Change Evident in Southeastern Michigan for Presidential Election

On Nov. 8, 2016 election results showed that then Republican nominee Donald Trump was elected to serve as the nation’s 45th President; Michigan was one of the states that went red for President-Elect Trump. In 2012 though President Barack Obama, the then Democratic candidate up for re-election, won Michigan, helping assure his second term in the White House. To show exactly what locations swung from Democratic to Republican or Republican to Democratic in the 2016 Presidential Election, voting results by precinct were taken from the Michigan Secretary of State and the County Elections offices and mapped. Even just a glance at the maps shows where significant change occurred-Macomb and Monroe Counties-but our deeper look at the precincts also shows precisely where change occurred throughout Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. In many cases, the change shown is of an area where residents voted Democratic in 2012 and Republican in 2016, but there were instances of the opposite as well.

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In the 2016 map we see that Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs (Ferndale, Royal Oak, parts of Warren, etc.), along with Ann Arbor and its surrounding cities to the east and west, had Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton as the winning candidate. There was also a pocket in the City of Monroe that went to Clinton. However, a large share of the region went to President-Elect Donald Trump, including all of Livingston and St. Clair counties and majority of Macomb and nearly all of Monroe counties.

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The two counties in the region that had the largest number of precincts switching from Democratic to Republican from the 2012 to 2016 election were Macomb and Monroe counties. In 2016 53.6 percent of the votes went to the Republican nominee (President-Elect Trump) in Macomb County while in 2012 47.5 percent of the vote went to then Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to the election results. In Monroe County in 2016 58.4 percent of the votes went to the Republican nominee (President-Elect Trump) in Monroe County and in 2012 that number was 48.9 percent for the Republican nominee, according to the election results.

When drilling down into Macomb County we see that the central portion of Sterling Heights, the northern portion of Warren, majority of St. Clair Shores and pockets of precincts in Lenox, Chesterfield, Clinton, Harrison, Richmond and Shelby townships and in the cities of Fraser, Utica and Roseville flipped from Democratic to Republican precincts between the 2012 and 2016 elections. There was not one precinct in Macomb County that switched from Republican to Democrat between the 2012 and 2016 elections, according to county election results.

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In Monroe County we see that the city of Monroe and Dundee, London, Erie, Exeter, Berlin and Rainsville townships switched from Democratic in 2012 to Republican in 2016. Similar to Macomb, there were no precincts in Monroe County that had the reverse switch, going from Republican in 2012 to Democratic in 2016.

While overall, Wayne County remained Democratic in the 2016 election, a drill down on the municipalities and precincts shows that nearly all of the Downriver region
(Trenton, Woodhaven, Flat Rock, Gibraltar, Rockwood, Brownstown, Riverview and portions of Wyandotte, Southgate, Taylor and Allen Park) switched from voting Democratic in the 2012 election to going for the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016. Additionally, all of Garden City made that switch, as did portions of Huron, Sumpter and Van Buren townships, along with areas in Westland, Romulus and Livonia. Overall in Wayne County in 2016, 66 percent of the vote went to Democratic nominee Clinton and 29 percent went to Trump, according to the official Wayne County election results. In 2012 though 73 percent of the vote went to the Democratic nominee (Obama) while 26 percent went to the Republican nominee (Romney), according to election results.

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Washtenaw County, unlike Macomb and Monroe, had several precincts in 2016 that switched from being Republican in 2012 to being Democratic in 2016. All precincts in Lima and Sylvan townships switched from Republican in 2012 to Democratic in 2016, and about half of the precincts in Dexter and Lodi townships did the same. Augusta and Lyndon townships did the opposite, switching from Democratic to Republican between the two elections.

In Oakland County, overall, 44 percent of the voters voted for the Republican nominee (Trump) and 52 percent voted for the Democratic nominee (Clinton) in 2016, according to county elections results. In 2012 though there was a higher percentage of votes cast for both the Republican and Democratic nominees. In 2012 the Republican nominee (Romney) received 45 percent of the vote and the Democratic nominee (Obama) received 54 percent of the vote, according to county election results. In 2016, there were pockets of precincts-primarily in the Bloomfield-Birmingham area-that switched from Republican to Democratic. Birmingham though was the only municipality that switched nearly in its entirety. There were also about a dozen precincts that made the opposite switch (from Democratic to Republican) between the two most recent Presidential elections; those switches primarily occurred in the municipalities that have remained Republican in both elections.

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With the evident change between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections in Southeastern Michigan, we will embark on a detailed series showing not only where the change occurred, as we did in this post, but also how it relates to socioeconomic data, voter turnout and third party votes. Stay tuned for another post related to the 2016 election in the coming weeks.

Detroit Tops List of Regional Crime Rates

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released data on known criminal offenses for the year 2015. For this post, these criminal offenses have been turned into rates per 10,000 residents to accurately show how reported crimes differ between the some of the most well known cities in each county in Southeastern Michigan.

The cities featured in this post are

  • Ann Arbor: Washtenaw County
  • Detroit: Wayne County
  • Howell: Livingston County
  • Monroe: Monroe County
  • Pontiac: Oakland County
  • Port Huron: St. Clair County
  • Warren: Macomb County

Of the nine crimes featured, Detroit had the highest rate of the seven featured cities for all but one. Conversely, of the nine featured crimes, Howell had the lowest rates for six of them.

Overall, property crimes had the overall highest rates of the crimes discussed in this post while murder and nonnegligent manslaughter had the lowest. Property crime rates also had the largest difference between the city with the highest rate (Detroit) and the city with the lowest rate (Howell).

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According to the FBI, Detroit had the highest murder rate in 2015 of the seven cities examined in this post. This rate was calculated to be 4.4 per 10,000 residents; this was equivalent to 295 murders for a population of about 673,000. Howell, Monroe and Ann Arbor had zero reported murders while Port Huron had a rate of .7 and Pontiac and Warren had rates of .1

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According to the FBI forcible rape is defined as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.  Attempts or assaults to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded.”

In 2015, of the cities highlighted in this post, Pontiac had the highest reported rape rate per 10,000 residents at 11.5; this was equivalent 69 reported rapes to law enforcement for a population of about 60,000. Ann Arbor had the lowest rate at 4.9, which was equivalent to 58 total rapes known to law enforcement. Detroit’s forcible rape rate per 10,000 residents was 7.8 in 2015, or 530 total rapes known to law enforcement.

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According to the FBI robbery is defined as “the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

Of the featured cities, Detroit had the highest robbery rate per 10,000 at 51 and Ann Arbor had the second highest at 35. In total, Detroit had 3,457 reported robberies while Ann Arbor had 42. Howell had the lowest rate at 2 with two reported robberies.

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According to the FBI, aggravated assault is defined as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.”

In 2015 Detroit had the highest aggravated assault rate of the cities featured in this post. Detroit’s 2015 rate was about 112.5 per 10,000 residents, and Pontiac had the second highest rate at 90.5. Ann Arbor had the lowest aggravated assault rate of the seven cities featured at 10.8.

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According to the FBI, property crime “includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.  The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims.”

Detroit had the highest property crime rate of the seven cities featured at 409 per 10,000 residents. The city with the second highest property crime rate was Pontiac at 258 per 10,000. Howell had the lowest rate of the featured cities at 152.7. There was a 257 point difference between Howell and Detroit, making this the largest rate difference of the featured cities.

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According to the FBI burglary is defined as, “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.  To classify an offense as a burglary, the use of force to gain entry need not have occurred.”

Similar to the property crime rate standings, Detroit and Pontiac had the highest rates of the featured cities. Detroit’s property crime rate per 10,000 residents in 2015 was 116 while Pontiac’s was 93. Howell again had the lowest rate of the cities at 12.5 with Ann Arbor coming in just above it at 23.1.

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According to the FBI, larceny theft is defined as “the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another.”

Detroit had the highest larceny-theft rates of the featured cities in 2015 at 215.7 and Monroe had the second highest rate at 185. Monroe’s rate was equivalent to 373 reported crimes for a population of 20,074 while Detroit’s rate was equivalent to 14,523 reported crimes for a population of about 673,000. Howell again had the lowest rate at 132.9; this was equivalent to 128 reported crimes for a population about about 9,600.

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According to the FBI, motor vehicle theft is defined as “the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.”

The highest motor vehicle theft rate of the featured cities was 77 per 10,000 residents for the city of Detroit. This rate was equivalent to 5,216 motor vehicle thefts for a population about 623,000. The city with the second highest motor vehicle theft rate was Warren with a rate of about 39. In 2015 Warren had 521 reported motor vehicle thefts for a population of about 135,000. Ann Arbor had the lowest motor vehicle theft rate of 6 per 10,000 residents in 2015 of the feature cities.

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According to the FBI, arson is “any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.”

Ann Arbor had five reported arsons in 2015, giving it the lowest rate at .5, while Detroit had 842 reported arsons for a rate of 12.5. Port Huron had the second highest rate at 5.2 with 12 reported arsons.

Four Southeastern Michigan School Districts Eliminate Budget Deficits

By the end of Fiscal Year 2016 there were four public school districts in Southeastern Michigan that eliminated their deficits while one new district was added to the list of having a deficit, according to the Michigan Department of Education. The four public school districts that eliminated their deficit by June 30, 2016 were Clintondale Community School (ended with a fund balance of about $1.4 million) and Warren Consolidated Schools (ended with a fund balance of about $5.7 million), both in Macomb County, Southgate Community Schools (ended with a fund balance of about $375,000) in Wayne County and Lincoln Consolidated Schools (ended with a fund balance of about $3.6 million) in Washtenaw County. Grosse Ile Township Schools in Wayne County began FY 2016 with a fund balance of $189,441, but ended the fiscal year with a deficit of $152,299. This was the only public district in the region and state to be added to this list. However, there were four charter schools in the region (Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy, Experienca Prepatory Academy, Frederick Douglas International Academy, Taylor International Academy) that began FY 2016 with a fund balance and ended with a deficit.

While there were districts that eliminated their deficit by the end of FY 2016, there were five public school districts in the region that ended the fiscal year under the oversight of the Michigan Department of Treasury (these districts are distinguished in red in the map, however if a district also increased or decreased its deficit they are highlighted in a different color in the map). A district is put under the oversight of the Department of Treasury if it maintains a deficit for five years. The public districts in the region under such oversight are: Detroit City School District, Hazel Park City School District, Mt. Clemens Community School District, New Haven Community Schools and the Pontiac City School District. Additionally, while the New Haven Community Schools and Hazel Park City School District began and ended FY 2016 with deficits, and under the supervision of the Department of Treasury, by the end of FY 2016 both districts had reduced deficits. At the beginning of the fiscal year New Haven Community Schools had a deficit of about $296,000 and by the end it had a deficit of about $65,000. The Hazel Park City School District had a deficit of about $8 million at the beginning of FY 2016 and by the end the fiscal year the deficit was reduced to about $6 million. There were also three other public school districts in the region that began FY 2016 with a deficit but reduced it by the end of the year; these districts were Dearborn Heights, Garden City and Pinkney.

The Detroit school district and Mt. Clemens Community Schools were the only two public districts in the region that began FY 2016 with a deficit and ended the fiscal year with an increased deficit; these distinctions are shown in the map although they too ended the year under the oversight of the Michigan Department of Treasury. Detroit Public Schools began FY 2016 with a deficit of about $1.8 million and ended the fiscal year with a deficit about $1.9 million. The Mt. Clemens Community Schools district began FY 2016 with a deficit of about $1.3 million and ended the fiscal year with a deficit of about $2.2 million.

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Ann Arbor Has Highest Total Equalized Residential Value in Southeastern Michigan

There are four types of equalized property values: residential, industrial, commercial and agricultural. Residential property values are the largest contributor to the region’s total property values. In this post the 2016 total equalized values of residential properties are presented, meaning the values presented represent the municipality as a whole and not the average per residential property.

According to the State of Michigan, the equalized value of a property is the assessed value (which is about half the property’s market value and is set by the assessor) that has been adjusted by the County Board of Commissioners and the Michigan State Tax commission to ensure they are at the constitutional 50 percent level of assessment. All information presented in this post has been approved by the local county Board of Commissioners.

In the tri-county area (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties) Oakland County experienced the largest percentage increase in total equalized property values between 2015 and 2016. Oakland County experienced a 7.4 percent increase while Macomb and Wayne both experienced about a 1 percent increase.

In total, Oakland County also had the largest equalized property values in 2016 at $65,084,851,114 (more than $130 billion in actual value); residential values made up $49,933,653,218 (more than $100 billion in actual value) of that. The City of Troy in Oakland County had the highest total residential equalized property value in the county at about $3.8 billion (about $7.6 billion in actual value). This value was higher than Detroit’s total equalized residential property value of $2.5 billion ($5 billion in actual value). Wayne County’s total property value was $44,884,066,562; residential equalized property values made up $29,476,949,702 of that. The community in Wayne County with the highest total residential equalized property value was Grosse Ile with about a $3.3 billion total ($6.6 billion in actual value). In Macomb County the total equalized property value for the county in 2016 was $30,605,374,212 ($61.2 billion in actual value), with residential equalized property values making up $22,477,768,361 of that ($44.8 billion in actual value). Sterling Heights in Macomb County was the municipality in that county with the largest total residential equalized property value at about $3.5 billion ($7 billion in actual value). In Washtenaw County, where the total residential equalized property value was $13,045,788,080 ($26 billion in actual value), Ann Arbor had the highest total equalized residential property value, in the county and the region, at about $4.25 billion ($8.5 billion in actual value).

The map below shows that the municipalities with the highest total equalized values are mainly located in the Metro-Detroit area where home values and median incomes are traditionally higher. There are exceptions though, such as Detroit, where the median income and household value are below communities like Grosse Ile, Troy and Sterling Heights. However, Detroit is geographically the largest municipality in the state at about 139 square miles. The communities in the region with the lowest total equalized residential property values for 2016 are the rural communities, with larger amounts of agricultural land, located on the edge of the region in St. Clair, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw communities. In St. Clair and Monroe counties there was not one municipality where the total equalized residential property value was above $1 billion ($2 billion in actual value), while in Oakland County majority of the communities had total residential property values at or above that threshold.

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Percentage of Female City Managers in Metro-Detroit Below Average

The percentage of females who serve as city managers in Southeastern Michigan is below the national average. In Southeastern Michigan, 10 percent of the cities with city managers had those positions filled by females. According to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), a 2012 survey administered by this professional management organization found that about 20 percent of chief administrative officers in local government are females. Additionally, ICMA membership records show that 15 percent of the organization’s members in 2016 were female city managers.

In Southeastern Michigan there are 233 municipalities (not including counties or special districts), most of which are townships. Typically, the chief administrative officer in a township is the township supervisor, which is an elected position (more on this can be found in a past post). There are about 75 cities in Southeastern Michigan, but again, not all have city managers. Cities like Detroit and Warren have a strong mayor form of government, meaning the elected mayor serves as the chief administrative officer. Of the 69 cities with a council-manager form of government, only six had a female city manager, according to information found on each city’s website.

The largest city in Southeastern Michigan with a female city manager is Ferndale, which is located in southern Oakland County with a population of about 20,000. April Lynch has served as the Ferndale’s City Manager since 2011. The other cities with female city managers are: Belleville, Hamtramck, Lathrup Village, South Lyon and Rockwood.

In addition to cities and townships, villages are another form of local government in Michigan. In the map below these communities with chief administrative officers are also highlighted. Of the six villages in Southeastern Michigan with a village administrator one has a female serving in that position (not all villages have such a chief administrative officer-many villages have small populations, and the village president serves as the chief administrative officer). The village with a female administrator is the Village of Bingham Farms, which is located in Oakland County and has a population of about 1,100.

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As noted in our recent elected officials post, more than 50 percent of the country’s population is made up of females, but a much smaller number of females serve in elected positions, and as this post shows, are selected to lead local government. This conversation is being raised by organizations such as ICMA and Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). Locally though, more conversations need to take place to at least put Southeastern Michigan in line with or above the national average, so there is a more inclusive and representative pool of local government leaders.

 

Deer-Vehicle Crashes in Region Account for 17% of State’s Total

In 2015 in the state of Michigan there were about 1.75 million deer, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. In Southeastern Michigan there were 7,855 deer-vehicle crashes, according to the Michigan State Police.

This was down 509 crashes from 10 years prior. This total number of crashes represented 17 percent of the total number of deer-vehicle crashes in the state in 2015 even though this part of the state represents over 47 percent of the states population.

Below are three time series, based on data provided by the Michigan State Police, showing the total number of crashes in the seven county region, the total of injuries caused by deer-vehicle crashes and the total number of fatalities caused by deer-vehicle crashes.

Oakland County experienced the highest increase in the number of deer-vehicle accidents between 2014 and 2015 at 123. Over the 10 year period, four counties (Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne) experienced increases, with Wayne County experiencing the highest at 56. Livingston County experienced the largest decrease in the number of deer-vehicle crashes between 2006 and 2015 at 474.

Washtenaw County is another county that experienced an overall decrease in the number of deer-vehicle crashes between 2006 and 2015 at 125. Between 2014 and 2015 the county also experienced a decrease of 110 crashes. However, the city of Ann Arbor is in the midst of a deer management program to reduce the number of negative deer-human interactions, according to Mlive. Between 2014 and 2015 the number of deer-vehicle accidents in the city increased from 51 to 90, according to Mlive.

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As seen in the next two maps below, injuries caused by deer-vehicle accidents are fairly common while human fatalities are infrequent varying between zero and one for any given county in a year. Between 2006 and 2015 Oakland County regularly had the highest number of deer-vehicle injuries; it also had the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes. The number of injuries appears directly related to the number of accidents.

In 2015 there 70 injuries caused by deer-vehicle related accidents in Oakland County and in Monroe County there were four. Not only does Oakland County have the highest number of injuries from such crashes but it has also experienced the highest increase between 2006 and 2015 at 15. Washtenaw County climbed to a paek in 2010, fell substantially and then climbed slightly by 2015. It experienced the lowest increase in from 2006 to 2015 at 6.

While each county in Southeastern Michigan had at least a handful of injuries caused by deer-vehicle crashes, fatalities from such accidents were much more rare. Between 2006 and 2015 there were zero fatalities caused by deer-vehicle accidents in Wayne County. Unlike Wayne County, every other county in the region had at least one fatality in the 10 year time span. In the years 2009, 2010 and 2014 though there were zero deer related fatalities throughout the region. Livingston County had the highest number of fatalities between 2006 and 2015 at three, one of which was in 2015. Throughout the state of Michigan there were 11 fatalities caused by deer-vehicle crashes in 2015.

 

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Although fatalities from deer-vehicle crashes are uncommon, motorists should still be aware of their surroundings when driving. Most deer-vehicle crashes occur in the fall and winter months between dusk and dawn on rural roads. Very few methods of reducing these crashes have been found to be effective, except fencing and drivers slowing their speeds (though they often will not without consistent enforcement).

Southeastern Michigan Economy Gaining Strength

  • The unemployment rate across the state remained stagnant while the rate in the city of Detroit decreased (monthly);
  • The number of employed Detroit residents increased, (monthly);
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeastern Michigan remains strong, especially after increasing 7 points (monthly);
  • The Commodity Price Index remained the same (monthly);
  • The Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to increase monthly and annually.

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According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan slightly increased to 4.7 in October of 2016 from 4.6 the previous month. However, unemployment in the City of Detroit decreased to 11.1 in September, from 12.4 the previous month. The September unemployment rate in 2016 was 0.4 points lower than it was in September of 2015.

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In September of 2016 the number of employed Detroit residents rose to 221,238, an increase of 2,314 from August. Between September of 2016 and September of 2015 there was a total increase of 10,012 employed Detroit residents, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

While the number of employed Detroit residents increased between August and September the labor force decreased by 1,067. In August the labor force was reported to be 250,047 and in September it was reported to be 248,971.

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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 October 2016 was 67.2, an increase of 7 points from the prior month. The October 2016 PMI was an increase of 8.4 from the previous year.  With this increase, the PMI is considered to be strong, particularly because it has remained above 50 since June of 2014. Much of this growth, according to the Institute of Supply Management of Southeastern Michigan, is due to the resurgence of the auto sector in the region.

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The October 2016 Commodity Price Index decreased 0.2 points from September but increased 3.2 points from the prior year. The three month average for the Commodity Price Index was 48, which the Institute of Supply Management of Southeastern Michigan states is good for short-term profits.

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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 $109,660 in August 2016. This was an increase from $103,750 from August of 2015 and an increase from $98,720 from August of 2014.

Metro-Detroit Women Less Represented on Elected Bodies

While women make up 51 percent of the Nation’s population, they do not hold at least 50 percent of the elected positions. This is true at the national level where women currently hold less than 20 percent of the seats in Congress. In Michigan women make up 20 percent of the state legislature (women currently hold 31 of the 148 seats). Digging beyond elected positions at the national and state level, we see that at the local level in Southeastern Michigan women generally hold between 25-50 percent of the elected seats in a municipality.

The data used for the maps represent individuals currently holding office; the maps do not reflect who was elected to serve beginning in 2017. Municipalities with an “NA” have that designation because the information could not be found.

In Southeastern Michigan there are nine municipalities where there are no women currently sitting on the city council or township board. The majority of the region though has elected bodies where women make up 25 to 50 percent of the council or board. Greenwood Township in St. Clair County is the only municipality in the region with an entirely female board. In Greenwood Township the board is made up of five positions-supervisor, clerk, treasurer and two trustees-each of which is currently held by a female. Of all the counties in the region, St. Clair County has the highest percentage of municipalities where more than 50 percent of a township board or city council is made up of women. In Wayne County, the average percentage of women holding a seat on a township board or city council is 31 percent; three of the municipalities with no women elected to the public body are located in Wayne County. In Detroit, 44 percent of the City Council is made up of women.

In the second map below we see that women are less represented in the top leadership roles of elected bodies of a township board or city council. Of the about 220 municipalities in Southeastern Michigan only 29 have women serving as a Township Supervisor or a Mayor. Wayne County had the bulk of these women; there are currently eight municipalities there with a woman township supervisor or mayor. In Oakland County there are six municipalities with women serving as a township supervisor or mayor and in Macomb County there are five. Monroe and St. Clair counties both had the least amount of women elected to serve in such roles. There are only two municipalities in each county with women serving as a township supervisor or mayor.

While there are pockets of Southeastern Michigan where women are more represented on local elected bodies than those in Congress or in the Michigan Legislature, the overall trend still shows that women typically make up less than 50 percent of an elected body. Although not an elected position, women are also less represented in leadership roles when it comes to local government administration. In a future post we will look at what sex of city managers and top administrators of local municipalities.

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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.

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Vacancy Rates in Detroit Remain Stagnant

In the City of Detroit in September 2016 the total percentage of vacancies was 21.9 percent, according to the U.S. Postal Service. This vacancy percentage was nearly unchanged from the 22 percent total vacancy rate the U.S. Postal Service reported in June of 2016. Similarly, when looking at the percentage of residential vacancies and business vacancies in the City these too nearly went unchanged between June and September. The U.S. Postal Service reports that the September 2016 residential vacancy rate was 22.4, down 0.1 percent. The September 2016 business vacancy rate was 25.9, up .02 percent from June.

Overall, in the month of September there were 87,762 reported total vacancies, 80,002 of which were residential, 7,670 of which were businesses and 104 of which were considered “other.” Between June and September, the total 0.1 percent vacancy decrease was equivalent to a decrease of 579 vacant addresses; there was a decrease of 641 vacant residential addresses and an increase of 62 vacant business addresses.

The first two maps below show, by Census Tract, the total number of vacancies and the total percentage of vacancies. The Census Tract with the highest number of total vacancies is on the east side, just north of Belle Isle. This Census Tract had 906 vacancies, which was 50.6 percent of the total number of structures in that Census Tract.

As the first map shows, majority of the Census Tracts with vacancies above 400 were located either on the cities east side, or just west of the downtown area of Detroit. When looking at the total percentage of vacancies in Detroit by Census Tract we see there is a slight shift in which Census Tracts have among the highest amount of vacancies in terms of percentage versus total numbers. This is directly related to the total number of structures in each Census Tract. For example, just east of Hamtramck there is a Census Tract with 229 vacant addresses, a number that does not put in amongst the Census Tracts with the highest vacancy numbers. However, these 229 vacant addresses in that Census Tract mean there is a 42.9 percent vacancy rate. Just south of that Census Tract is another where there are 307 vacancies which make up 18 percent of the structures there.

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When comparing the total number of vacancies between September 2015 and 2016 we see that there are several Census Tracts that experienced an increase in the total number of vacancies. It was a Census Tract just north of Highland Park that experienced the greatest increase at 7.8 percent. Vacancy increases over the last year occurred the most on the City’s east side, however they were not isolated there.

Overall, while there were Census Tracts with vacancy rate increases there was a total decrease of 5,446 vacant addresses between September 2015 and September 2016.

In addition to these changes, in September of 2016 there was a decline in the number of “no stat” addresses; that number decreased by 2084 in the last year. Mail carriers denote properties as being either “vacant” or “no-stat.” Carriers on urban routes mark a property as vacant once no resident has collected mail for 90 days. Addresses are classified as “no-stat” for a variety of reasons. Addresses in rural areas that appear to be vacant for 90 days are labeled no-stat, as are addresses for properties that are still under construction. Urban addresses are labeled as no-stat when the carrier decides it is unlikely to be occupied again any time soon — meaning that both areas where property is changing to other uses and areas of severe decline may have no-stat addresses.

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