Michigan’s Deaths Out Pace Births

More people died in Michigan in 2020 than were born, and it has been trending this way for quite some time. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that in 2020 there 104,166 people born and 117,087 who died; the 2020 data was only available at the state level. While COVID certainly impacted the number of 2020 deaths (11,362 were COVID related), there still would have been a greater number of deaths than births without the pandemic.

While 2020 data is not yet available at the county level, the 2019 data shows how birth and death rates have long been trending toward more deaths than births. In Wayne County, the largest county in the state, a birth rate of 12.9 births per 1,000 residents was reported, which was equivalent to 22,553 births. Wayne County had the highest birth rate in the region in 2019, but it did not have the largest change in birth rates between 2009 and 2019. According to the data, there was a birth rate of 12.9 births per 1,000 residents in Wayne County in 2019 and a birth rate of 13.6 births per 1,000 residents in 2009. Washtenaw County had the largest difference in birth rates between 2009 and 2019 at a rate decrease of 1.4 per 1,000 residents. In 2019 Washtenaw County had a birth rate of 9.7, which was equivalent to 3,560 births, and in 2009 that birth rate was 11.1. Oakland, Macomb, Monroe and St. Clair counties all also reported birth rates above 10 in 2009 (11.1, 11.1, 11.4 and 10.9, respectively); Livingston County was the only one in the region to report a birth rate below 10 in 2009. By 2019 only Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties reported birth rates above 10 (10.4, 10.1, 10.3 and 12.9, respectively).

Michigan’s birth rate per 1,000 residents was 11.8 in 2009 and 10.8 in 2019.

As birth rates in Michigan were declining, death rates were on the rise. In 2019, St. Clair County had the highest death rate at 1,170.8 per 1,000 residents in 2019, which was equivalent to 1,863 deaths. Macomb, Monroe and Wayne counties were the only other counties with death rates above 1,000 ( 1,026.2, 1,047.8 and 1,044.7, respectively). In 2009 though there was not one county in the region with a death rate above 1,000. St. Clair County reported 961.5 deaths per 1,000 residents, which was the highest death rate in the region reported. Overall, Monroe County experienced the highest increase in its death rate between 2009 (847 per 1,000 residents) and 2019 (1,047.8 per 1,000 residents) at a 221.8 rate increase per 1,000 residents.  

It should also be noted that Michigan’s death rate per 1,000 residents was 871.7 in 2009 and 992.3 in 2019.

A decline in births will certainly impact Michigan long-term if things don’t turn around. While

 Michigan did experience a small uptick in its population between 2010 and 2020 probably because of immigration, the rate of increase wasn’t as high as compared to other states, hence why Michigan lost a Congressional seat. Population decline, and even stagnation, could cause negative economic impacts and further loss of political power. On the other hand, it would give the environment a break from human interventions, giving forests and wildlife a chance to expand, perhaps.  

Union Membership in Michigan Rises

In 2020 there was an increase in the percentage of employees who were members of a union; there was also an increase the percentage of employees who were represented by unions. This comes after an overall decline in union membership and representation since 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2010 16.5 percent of employees were members of a union in Michigan and 17. 3 percent were represented by a union. In 2020 15.2 percent of employees were members of a union and 16.6 percent were represented by a union; both categories experienced increases from 2019. Overall in Michigan in 2020 there were 604,000 union members.   In addition to these members, another 57,000 wage and salary workers in Michigan were represented by a union on their main job or covered by an employee association or contract while not union members themselves.

While the BLS does not track union membership by sector or occupation at the state level, nationally the BLS reports that the union membership rate of public-sector workers is more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers who are union members. According to the BLS, 33.9 percent of the public-sector employees were union members in 2021. Of those public-sector employees in the union, majority were represented those in the education, training, library and protective service occupations. The percentage of private-sector employees who were union members was 6.1 percent in 2021. According to the BLS, and a recent New York Times article, majority of the union membership decline has come from the private sector. Nationally, private-sector union membership was at 6 percent in 2021 and in 1983 it was at 17 percent.

Overall there are a greater number of private-sector employees than government employees, and while the charts below show there was a decline in the total number of employees in both sectors after COVID, the lack of union representation in the private-sector is causing, at least some, to leave their jobs, according to the New York Times article. With a shift in the labor market and workplace practices since the pandemic began, more and more workers are feeling confident in their ability to leave jobs that don’t fit their needs. While the New York Times sites that this doesn’t always leave to increased union activity, the current labor market has certainly allowed more people to be more vocal and how their employer can meet their needs, and not just the other way around.

Labor unions have experienced an overall increase in sentiment since 2009, according to Gallup, with 68 percent of those polled expressing approval of labor unions in 2021. This approval rate is the highest it has been since 1965 when there was a 71 percent approval rating. With increased media attention on the successful efforts of employees at Kellogg in Battle Creek, Kroger (King Sooper) employees in Denver, and more throughout the country to earn better wages and benefits, it should not be surprising there is an increased interest and approval in the purpose of a union. Additionally, with the makeup of the current labor market, as noted earlier, individuals have more room to seek jobs that offer better wages, benefits and overall safer and better experience—much of which the mission of unions is based around.

Michigan’s Total Solid Waste Production Declines, Amount Imported from Other States Increases

In Michigan, the total amount of solid waste disposed in the state decreased between fiscal year 2019 and 2020, as did the total amount of solid waste imported into Michigan. However, while the total amount of waste disposed of in Michigan decreased, the amount of waste disposed of in Michigan from other states increased.

The total amount of solid waste disposed in Michigan in 2020 decreased by about 3 million cubic yards, or about 5.4 percent from the previous fiscal year (2019). The amount of solid waste generated in Michigan decreased from about 43.3 million cubic yards in fiscal year 2019 to about 40.4 million cubic yards, a decrease of about 6.8 percent. Overall, the total amount of imported waste into Michigan landfills decreased from 12,380,141 cubic yards in 2020 to 12,310,608 cubic yards in 2019, a decrease of about 0.6 percent. The largest source of waste imported to Michigan continues to be from Canada, with a total of about 9.1 million cubic yards, down 480,274 cubic yards reported for fiscal year. Overall, the amount of solid waste Canada imported to Michigan in 2020 was about 17.2 percent of all waste disposed in Michigan landfills, while Michigan created about 77 percent of the waste. Other states also contributed to the total amount of solid waste in Michigan, with waste from other states brought to Michigan making up 6 percent of Michigan’s total waste. As noted, while the total amount of waste disposed of in Michigan decreased, the amount imported from other states increased from 5 to 6 percent. So, while the total amount of waste disposed of in Michigan declined, due to a decline in the waste generated in Michigan and imported from Canada, the amount of waste being brought to Michigan from other states has increased.

The data discussed above is shown in the Chart 1 and Chart 2 below and has been provided from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

As noted, Michigan creates, and disposes of most of the waste in Michigan. Below we see how much waste was disposed of in each county in Southeastern Michigan. The chart below does not reflect the amount of waste created in each county, but rather disposed of, meaning waste from other counties, Canada and other states are included in the numbers below.

Wayne County had the highest amount of waste disposal at more than 11.1 million cubic yards in 2020. This was more than twice the amount of any other county in the region. Macomb County had the second highest amount of waste disposed in 2020 at about 3.3 million cubic yards. Livingston County had the lowest amount of waste disposed at about 330,000 cubic yards.

Wayne County not only had the highest amount of waste disposed of in it in 2020, it also had the highest number of importers. In 2020, there were six different places that imported waste into Wayne County. Canada imported the highest amount at about 3.6 million cubic yards, followed by Washington state and then Ohio. Of the counties in the region with imported waste, St. Clair County had the lowest amount of waste imported at about 305,000 cubic yards.

Overall, it is encouraging to see the total amount of waste being disposed of in Michigan has decreased, but it remains a concern that the State continues to allow outside states and countries to import their waste. This is especially concerning as the amount of waste being imported to Michigan from other states has been increasing, despite the total amount of waste being disposed of in Michigan is decreasing.

One of the many ways to combat climate change is to decrease the amount of waste we, as a society, produce. Ways to achieve this include reusing items, recycling and being mindful in our purchases and consumption.

Maternal Deaths and the Impact of Being Uninsured

Maternal deaths remain a concern, especially with Michigan’s maternal mortality rate at 16.4 per 100,000 live births in 2018, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and the United States rate at 17.4 per 100,000 live births. As described in the Surgo Venture Maternal Vulnerability Index (MVI), there are many factors that contribute to maternal mortality rates including, but not limited to, accessibility, affordability and utilization of healthcare.

Health insurance plays an important role in a woman’s pregnancy, allowing for both the mother and unborn child to receive necessary care to ensure each individual remains healthy through regular checkups and addressing any issues that may be identified during the pregnancy.

Wayne County has the highest percentage of women of childbearing age (19-44) who were uninsured at 7.8 percent, followed by Macomb County where 7.5 percent of women of childbearing age are uninsured. In Wayne County 203 of the 610 Census Tracts have 10 percent or more of women of childbearing age without health insurance and in Macomb County that number is 57 of the 217 Census Tracts. As the second map below shows, the Census Tracts with the highest percentage of women of childbearing age without health insurance are in Wayne County, with additional pockets in Macomb and Monroe counties, where more than 16  percent of women of childbearing age in a Census Tract are without health insurance.

Washtenaw County has the lowest percentage of women of childbearing age without health insurance at 4.6 percent.

As noted, this data set plays a role in determining where a county or state falls in the General Healthcare Sub-Index of the MVI, which is one of six sub-categories that explores the factors that impact maternal mortality rates and maternal health in general. In Southeastern Michigan, St. Clair County has the highest vulnerability index at 45 while Washtenaw County has an index of 0, meaning there is ease in access to and affordability of healthcare for reproductive age women. Michigan has a General Healthcare Sub-Index of 29.

The fact that Washtenaw County has the lowest percentage of women of childbearing age without health insurance explains, in part, why it also has the lowest General Healthcare Sub-Index of the MVI. However, St. Clair County has the highest General Healthcare Sub-Index of the MVI in Southeastern Michigan but has the fourth lowest percentage of women of childbearing age without health insurance in the region (5.1 percent).

So, while access to and utilization of healthcare is a vital aspect in keeping maternal deaths low, it certainly is not the only factor. Other factors include mental health, substance use, socioeconomic status, education levels and more. We will further dig into these factors to see what factors impact the areas of Southeastern Michigan the most.

Climate Change in Detroit and What Can Be Done

Climate change became real for Detroiters this year when 30,000 found their homes flooded, some to the top of their first floor, some to the top of their basements. This was the second major flood in the last decade, with another in 2014 leaving behind a huge amount of damage as well. The mechanism behind the floods is clear: air temperatures have risen with climate change, hotter air holds more water, and storms produce heavier rainstorms that are slower to move on, meaning greater accumulations of rain.

It’s not that climate change was not already real, in Detroit and beyond, prior to this summer though. Temperatures have already risen 2.5 degrees in Michigan, summers are hotter, and heatwaves are stronger and last longer. Our urban area is a heat island in the summer, and it will only get worse as temperatures rise further.

So, what can be done? A lot.

In this post we introduce our 10 top policy proposals to overcome climate change in Detroit. Each month a detailed post on one the initiatives listed below will be posted. These posts will dive deep into each recommendation, exploring how the recommendations can impact climate change and help Detroit. The posts will also discuss the potential financial and political issues related to each proposal and provide recommendations on how to overcome them.

But before we dive deep, let us first lay out what our recommendations are.

Top 10 Climate Change Proposal/Policy Recommendations for Detroit

  1. Creating a program that strengthens rooftop solar opportunities in residential and commercial buildings;
  2. Creating a community solar program;
  3. Utilizing the space at the Detroit City Airport to develop a solar field;
  4. Planting more trees along medians and on some vacant land;
  5. Prioritizing weatherization efforts;
  6. Offering and supporting heat pumps for heating and cooling;
  7. Electrifying the bus system;
  8. Further investing in green infrastructure to help overcome flooding;
  9. Developing more robust urban gardening opportunities;
  10. Finding ways to further encourage and support working from home.

We can all take action to reduce our carbon footprint, the amount of waste we create and other ways in which we accelerate climate change. But, in addition to each individual’s responsibility to become a better steward of the environment, responsibility lies on each layer of government and corporate industries to also take action through policy changes, and operation changes. The proposals above will address all such facets.

Before diving into our proposals, we must also briefly touch on what is being done in Michigan and Detroit to address climate change.

In Michigan, the State committed to becoming carbon-neutral by the year 2050. The State also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 by 28 percent below its 1990 levels. Items that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions include the use of vehicles, the use of energy, the industrial and agricultural sectors and the creation of garbage.

According to US Energy Administration, Michigan is taking steps in reducing its reliance on coal, which is certainly a contributor to climate change. In 2020, natural gas generated the largest amount of Michigan’s electricity for the first time, surpassing coal, which fell to third after nuclear power. Natural gas accounted for 33 percent of the State’s net generation, while coal’s share declined to 27 percent. Renewable energy only contributed about 11 percent of Michigan’s net electricity generation in 2020, and wind energy accounted for three-fifths of that power. Michigan ranks among the top 15 states in wind-powered electricity generation.

Policy changes are certainly shaping Michigan’s future, and Detroit is also aiming to take action. In 2019, the City of Detroit released it Sustainability Action Agenda, which includes goals such as increasing air quality, reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, transforming vacant lots into safe and sustainable places and more. Just as that document seeks to complement other City, State and national efforts to shift our climate change, so do the recommendations we have for the City of Detroit.

Detroit is not exempt from climate change, and the effects will only continue to intensify. Extreme weather patterns, flooding, decreased air and water quality, increased illness, impacts to housing—these are just a few of the impacts Metro-Detroiters (and beyond) will experience from climate change if actions aren’t taken.

January 2022 Economic Indicators

In November of 2021 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan remained steady while the City of Detroit’s unemployment rate declined from the previous two months. The State of Michigan reported an unemployment rate of 5.9 in November, which was just slightly below the 6.2 percent unemployment rate reported in October. This is the first time the State’s unemployment rate has gone above 6.1 percent since January of 2021. In November of 2020 the unemployment rate was 6.3, which is on par with the November 2021 rate.

For the City of Detroit, the unemployment rate for November of 2021 was 8.4 percent, which is below the October rate of 10 and the September rate of 11.7. In November of 2020 the Detroit unemployment rate was 18.7, meaning there has been a significant decrease in the local unemployment rate in the last year.

While the data sets explored here show that unemployment rates are returning to pre-pandemic rates, the leisure, hospitality and tourism industries remain among the hardest hit, with many jobs not expected to return. But, hope remains, especially has new business formations increased by 56 percent in 2021, according to Michigan State University.

As should be expected, each county in Southeastern Michigan, with the exception of Washtenaw County, had a higher unemployment rate in November of 2020 as compared to November of 2021. Wayne County had the largest decrease between 2020 and 2021 at 7.1 points; the November 2021 unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. Wayne County also had the highest unemployment rate of the seven counties in November of 2021. Washtenaw County had the second highest unemployment rate during this time period at 4.7 percent, which was higher than the 2020 November unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.  Livingston County had the lowest unemployment rate in November of 2021 at 2.5 percent; the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in November of 2020.

The charts below show the percent changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on a month-to-month basis and a year-to-year basis for each month in years 2019, 2020 and 2021 in the Midwest Region. The CPI is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food, energy, housing and medical care. It is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined group of goods and averaging them.
The first  chart below highlights how the CPI changed on a month-to-month basis between 2019 and 2021. Currently in 2021, area prices are up 0.4 percent between October and November. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contributing factors to the increase include a 2 percent increase for new and used motor vehicles and a 0.4 percent increase for shelter; the cost of apparel, education and communication decreased. Other factors included the increased cost of “food away from home” prices, which increased 1.2 percent, and energy prices which increased 0.8 percent.

When examining the second chart, which shows how prices changed on a year-to-year basis,  we see how prices continue to increase in 2021, with the November year-to-year CPI being the highest increase shown below. In November of 2021 the CPI was reported to be 7.9 percent above what it was the year prior. Contributing factors to the continued increase in the CPI include an increase in new and used motor vehicle prices by 17.2 percent, an increase in shelter by 4.5 percent, and an increase in household furnishings and operations by 7.6 percent. Additionally, energy prices increased by 36.7 percent between November of 2020 and November of 2021, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (62.9 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service increased 35.3 percent, and prices for electricity rose 3.6 percent during the last year. Food prices increased by 7.1 percent over the year, which also contributed to the increased CPI.

Home prices continue to increase, as has already been indicated by the increasing CPI. In Metro Detroit, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold was $156,550 in September of 2021; this was $1,110 higher than the average family dwelling price in August. The September 2021 price was an increase of $20,790 from September of 2020 and $58,210 from September of 2014. Home prices have continued to increase year-after-year but the recent average price of single-family dwellings sold in the Metro-Detroit area has shown signs of slowing down. For example, if you look at past economic indicators over the last year, the data shows that month-to-month and year-to-year increases were higher in previous months than for September.

Race Impacts Maternal Mortality, Vulnerability in Michigan and Beyond

Most recently we explored the Maternal Vulnerability Index (MVI), as created and explained by Surgo Ventures, for Michigan and the seven county Southeastern Michigan region. The six sub-indexes that make up the MVI (Reproductive Healthcare, Physical Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, General Healthcare, Socioeconomic Detriments and Physical Environment) are based around factors that include access to healthcare, criminal activity in an area and physical and mental health. The direct data around these factors, and more, directly impact a mother’s health. But, another contributing factor to a mother’s health, both directly and indirectly, is her race. According to the MVI by Surgo Ventures, the Midwest has an MVI average score of 37 out of 100, and the highest vulnerability gap between black women and the regional average. Black women are exposed to a 9 point higher vulnerability score than the regional average, driven by higher exposure to vulnerability based on the following sub-indexes: physical health, mental health and substance abuse, socioeconomic determinants and physical environment.

While the MVI does not examine the vulnerability scores at the county and state level through a racial lens we do know the following.

The percentage of the black population in Michigan is 14 percent and the percentage of the black population in Southeastern Michigan is:

  • Livingston County: 0.5%
  • Macomb County: 12%
  • Monroe County: 2%
  • Oakland County: 14%
  • St. Clair County: 3%
  • Washtenaw County: 12%
  • Wayne County: 39%

The percent of black women between the ages 15-50 who gave birth in the past 12 months (2019) was:

  • Livingston County: NA
  • Macomb County: 3%
  • Monroe County: 5
  • Oakland County: 4%
  • St. Clair County: NA
  • Washtenaw County: 5%
  • Wayne County: 6%

Percent of white women between the ages 15-50 who gave birth in the past 12 months (2019)

  • Livingston County: 6%
  • Macomb County: 5%
  • Monroe County: 5%
  • Oakland County: 5%
  • St. Clair County: 6%
  • Washtenaw County: 4%
  • Wayne County: 5%

Percent of black women at or below the poverty level between the ages of 18-64 (2019)

  • Livingston County: NA
  • Macomb County: 5%
  • Monroe County: NA
  • Oakland County: 6%
  • St. Clair County: 13%
  • Washtenaw County: 7%
  • Wayne County: 9%

Percent of white women at or below the poverty level between the ages of 18-64 (2019)

  • Livingston County: 1%
  • Macomb County: 3%
  • Monroe County: 4%
  • Oakland County: 2%
  • St. Clair County: 3%
  • Washtenaw County: 4%
  • Wayne County: 4%


Furthermore, of the black residents in Southeastern Michigan between the ages of 19 to 64 years of age the following percentage had no health insurance in 2019:

  • Livingston County: 4%
  • Macomb County: 5%
  • Monroe County: 5%
  • Oakland County: 4%
  • St. Clair County: 4%
  • Washtenaw County: 5%
  • Wayne County: 6%

Of the white residents in Southeastern Michigan between the ages of 19 to 64 years of age the following percentage had no health insurance in 2019:

  • Livingston County: 3%
  • Macomb County: 5%
  • Monroe County: 3%
  • Oakland County: 4%
  • St. Clair County: 4%
  • Washtenaw County: 3%
  • Wayne County: 5%

While the numbers don’t very greatly, it does show that while there are fewer black women in Southeastern Michigan there is at least an equal, and in some cases a greater, percentage of them who live in poverty, have had children and who do not have health care. Of course, the MVI also looks at factors such as crime where women live (Wayne County has the highest percentage of black residents in the region and the state and Detroit also has one of the highest crime rates), their access to mental health and addiction services, obesity and diabetes rates. All of these are also factors as to why black women in the Midwest are exposed to a 9 point higher vulnerability score than the regional average, which is 37.

Physical Health May Be one of the Biggest Impediments for Maternal Health in Southeastern Michigan

The Michigan maternal mortality rate was 16.4 per 100,000 live births in 2018, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. At the national level in 2017 the maternal mortality rate was 17.4 per 100,000 live births. While Michigan’s numbers were slightly less than the national average, they are still concerning, especially considering the United States has among the highest maternal mortality rates across amongst other nations.

Maternal deaths include deaths of women while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes.

Understanding, and improving, maternal mortality is important because it helps highlight the effectiveness of the country’s health care system as it relates to general, obstetric and infant care, and is also a human rights issue, as everyone deserves quality and equal care.

In the graphs below we show what factors impact maternal mortality rates and maternal health in general. Several factors, based off maternal health and community data, were combined by Surgo Ventures, a privately funded action tank, to create the Maternal Vulnerability Index (MVI). This index represents six categories, or sub-indexes, in total: Reproductive Healthcare, Physical Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, General Healthcare, Socioeconomic Detriments and Physical Environment. In Southeastern Michigan, and throughout the country, each county and states ranks differently in each category, with the higher number meaning there is an increased vulnerability. This report does not have a national index for the sub-indexes or the MVI as a whole for comparison. The highest level for comparison is at the state level.

The Reproductive Healthcare factor in the MVI is based off a woman’s access to family planning and reproductive services, as well as availability of skilled attendants. As with all the data discussed in this post, the vulnerability level varies greatly by location (again, higher numbers refer to higher vulnerability). In Southeastern Michigan, St. Clair County has the highest Reproductive Healthcare MVI Sub-Index at 50, while nationally there are counties in the Dakotas, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri,  Nebraska and several other states where the Reproductive Healthcare Sub-Index is above 85. The State of Michigan has a Reproductive Healthcare Sub-Index factor of 68. Texas has the highest Reproductive Healthcare Sub-Index of 100 of all 50 states.

For the Physical Health index there is a much wider range of vulnerability in Southeastern Michigan, with Livingston County having a vulnerability level of 0 while Wayne County has a vulnerability level of 88. The State of Michigan has a Physical Health Sub-Index of 66 and comparatively Texas has the highest at 100. The factors that play into the Physical Health vulnerability status include prevalence of noncommunicable diseases and sexually transmitted disease and the percent of females with hypertension, obesity and diabetes. All of these factor can increase the risk of complications and/or death during and after pregnancy.

The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Sub-Index is among one of the higher ones for counties in Michigan, with five of the seven in Southeastern Michigan having a vulnerability index above 50. Macomb County has the highest vulnerability index in the region at 77, followed by Wayne County with an index of 76 and St. Clair County with an index of 74. Michigan has a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Sub-Index of 62 and the State with the highest sub-index is West Virginia at 100. The indicators that play into this index include stress, access to mental health and substance abuse institutions and the overall mental health of mothers in the area.

General Healthcare Sub-Index measures the accessibility, affordability and utilization of healthcare, including insurance coverage and the state’s Medicaid expansion status. Some of the factors of this vulnerability measurement include access to quality medical care, the percent of women of reproductive age who are uninsured, and the postpartum extension status.

St. Clair County has the highest vulnerability index at 45 while Washtenaw County has an index of 0, meaning there is ease in access to and affordability of healthcare for reproductive age women. Michigan has a General Healthcare Sub-Index of 29, and comparatively, the two states with the highest sub-index are Mississippi and Alabama at 100.
General Healthcare Sub-Index measures the accessibility, affordability and utilization of healthcare, including insurance coverage and the state’s Medicaid expansion status. Some of the factors of this vulnerability measurement include access to quality medical care, the percent of women of reproductive age who are uninsured, and the postpartum extension status.
St. Clair County has the highest vulnerability index at 45 while Washtenaw County has an index of 0, meaning there is ease in access to and affordability of healthcare for reproductive age women. Michigan has a General Healthcare Sub-Index of 29, and comparatively, the two states with the highest sub-index are Mississippi and Alabama at 100.
The final sub-index in the overall MVI is Physical Health, of which Wayne County has the highest rate at 95, both in Southeastern Michigan and in the State of Michigan. Michigan has a Physical Health Sub-Index of 82 and of all 50 states Alabama has the highest sub-index at 98. Environmental factors that influence maternal health outcomes include violent crime rates, housing conditions, pollution and access to transportation.

Overall, Wayne County has the highest MVI in Southeastern Michigan, and the State, at 77. Regionally, the county with the second highest MVI is St. Clair County with a rate of 55. At the state level, Michigan’s MVI is 66 and Alabama has the highest MVI of 100. While we know several factors play into the health of a mother and child, this index allows us to examine how all these factors are connected and provide more definitive answers as to why the US’s maternal mortality rate is so poor.

In examining the factors above, it should go without saying that race, socioeconomic status and location are all overarching factors into the MVI. This is examined on a deeper level through the index though and will be further discussed in an upcoming post.

Metro Detroit Small Businesses Recovering, Need Additional Assistance

In 2020, $19.8 billion was spent at small businesses nationwide on Small Business Saturday, a $2 million increase from the $19.6 billion spent the year prior, according to data released by American Express. The hope is that number will be higher in 2021 as many small and local businesses continue to feel economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Small Business Administration, $0.68 of every dollar spent at a local business remains in the local economy, or $68 for $100 remains in the local economy. Such investment in a local economy is vital for local success, especially currently as, according to the Nov. 15, 2021 US Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, 24 percent of Metro Detroit’s small businesses have experienced a large decline in their business because of COVID; 48 percent have had a moderate negative effect; 18 percent have had little or effect on business because of COVID. As the chart shows, more than 70 percent of small businesses in Metro Detroit experienced a large negative effect from the COVID pandemic when it first began. That number has remained below 31 percent since June of 2021 though while the percentage of small businesses in Metro Detroit experiencing a moderate negative effect due to COVID has remained between 40 and 53 percent since June of 2020. And, while the percentage of small businesses experiencing a moderate negative effect on business has remained fairly consistent for more than a year, it is promising to see the percentage experiencing a large negative effect decreasing while the percentage of those experiencing little to no effect has been increasing.

The fact that more small businesses are experiencing little to no negative impact from COVID can also be seen in the percentage of small businesses in Metro Detroit that closed, according to the Nov. 15 2021 Small Business Pulse Survey. The survey asks respondents if their business either temporarily or permanently closed a location in the previous week. The survey covers almost all private-sector industries, including construction, manufacturing, retail, finance, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. According to the Nov. 15 survey, 3.3 percent of small businesses surveyed in Metro Detroit had closed. While that is an increase from the 2.3 percent that closed according to the Oct. 11, 2021 survey, it is a decrease from the 9.2 percent that closed about a year ago.

While data does show optimistic signs for a recovering economy, there are still many areas in which small businesses need assistance in to ensure success.

According to the Oct. 11 2021 Small Business Pulse Survey, the largest need for local small businesses in Metro Detroit is to identify and hire new employees. According to the survey, 49 percent of the local small businesses survey said they need to identify and hire new employees for their future success. In the Nov. 15 survey, 39 percent of small business Metro Detroit respondents said they needed to obtain additional financial assistance or capital for future success, 38 percent said they need to develop online sales or web sites and 27 percent needs to develop more supply chain options.

So, while there are signs of economic recovery of for small businesses there are still many needs for their future, and long-term success. Despite an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in Michigan, there is still a need for employees. As we have discussed prior, living wages are means to attract employees, along with benefits that support employees’ physical and mental health. Navigating the supply chain is a much more difficult concept, as mega-retailers such as Amazon and Walmart continue to be leaders of the pack because of their buying power. However, this could lead to the argument that, given the opportunity, small businesses should fill their inventory with local goods—that is much easier said than done though. Locally made items are much different than items bought from a local store.

The issues surrounding the local economy can be complex, but we can all do our part and invest in small businesses in the holiday season, and year-round. Supporting local not only gives a local business and a local family a chance to survive, but it also strengthens the identity and success of a community.

Hunting Interest Declines in Michigan

Hunting in Michigan isn’t what it once was, at least according to the data. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service the total number of paid hunting license holders in Michigan has been on the decline for well over 15 years. In 2004 there were 870,432 paid hunting licenses in Michigan and by 2021 that number declined to 642,242 licenses. These numbers are reflective of all the hunting licenses in the State of Michigan, including those purchased by non-residents of the State. In addition to needing a hunting license to hunt in the State of Michigan tags, permits and other regulatory forms are also needed to hunt certain animals in Michigan; those numbers have been declining as well.

According to a recent article by Bridge Magazine, a large reason for the decline of nearly 230,000 hunters in Michigan is because of a shift in interest. The article quotes Dustin Isenhoff, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources research specialist who tracks hunting participation, who says that many of the State’s avid hunters are aging out of the sport, and many of today’s children don’t have the same interest in the sport.

With the decline of participation in hunting also comes the fear of a decline in revenue. Twenty percent of the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s revenue comes from fees from hunting and fishing licenses. In 2014 then Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder increased the cost of hunting licenses to increase revenue from an already declining sport. In some cases, the cost of a license doubled; a typical deer license once cost a Michigan resident $15, it increased $31. And, while that has brought on increased revenue there is still the fact the number of licenses being sold is dropping significantly.

The map below shows the number of deer harvested in each county in Michigan in 2020; these numbers do not include the 9,557 that were taken with deer management permits though (these are specifically used for population control). One notable area with a high number of harvested deer and several designated hunting areas is Van Buren, Berrien and Cass counties in Southwestern Michigan. However, even with all the number of deer harvested combined in the map below, the total number is less than the number of deer harvested for population management, which is also a controversial topic.

Hunting only does so much to control the deer population as it is seasonal and can only take place on designated lands. There are deer culling programs in places like Grosse Ile and Meridian Township, but, as alluded to earlier, these programs often draw strong opposition. An Ann Arbor program was cancelled after years of opposition from residents.

Some consider deer as a nuisance to gardeners and that they drive out certain species due to their overpopulation and often are a hazard to drivers in certain places. Others note that the natural predators to deer, including coyotes and cougars, were eliminated in most places in Michigan, although the coyote population is now rising.

The issue of deer hunting and population control is one that is complex and requires a delicate balance. Some call to open more public hunting land in Southeastern Michigan to allow for easier access to the sport and to better control the deer population where numbers are growing due to less space for them to live. However, the risks to hikers, cyclists and other users of open space is significant as well.

Between 2010 and 2018, 16 deaths and 86 non-fatal injuries were linked to hunters’ weapons, according to Michigan Department of Natural Resources reports analyzed by Bridge. In 2015 and 2016 there were not any hunter deaths reported; these were the only two years, at least since 1970, when that happened.