents and the State’s was 16.4 per 100,000 residents. Macomb County experienced a rate increase of 7.8 between 2006 and 2016 while the State experienced a rate increase of 2.3. On the other hand, Oakland and Wayne counties both experienced rate decreases between 2006 and 2016. The suicide rate decrease for the 75 years of age and older population for Oakland County was 4.2 and for Wayne County it was 3.8.

Over the last 20 years, according to a recent Center for Disease Control study, the suicide rate in Michigan has increased about 33 percent, which is slightly higher than the national increase during the same time frame. That report further states that more than 20 percent of individuals who commit suicide have no known history of mental health conditions. Rather, substance abuse and relationship issues are often cited as factors.

African American Homeownership Lacking Southeastern Michigan

Further examination of the percentage of African American homeowners in Southeastern Michigan in 2016 confirms that the City of Detroit had among the highest percentages in the region. However, it was the City of Highland Park that had the highest percentage of African American homeowners in 2016 at about 96 percent. In total there were 13 municipalities in the Southeastern Michigan with African American homeownership above 50 percent. The percentage of African American homeowners in Detroit in 2016 was 53 percent. As the map below shows, the concentration of African American homeowners in Southeastern Michigan is located in the Detroit inner-ring suburbs. The City of Pontiac, which has about a 52 percent homeownership rate, was the only City outside the inner-ring with African American homeownership above 50 percent. Additionally, aside from a few pockets in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, African American homeownership did not rise above about 13 percent in majority of the region. In total, there were 41 municipalities in Southeastern Michigan where African American homeownership was at 0 percent in 2016. Many of the municipalities with 0 percent African American homeownership have small African American populations, according to Census data. 

As noted in the previous post, the lack of African American homeownership in Southeastern Michigan can be attributed to the Great Recession, which brought on higher rates of unemployment and foreclosures. However, it can also be argued that the low percentage of African American homeownership in the outskirts of Southeastern Michigan can be attributed to the large scale migration of Caucasian individuals from Detroit to its suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s; this trend is also commonly referred to as white flight.