Part III: Metro-Detroit Region Working Toward Wide Spread Transit

In our last two posts we discussed several regional authorities that governments and voters in Southeast Michigan have approved, especially in the wake of Detroit’s financial problems. In this post, we will consider regional efforts to coordinate and fund mass transportation in the area. Transportation planning in Metro-Detroit has long been a fragmented issue. Currently, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which was created through Public Act 387 of 2012, is placing the finishing touches on its Regional Master Plan. This plan is to include main transportation routes along Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan avenues, along with connector lines going east to west throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. It is these four counties that the RTA encompasses and, in order to have sufficient funding for a robust regional transportation system, the RTA is expected to put a ballot initiative before the voters of these four counties (Detroit included) asking for a yet-to-be-determined amount of funding through a millage. According to Public Act 387 of 2012, the RTA can receive money through voter approved millage funding and/or an additional fee that may accompany state driver registration fees. Ballot initiatives can only be placed on ballots during presidential or gubernatorial elections.

Decisions on how and when to seek public funding are made through the RTA’s Board of Directors. This is a 10-member Board, with each Board member serving three-year terms. The County Executives of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties each appoint two board members, the Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners appoints two members, the Mayor of Detroit appoints one member and the Governor appoints one member. The Governor’s appointee serves as chair but does not vote, according to the RTA’s website.

Prior to the establishment of the RTA, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit (SMART) was created in 1967, and it still operates in portions of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Up until recently, SMART did not coordinate with the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), and because of the way SMART initiatives can be placed on the county ballots (by individual counties), Macomb County is the only county in which all communities support the suburban transit authority and are all thereby affected by the authority’s ballot initiatives. In Oakland and Wayne counties, communities have the option to “opt-out” of supporting the authority.

The percentage of opt-out communities as of February 2015 was as follows:

  • Wayne County: 38.6%
  • Oakland County: 57.6%
  • Macomb County: 0%

source

SMARTBus

Most recently, the County Board of Commissioners in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties placed a 4-year 1 mill request for the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit (SMART) on the ballot in August of 2014. The 1 mill request, which included an increase from the original 0.59 mills, was approved throughout the tri-county region as follows:

  • Wayne County: 63.45% yes
  • Oakland County: 73.6% yes
  • Macomb County: 59.6% yes

 

While SMART, RTA, DDOT and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) are now expected to coordinate with one another, it has taken about 100 years for the region to develop even a semblance of a coordinated regional transit system.

 

Starting with streetcars in the early 1900s, Southeastern Michigan once had the largest transportation system in the country, according to Tobi Voigt of the Detroit Historical Society in a 2015 Detroit Free Press article. Although the streetcars were once nearly all privately owned, in 1922 the voters of Detroit voted to buy the streetcars, lines and all other materials that made them operational at a cost of $19.8 million. Having bought an aging system, and then with the Great Depression and World War II, the once vibrant streetcar system could no longer be maintained with the funds the city had. The aging infrastructure, however, did not deter people from using the system. According to Voigt, during World War II ridership actually doubled because of widespread difficulty in obtaining gas, tires and vehicles during World War II.

 

While World War II meant increased ridership, post-World War II meant the beginning of a more developed highway system and more wealth to afford vehicles. These societal changes lead to the retirement of Detroit’s last streetcar on April 8, 1956.

 

Following streetcars came busses, a mode of transportation still used today. Similar to today’s operations, the DDOT (formerly the Detroit Department of Street Railways) attempted to coordinate with a regional entity—then called the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority (SEMTA). Created by the Michigan Legislature in 1967, SEMTA was intended to provide service to the seven county region. However, SEMTA did not have the authority to ask voters for operating funds. This, combined with decreasing ridership and President Ronald Reagan’s decision to cut federal funding to regional transit authorities in 1985, caused SEMTA to cut down to bare bones operations. By 1989, SEMTA became SMART, an authority with the power to seek millage funding.

 

With its 2012 creation, the RTA is now the entity charged with coordinating and planning for public transportation in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties; applying for state and federal transportation dollars; and dispersing those dollars to the appropriate entities.

 

Despite the RTA’s status as the “official” regional transportation authority, collaboration between it, SMART, DDOT and the AATA is expected to take place so truly robust, connected and coordinated system can exist.

 

Regionalism never strongly existed in the Metro-Detroit area until the financial downfall of Detroit began, and even though we are now seeing a surge in regional coordination, the coordination between those regional entities remains fragmented.

 

 

Poverty in Metro-Detroit spreading through the suburbs

Between 2009 and 2014, poverty levels in the region’s urban communities, such as Detroit, Pontiac and Highland Park, increased, just as they did for some of their suburban neighbors. One might assume that the city of Detroit had the region’s highest percentage of residents living below the poverty level in 2014 due to the amount of press coverage it receives regarding poverty, crime, and various economic indicators. However, the city of Hamtramck, an immediate neighbor to Detroit, actually had the highest percentage of residents living below the federal poverty level in 2014.

This post will examine the percent of residents throughout the region below the poverty level in 2009 and 2014. Both the change in percent and concentration will be shown with various maps. For reference, according to the U.S. government, the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in 2014 for a family of four was $23,850; in 2009 the FPL was $22,050 for a family of four.

DetroitPoverty2009

 

DetroitPoverty2014

In 2014, the cities with 30 percent or more of residents living below the poverty line were:

  • Ypsilanti: 30.6%
  • Inkster: 37 %
  • Pontiac: 37.8%
  • Detroit: 39.4%
  • Highland Park: 47.6%
  • Hamtramck: 48.5%

 

As mentioned above, in 2014, the city of Hamtramck had the highest percentage of individuals living below the poverty line at 48.5 percent; in 2009, that number was 38.4 percent. In the city of Detroit, the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line increased from 33.2 percent in 2009 to 39.4 percent in 2014.

 

Each county within the Southeastern Michigan region, with the exception of Livingston County, experienced an increase in the number of communities with a higher percentage of residents living below the poverty line between 2009 and 2014. For example, in 2009, a majority of St. Clair County had less than 10 percent of its residents living below the poverty level, but by 2014 that shifted to between 10-19 percent of residents. There were some communities within that county, though, such as Fort Gratiot and Port Huron Township, which experienced a decrease in the percentage of people living below the poverty level. The higher poverty levels in St. Clair County shifted to the more rural area (the northern part of the county) and to the waterfront communities. Overall, the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line in St. Clair County in 2014 was 15.2 percent.

 

Another visible increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level was in the southern portion of Macomb County. Here, cities such as Eastpointe, Sterling Heights, Center Line and Utica all went from having less than 10 percent of their populations living below the poverty level to between 10 to 19 percent of the populations living below the poverty level. For Eastpointe, just under 10 percent of the population lived below the poverty level in 2009 and in 2014 that percentage increased to 23.5 percent. In Sterling Heights, 7.9 percent of the population lived below the poverty level in 2009, and in 2014 that number increased to 13 percent. Macomb County’s overall poverty rate was 12.2 percent in 2014.

The increase in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line took place in Wayne County as well, with Redford, Flat Rock, Inkster, Wayne, and the southwest portion of the county all experiencing visible changes. Overall, Wayne County had a poverty rate of 24 percent in 2014.

While several communities throughout the region did experience an increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty line there were, as noted above, some that experienced a decrease. For example, in 2009, 10.5 percent of the population in Howell Township in Livingston County lived below the poverty line and in 2014 that number was 4.6 percent.

Among the counties in Southeastern Michigan, Livingston County had the lowest percentage of individuals living below the poverty level in 2014 at 5.4 percent. The percentage of individuals living below the poverty level in Oakland County in 2014 was 9.9 percent and in Monroe County it was 11.8 percent.

SEMichiganPoverty2009

SEMichiganPoverty2014

Poverty, while being largely concentrated in the city of Detroit, has shifted outward toward the suburbs between 2009 and 2014, as illustrated above. In Wayne County, areas of Detroit, such as downtown, have experienced decreases in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line while places such as Westland, Romulus and the western portion of the county have experienced an increase. To the north of Detroit, communities in southern Macomb County, such as Eastpointe, and in southeastern Oakland County, such as Hazel Park and Oak Park, have also experienced an increased percentage in the number of residents living below the poverty line.

 

Ann Arbor, while not experiencing a shift the magnitude of Detroit’s, has also seen its populations living below the poverty levels shift to nearby areas like Pittsfield and Scio. Additionally, in Ann Arbor, poverty concentration has decreased in the northeastern portion of the city and dispersed throughout the entire city.

 

While the region has experienced a slight shift and a clear growth in concentrated poverty, this isn’t an uncommon trend for other metropolitan areas throughout the Midwest region. According to “Architecture of Segregation: Civil Unrest, the Concentration of Poverty, and Public Policy,” a new study by the Century Foundation, concentrated poverty has spread from within the boundaries of metropolitan cities and into the inner ring suburbs. This has been attributed, in part, to the gentrification and increased taxes of urban communities, which has resulted in the movement of residents who are living below the poverty level to inner ring suburbs with aging infrastructure.

DetroitPovertyChange

DetroitPoverty2009

DetroitPoverty2014

 

DetroitPovertyConcentration2010

PovertyDetroitDD2014

 

Between 2010 and 2014, pockets of Detroit neighborhoods experienced a decline in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line while others experienced increases upwards of 20 percent. Concentrations of poverty in Detroit increased in areas such as Cody/Rouge, the neighborhoods bordering Grosse Pointe Farms, along the borders of Hamtramck, and the Southwest neighborhoods of the city.

Only about a dozen census tracts had less than 20 percent of individuals living below the poverty line in 2010. A majority of these census tracts were located on the city’s west side, west of Palmer Park and near Rosedale Park, along with about four bordering the Grosse Pointes on the east side. By 2014, a majority of those census tracts experienced at least a 5 percent increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level.

 

The neighborhoods along Woodward Avenue north of Highland Park, such as Palmer Park and Green Acres, experienced some of the largest decreases in the percentage of individuals living below the poverty level in the city of Detroit between 2010 and 2014. The Midtown, East Riverside, and Corktown areas also experienced decreases in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level.

 

In spite of the positive trends in these neighborhoods, however, high poverty census tracts have dramatically increased in the city of Detroit since 2000, according to the Century Foundation study cited earlier. By 2014, the majority of the census tracts in the city of Detroit had between 40 and 59.9 percent of residents living below the poverty level. As such, even with the improvements made, poverty concentration continues to be a challenge in the city of Detroit.

It is policies, both new and recent, that have helped contribute to the increase in concentrated poverty. From the investment into new infrastructure, rather than fixing what already stands, to urban sprawl and the disproportionate building of homes for the middle class and wealthy to the income increases being felt by the rich, but maintaining stagnant for the poor, there are policies in place that allow the growth of poverty and concentrated poverty to occur.

 

 

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in Southeastern Michigan: Chlamydia rate decreasing in Wayne County, but nearly double Michigan’s rate

In examining three major Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) we find Chlamydia experienced rate increases in five of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan between 2004 and 2014, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. Oakland and Wayne counties were the only two that didn’t experience rate increases for this sexually transmitted infection (STI). These two counties were inline with the state trend; Michigan experienced a chlamydia rate decrease between 2004 and 2014, from 484.3 per 100,000 people to 452.5. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the increase in chlamydia rates was a national trend, as it increased about three percent from 2013 to 2014.

 

Chlamydia and gonorrhea were most commonly diagnosed in 15-24 year-olds throughout the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This is an ongoing national trend that a Centers for Disease Control Doctor Gayle Bolan said is occurring, in part, because of sexual relationships beginning at an early age, according to NBC News. Overall STI rates are increasing nationally because budget cuts to STI programs, changed behavior of gay and bi-sexual men and better reporting mechanisms, Bolan said. She said chlamydia is the most affected by better reporting mechanisms, as it has always been amongst the most common STI, while syphilis rates seem to be increasing because of the changed behavior of gay and bi-sexual men.

Also, officials from Rhode Island to Kent and Wood counties on Michigan’s west side are attributing their STI rate increases to “hook-up” apps like Tinder because of the increased opportunities they allow for casual sex.

 

In Michigan as a whole, not only are chlamydia rates decreasing, but so are gonorrhea rates; conversely, syphilis cases are increasing. This trend is similar with regional trends.

 

Chlamydia was the only sexually transmitted infection for which data were recorded for all seven counties at three time periods (2004-2008 average; 2009-2013 average and 2014). The sexually transmitted infection of syphilis has counties lacking data for all three time periods. Data on gonorrhea for all seven counties is available only for the 2004-2008 and 2009-2013 time periods. It is unclear if missing data is due to data suppression or low numbers.

All rates are per 100,000 residents.

Detroit Chlamydia Rates 2008

Detroit Chlamydia rates 2013

Detroit Chlamydia Rates 2014

St. Clair County experienced the largest chlamydia rate increase of all seven counties from a 2004-2008 average rate of 275.7 per 100,000 per residents to a 2014 rate of 402.4,. In 2014, though, it was Wayne County that had the highest overall Chlamydia rate per 100,000 residents at 811.1, a rate nearly 400 points higher than the states. The 2014 rate of 811.1 decreased from 1076.5 for the 2009-2013 average and from 1007.3 for the 2004-2008 average rate.

As noted earlier, Wayne and Oakland counties were the only two in the region to experience a rate decrease for chlamydia between 2004 and 2014. Oakland County’s average chlamydia rate for 2004-2008 was 300.5, and the 2014 rate was 280.7. Between the 2009-2013 average and 2014 Oakland County also experienced a rate decrease, from 297.6 to 280.7.

The state’s chlamydia rate for 2014 was 452.5, a decrease from 484.3 per 100,000 people for the 2004-2008 average and a decrease from 490.7 per 100,000 people for the 2009-2013 average.

Detroit Gonnorhea rates 2008

Detroit Gonnorhea rates 2013

Detroit Gonnorhea rates 2014

Between 2004 and 2014, of the counties with available data, Wayne County experienced the largest gonorrhea rate decrease from 376.6 for the 2004-2008 rate average to 231.4 for the 2014 rate per 100,000 people. Even so Wayne County had the second highest gonorrhea rate in the state in 2014 (Kent County had the highest rate at 255), according to the Michigan Department of Community Health, but the highest percent distribution of gonorrhea cases in the state came from Wayne County, with 42.4 percent of cases coming from there. The rate decreases for the other three counties with information available-Macomb, Washtenaw and Oakland-ranged between 9 and 15 points between 2004 and 2014. Washtenaw County’s 2014 gonorrhea rate was 72.9, decreasing from the 88.5 average from 2004-2008. Macomb County’s rate of 55.8 per 100,000 in 2014 was a decrease from the 64.7 average rate of 2004-2008. Oakland County’s 2014 rate of 49.6 per 100,000 was a decrease from the 78.7 average rate of 2004-2008.

St. Clair, Livingston and Monroe counties were missing rate data on gonorrhea for 2014. Between the 2004-2008 and 2009-2013 averages St. Clair and Monroe counties both experienced rate increases per 100,00 people and Livingston County experienced a rate decrease. For the 2004-2008 rate averages St. Clair County’s rate was 45, Monroe’s was 41.8 and Livingston County’s was 10.7. The 2009-2013 rate for St. Clair County was 46.6, Monroe 42.2 and Livingston County was 10.5.

 


Slide11 Slide12

 

Detroit Syphillis Rates 2014

For syphilis data, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties were the only three with consistent data between 2004 and 2014. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, Wayne County had the highest rate of the three counties in 2014 at 32.4 per 100,000 people; this was an increase from 21.9 for the 2009-2013 average and an increase from 20.5 from the 2004-2008 average. Macomb County’s syphilis rate per 100,000 people in 2014 was 9 and Oakland County’s rate was 12.1. These two counties also experienced rate increases from the 2004-2008 average and the 2009-2013 average. For the 2004-2008 average, Macomb County’s rate was 5.6 and Oakland County’s rate was 7.6. For the 2009-2013 average, Macomb County’s rate was 7.5 and Oakland County’s rate was 7.8.

Washtenaw County had data recorded for the 2004-2008 average and the 2009-2013 average. This information that Washtenaw County’s rate between those two time periods experienced a miniscule rate increase, from 7.8 for the 2004-2008 average to 7.9 for the 2009-2013 average.

 

In 2014, Michigan’s syphilis rate was 11.3, an increase from both the 2004-2008 average (7.5) and the 2009-2013 average (7.6). The 2014 rate is nearly a third of Wayne County’s 2014 syphilis rate.

Cancer incidence rates declining across Southeastern Michigan

Overall cancer rates declined across all counties in Southeastern Michigan in the last decade. Cancer rates also declined for nearly all major categories—breast, colon/rectal, lung/bronchial and prostrate—in most counties. The category “all other sites” of cancer, however, increased between the 1998-2002 period and the 2008-2012 period for four of seven counties. These counties were Livingston, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne.

Slide03

Slide21

For the total average cancer incidence rates per 100,000 people Monroe County had the largest decrease at nearly 100 between 1998 and 2012; the 1998-2002 average was 478.6 and the 2008-2012 average was 378.8. Oakland and St. Clair counties had similar rate decreases (73.8 and 84.1, respectively) between that time. For the 1998-2002 average Oakland County’s overall cancer incidence rate was 565.9, and St. Clair County’s rate for this time was 581. For the 2008-2012 averages, Oakland County posted a rate of 492.1 and St. Clair County posted a rate of 496.9.

From 477.6 to 471.9, Washtenaw County had the lowest decrease at 5.7. It was Livingston County that had the lowest average rate for 2008-2012 at 441.1 per 100,000 people; Livingston County’s average rate for 1998-2002 was 451.5.

For Wayne County, the average cancer incidence rate per 100,000 people was 568.2 for 1998-2002 and 525.5 for the 2008-2012 average.

Slide05

Slide06

Livingston, St. Clair and Oakland counties all experienced a decrease in their average breast cancer rates between 1998 and 2012. From 1998-2002 Oakland and St. Clair counties had the highest breast cancer rates with Oakland County reporting a breast cancer rate of 84.6, and St. Clair County a rate of 83.7. St. Clair County had the largest decrease from the 1998-2002 to 2008-2012 average; the rate dropped 20.4 points, from 83.7 to 63.3.

Washtenaw County only experienced a 2 point decrease across those two time periods; it had the highest average rate for the 2008-2012 time period of 73.1.

Slide08

Slide09

Average colon and rectum cancer incidence rates throughout the seven county region decreased between 1998 and 2012, with Monroe County posting the largest rate decrease. For the 1998-2002 average rate per 100,000 people Monroe County’s average incidence rate was 60.2, and for the 2008-2012 average the rate per 100,000 people was 35.8; the overall decrease was 24.4. For the 2008-2012 period St. Clair County had the highest average rate per 100,000 people at 51.6, though it had experienced a very substantial reduction from 74.2 in the 1998-2002 period.

Slide11

Slide12

Lung and bronchus average cancer incidence rates in all seven counties decreased between 1998 and 2012, with St. Clair County experiencing the largest decrease at 17.3, from 90.1 to 72.8. Wayne County had the highest rate at 82.9 for 2008-2012, compared to 90.1 for 1998-2002.

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Slide15

Monroe County had the largest average prostate cancer incidence rate decrease per 100,000 between 1998 and 2012 of 36.1; the 1998-2002 rate was 76.7 and the 2008-2012 rate was 40.6. Oakland County also experienced a large rate decrease from the 1998-2002 average to the 2008-2012 average; the Oakland County rates went from 104.7 to 79.4. Despite the 25.3 average rate decrease Oakland County’s average prostate rate remained the highest in the region for 2008-2012 at 79.4.

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Slide18

When looking at all other average cancer incidence rates for the region four of the seven counties experienced rate increases per 100,000 people. Those four counties were Livingston, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Washtenaw County had the largest average rate increase at 15.1 per 100,000 between 1998 and 2012, from 216.4 to 231.5. Monroe County had the largest average incidence rate decrease between 1998 and 2012 at 22. Monroe County’s 2008-2012 average rate was 185.4, the lowest rate in the region, and its 1998-2002 rate was 207.4. Overall, Macomb County had the highest average incidence rate for 2008 to 2012 at 246.4; its 1998-2002 rate was 241.7.

Various measures of labor utilization show improvement in Michigan’s, Metro-Detroit’s economy

  • From August 2015 to September 2015, the unemployment rate across the state increased and in the city of Detroit (monthly);
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeast Michigan decreased from October 2015 to November 2015 (monthly);
  • Commodity Price Index increased from October 2015 to November 2015 for Southeast Michigan (monthly);
  • Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices are still slowly increasing.

Detroit Unemployment

According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, the unemployment rate for the state of Michigan increased from 4.7 percent in September to 5 percent in October. Unemployment in the city of Detroit decreased from 12.7 percent in August to 11.5 percent in September.

Detroit unemployed, discouraged workers

 

Displayed above is an alternative measure of labor utilization in the state of Michigan at an annual basis. This measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers and marginally attached workers, shows that this too has been decreasing. This measure of labor utilization peaked in 2009 at 15 and by the third quarter of 2015 it decreased to 7.6. From 2009 to 2015 there has been a steady decrease.

Detroit's employed

 

From August to September, the number of people employed in the city of Detroit increased by 386, for a total of 214,192 people employed in the city in September. From March to September, the number of people employed in the city increased by 4,775. In the last year, the month of March had the lowest number of people employed in the city of Detroit.

Auto employment

The above chart shows the number of people employed in the auto manufacturing industry in the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (Detroit-Warren-Livonia) from August 2014 to August 2015. From August to September the number of people employed in this industry increased by 1,400, to a total of 106,700. This number is 11,300 more than the number of workers employed in the auto manufacturing industry in September of 2013.

Michigan PMI

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 Purchasing Manager’s Index, the PMI for November 2015 was 57.1, a decrease of 1.3 of a point from the prior month. It was also an increase of .3 from November of 2014.

Michigan Commodity Price

The Commodity Price Index, which is a weighted average of selected commodity prices, was recorded at 45.5 points in November 2015, which was 1.7 points higher than the previous month and 16.3 points lower than November 2014.

Detroit Home Prices

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 $100,680 in September 2015. This was an increase of $5,610 from September of 2014 and an increase of $50 from August of 2015.

Southeastern Michigan’s Firearm Deaths Ruled Suicide Surpass those Ruled Homicide, Accidental

In Detroit, homicides by firearm far outpace suicide, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 2013 data. Outside Detroit in each of the seven counties in the region, the reverse holds. Suicide by firearm far exceeds homicide by firearm. Accidental deaths by firearm in Southeastern Michigan in 2013 were far lower than either other category. Wayne County, excluding the city of Detroit, had the largest difference between firearm deaths ruled suicide and firearm deaths ruled homicide; there were 50 more firearm deaths ruled homicide. Macomb County had the second largest difference at 42 and Oakland County’s difference was 39.

In Detroit there were 214 more firearm deaths ruled homicide than suicide.

Firearm deaths ruled accidental was the category with the lowest numbers across the region. Wayne County had the highest number of accidental deaths at three while Livingston, Oakland and Washtenaw counties, along with the city of Detroit, had zero.

When looking at the rate of suicide and homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 residents we see that suicide had a higher rate in all counties but Wayne in 2013. However, when the number of Detroit suicide and homicide deaths are removed from Wayne County it was in line with its peers in that its rate of suicide death by firearm was higher than its rate of homicide by firearm. At the county level, Macomb County had the highest rate of suicide by firearm at 7.6 and Livingston County had the lowest at 2.7. When not including the Wayne County rate of homicide by firearm with Detroit numbers included, Oakland County had the highest rate of homicide by firearm per 100,000 residents in 2013 at 2.5.

Detroit’s rate of homicide by firearm per 100,000 residents was higher than its suicide rate by firearm though in 2013; the rate of homicide by firearm was 13.6 while the suicide rate by firearm was 4.7.





Slide3

Southeastern Michigan Firearm Deaths

Rate of Suicide by Forearm

2013 Firearm Homicides

In Detroit, homicides by firearm far outpace suicide, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 2013 data. Outside Detroit in each of the seven counties in the region, the reverse holds. Suicide by firearm far exceeds homicide by firearm. Accidental deaths by firearm in Southeastern Michigan in 2013 were far lower than either other category. Wayne County, excluding the city of Detroit, had the largest difference between firearm deaths ruled suicide and firearm deaths ruled homicide; there were 50 more firearm deaths ruled homicide. Macomb County had the second largest difference at 42 and Oakland County’s difference was 39.

In Detroit there were 214 more firearm deaths ruled homicide than suicide.

Firearm deaths ruled accidental was the category with the lowest numbers across the region. Wayne County had the highest number of accidental deaths at three while Livingston, Oakland and Washtenaw counties, along with the city of Detroit, had zero.

When looking at the rate of suicide and homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 residents we see that suicide had a higher rate in all counties but Wayne in 2013. However, when the number of Detroit suicide and homicide deaths are removed from Wayne County it was in line with its peers in that its rate of suicide death by firearm was higher than its rate of homicide by firearm. At the county level, Macomb County had the highest rate of suicide by firearm at 7.6 and Livingston County had the lowest at 2.7. When not including the Wayne County rate of homicide by firearm with Detroit numbers included, Oakland County had the highest rate of homicide by firearm per 100,000 residents in 2013 at 2.5.

Detroit’s rate of homicide by firearm per 100,000 residents was higher than its suicide rate by firearm though in 2013; the rate of homicide by firearm was 13.6 while the suicide rate by firearm was 4.7.

There were four counties with an increase in the percentage of firearm deaths ruled suicide between 2008 and 2013. Monroe County had the largest increase at 1,000 percent, which is representative of an increase of 10 firearm deaths ruled suicide. In 2008 there was one suicide in Monroe County and in 2013 there were 11. The other three counties were Washtenaw, Oakland and Macomb. In terms of sheer numbers, Oakland County had the largest increase of firearm deaths ruled suicide between 2008 and 2013 at 27.

Livingston County had the largest percentage decrease of firearm deaths ruled suicide between 2008 and 2013 at 55 percent. In 2008 in Livingston County there were 11 firearm deaths ruled suicide and in 2013 there were 5.

Change of Gun deaths

Veterans in SE Michigan tend to fare better with income and employment

Last week we examined where veterans live throughout the seven-county region of Southeastern Michigan and this week we take a deeper look into the socioeconomic picture for the region’s veterans. Overall, we see that veterans in the region in 2013 tended to have a higher median income level than non-veterans. Also we see that a lower percentage of veterans in the area fell under the poverty line in 2013 than non-veterans. Unemployment status for veterans throughout the region, however, varied.

This data presented in the maps below is from the 2013 American Community Survey.

When looking at median income in Southeastern Michigan at the municipal level, we see that it tended to be higher for veterans than it was for non-veterans. Municipalities such as Bloomfield Hills, Orchard Lake, and Lake Angelus – all of which have higher median income levels than the region as a whole (link to post) – also had higher veteran median income levels than a city such as Highland Park, for example, which has low median income levels.

It should be noted, however, that veterans make up a smaller portion of the population than non-veterans, and as a result, sample size may have had an influence on these numbers.

The unemployment rate among veterans varied much more than it does among non-veterans. The rate among veterans varied from 0.6 percent to 43.4 percent For non-veterans, it ranges from 2.2 percent to in 34.4 percent The locations with high unemployment also varied significantly between veterans and non-veterans, with 12 locations across five counties having over 25 percent unemployment among veterans – rates that were only seen in Detroit and Highland Park among non-veterans.

A lower percentage of veterans were below poverty status, compared to non-veterans throughout Southeastern Michigan. For both veterans and non-veterans, Highland Park had the highest percentage of residents below the poverty line: 46.2 percent of non-veterans and 25.2 percent of veterans. Only two other municipalities had more than 21.5 percent of veterans living below the poverty line: Chelsea (37.9%) and Hazel Park (27.7%). Clyde Township (0.2%) had the lowest percentage of veterans living below the poverty line.

While there were only three municipalities with 21.5 percent or more of veterans living below the poverty line, there were nine municipalities throughout the region where 21.5 percent or more of the non-veteran population was living below the poverty line. Such municipalities included Ecorse, Detroit, Pontiac, Ypsilanti and Port Huron.

Overall we see that while veterans appeared to fare better than non-veterans in terms of income and poverty status, and in some cases employment.

Washtenaw, St. Clair counties have highest percentage of roads in poor condition

On May 5, 2015, the citizens of Michigan are being asked to vote on Proposal 1, which is the State Legislature’s solution to finding more funding to improve Michigan’s roads. In a nutshell, the proposal is asking voters if they support amending the State Constitution to:

  • Eliminate the sales and use tax on gasoline
  • Increase the sales and use tax from 6 percent to 7 percent
  • Increase the portion of the use tax that goes to the School Aid Fund and extend those benefits to higher education and training centers
  • Increase the gas tax and vehicle registration fees
  • Increase the earned income tax credit

(For the exact ballot language please click here.)

Although the proposal, if passed, would affect more than just road funding, much of the discussion revolving around it has been centered on the roads, as can be seen by information offered by the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments, the Citizens Research Council, state and local road departments and even school representatives.

For the purpose of this post, we show what percentage of pavement segments throughout the Southeastern Michigan region were deemed by the Michigan Department of Transportation to be in “good,” “fair,” and “poor” conditions in 2013. Additionally, we look at the condition of bridges in the region during 2014.

The Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) system was used to determine the conditions of the roads in 2013. According to this system, a road in “fair” condition needs preventative maintenance while a road in “poor” condition needs a structural fix.

Not one of the seven counties in the Southeastern Michigan region had above 25 percent of its pavement segments deemed to be in “good” condition in 2013 by the Michigan Department of Transportation. St. Clair County had the highest percentage of “good” pavement segments at 24.65 percent and Monroe County had the lowest at 14.08 percent. In comparison to the state average (19.09%), Washtenaw, Macomb and St. Clair counties were the only counties in the region with a higher percentage of pavement segments deemed to be in “good” condition.

When looking at the percentage of pavement segments deemed to be in “good” condition by city, we see that Brighton had 0 percent of its pavement classified with this distinction. Brighton is located in Livingston County and only 14.57 percent of the pavement segments in the county were in “good” condition in 2013. Although only 15.15 percent of Detroit’s road were deemed to be in “good” condition in 2013, there were other cities with a lower percentage of “good” pavements. These cities include: Warren, Grosse Point Park and Livonia.

The percentage of pavement segments in “fair” condition throughout the region is higher than those in “good” condition for all seven counties. Monroe County had the highest percentage of segments in “fair” condition at 58.1 percent, while St. Clair County had the lowest at 35.9 percent. Only St. Clair and Washtenaw counties had a lower percentage of “fair” pavement segments than the state average, which was 47.25 percent.

A look at the cities’ pavement conditions shows that Brighton had the highest percentage of “fair” roads at 73.29 percent. The city of Monroe has the lowest percentage at 17.47 percent; this was lower than the state average. Other cities with the percentage of “fair” pavement conditions below the state average were: Ann Arbor, Detroit, Mount Clemens and Port Huron.

About a third of the region’s pavement segments were deemed to be in “poor” condition (32.3% average for the region), a figure similar to the state average (33.65%). When looking at each individual county in the region, we see that only two-Washtenaw and St. Clair-had a higher percentage of “poor” pavement segments than the state average. St. Clair County had the highest percentage at 39.45 percent and Washtenaw County came in just below that at 38.3 percent.

Port Huron, located in St. Clair County, had the highest percentage of pavement deemed to be in “poor” condition at 57.21 percent. Lincoln Park had the lowest at 7.51 percent. Detroit came in at 32.46 percent.

Wayne County had the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the region in 2014 (15.49 percent), according to the Michigan Department of Transportation. For the city of Detroit, 22.59 percent of its bridges were deemed structurally deficient at that time. In recent weeks, it has been reported by the Detroit News that the I-75 Rouge River Bridge in Detroit is so structurally deficient that holes can be seen through the pavement in some areas. The Fort Street and Jefferson Avenue bridges over the Rouge River in that area are also closed for construction. The West Jefferson Avenue bridge has been closed for repair since 2013 because a bridge operator closed it on a passing boat, according to the News Herald. In addition, the News Herald reports that the Fort Street bridge over the Rouge River has been closed since 2013 because of necessary maintenance projects.

Outside of Wayne County, Livingston and Monroe were the only other counties in the region with a higher percentage of structurally deficient bridges (14.24% and 10.45%, respectively) than the state average (8.82%).

Aside from Detroit, the city of Mount Clemens was the only community shown in this post that had more than 20 percent of its bridges deemed structurally deficient.

The information presented throughout this post highlights the conditions of Southeast Michigan’s roads and bridges. The May 5 ballot proposal, Proposal 15-1, is being presented by Governor Rick Snyder as the solution to ensuring Michigan’s roads receive additional funding so the number of roads in poor conditions doesn’t continue to increase. However, approval of this ballot proposal does mean tax increases. The proposed sales and use tax increase, from 6 to 7 percent, would be used to increase state revenue sharing to cities, townships, villages and counties; it would also increase monies going to the School Aid Fund. These monies would not be used on roads, according to the Citizen’s Research Council.

While gasoline and diesel fuel would be exempt from the sales and use taxes under this proposal, the overall gas taxes would increase to 14.9 percent of the price of each fuel; these initial tax rates would be 41.7 cents for each gallon of gas and a 46.4 cents for each gallon of diesel, according to the House Fiscal Agency. These monies, along with increased vehicle registration revenues, would be solely used for transportation and road funding, according to the Citizens Research Council. However, as reported in the Detroit Free Press and other news outlets, if Proposal 15-1 passes about $13.5 million dollars of the new road money would be spent on Michigan Department of Transportation debt in the fist two years.

What has been touched upon in this post is just scratching the surface on the intricacies of this proposal and the background on Michigan’s road conditions, to learn more about this proposal visit the following sites:

http://www.house.mi.gov/hfa/PDF/Transportation/Legislative_Analysis_Transportation_Funding_Package.pdf

http://www.crcmich.org/PUBLICAT/2010s/2015/transportation_funding_proposal.html

Few Southeast Michigan cities continue to grow

LEGEND:

Green charts indicate increasing population in that decade

Red charts indicate declining population in that decade

Yellow charts indicate the population remained stagnant in that decade

In this post we show through a slideshow how the populations of cities within the Southeastern Michigan region have grown, and in many cases fallen. According to the Michigan Legislature, some cities within the state were formed through the Northwest Ordinance and the authority of territorial government before Michigan was admitted into the union. For example, the city of Detroit was founded in 1701 but it was until 1837 that Michigan became officially recognized as a state. Only after Michigan became a state did the Census start recording data.

In 1840 the city of Detroit and the city of Monroe were recognized as official cities by the Census Bureau. Detroit’s population at that time was 9,102 and Monroe’s was 1,703. Pontiac, Port Huron, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Mount Clemens all appear on the chart a decade later, in 1850.

By the early part of the 20th Century we see growth both within the city of Detroit and the areas surrounding the city. The Home Rule City Act was enacted in 1908, giving the opportunity for new cities to arise, so long as a city charter was created. Fraser, New Baltimore, Grosse Pointe Park, Ecorse, Hamtramck and South Lyon all appear on the 1910 map; they were not incorporated cities to be represented on the 1900 map.

Additionally, in 1910 the Highland Park Plant, located just outside Detroit on Woodward Avenue, opened, as did the Dodge Main Plant, also just outside of Detroit, in Hamtramck; both were automotive facilities. It was the opening of such automotive plants within Detroit and its outskirts that helped propel the city to a population of 1.5 million people in 1930. Just like Detroit’s population, Pontiac’s population had significantly grown up until this point, in part because of the Pontiac Assembly Plant.

It was in about 1930 that the region outside of the county seats and the inner-ring Detroit suburbs began to expand. This started to occur, according to Thomas Sugrue in “From Motor City to Metropolis: How the Automobile Industry Reshaped Urban America,” because the growing middle and wealthy classes (much of which was supported by the auto industry), were beginning to choose to build in cities like the Grosse Pointes and Birmingham.

Although many of the suburbs were experiencing rapid growth, when we move forward a decade to 1940, evidence of population loss in the inner-ring suburbs begins to appear. As can be seen in the red colored maps-which indicate population loss in that specific decade-both Highland Park and Hamtramck began to lose residents in 1940 and have yet to regain their 1930 numbers, which are nearly double current population estimates.

Moving forward to 1950 is when Detroit’s population peaked at about 1.8 million. Then, by 1960, the population decline began, and has continued ever since. As much of region was, and still is dependent, on the auto industry, we saw the building of about 25 new auto plants throughout Metro Detroit suburbs during the 1940s and 1950s, according to Sugrue (2004). This, along with the expansion of the federal highway system throughout the 1950s and 1960s, were all contributing factors to the start of suburbanization in the area (Sugrue, 2004).

While Detroit residents began to disperse from the city prior to its population peak, “white flight” also began to increase following the race riots that broke out in 1967. However, policies show that the footing for this type of out-migration began before those race riots. According to Sugrue in his book “The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit”, around the 1940s, as Detroit’s population continued to grow, federal policies around homeownership started to surface that kept African Americans in Detroit and within certain neighborhoods in the city (1996). For example, a majority of the predominantly “black enclaves” in Detroit were redlined on the Home Owners Loan Corporation maps, meaning these areas were not suitable for federal loans or similar aide (Sugrue, 1996). This, along with the combination of access to suburban auto plants because of vehicles and roadways, meant that by 1960 there were more African Americans in Detroit than Caucasians, who had flooded to suburbs (Sugrue, 1996).

As Detroit’s population began to decline, we see that the suburbs began to boom. Warren, Royal Oak, Pontiac and Livonia reached their population peaks in the 1970s. By the 1980s though there were more than two dozen cities in the Metro-Detroit region experiencing population loss, as denoted by the red maps. Everywhere from Farmington to Pontiac to Port Huron to the Grosse Pointes to Detroit to Monroe were all battling with population loss. Additionally, in 1983, the city of Auburn Hills was incorporated (it was formerly Pontiac Township) which is why it first appears on the 1990 chart with a population of 17,000.

Although the city of Ann Arbor was founded long before the last half of the 20th Century, it was one of the few that continued to grow, as did other communities such as Woodhaven, Riverview, Sterling Heights, New Baltimore and the area around Novi. In 2010, Sterling Heights, New Baltimore and Woodhaven were some of only a few cities in the region with increasing populations.

One noteworthy population increase in recent years is Dearborn, which recovered from its decades of population loss in 2000. Despite experiencing growth, the Census data shows that Dearborn has yet to bounce back to its population peak, like many of the red colored charts in 2010.

Dropping from a population of about 1.8 million in 1950 to 714,000 in 2010, we see people left the city of Detroit long before the recession of 2008. In fact, as the charts show, the population loss started about 50 years prior, as the suburbs grew more attractive, the highway system continued to expand and access to vehicles became more accessible to a wider range of residents, enabling many to increase their options for choosing where to live.

 

Sources:

Census Bureau

Michigan Legislature

Sugrue, Thomas. (1996). The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton University Press.

Sugrue, Thomas. (2004). From Motor City to Metropolis: How the Automobile Industry Reshaped Urban America. Automobile in American Life and Society. http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Race/R_Overview/R_Overview1.htm

 

US Postal Service: Address vacancies increase in Detroit

As an ongoing project, David Martin, Ph.D. of Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies, has tracking the number of address vacancies in the city of Detroit. As you will see in this particular post, there has been a gradual increase in vacancies, a trend that has not been all that uncommon over the years.

 

The most recent (December 2014) quarterly statistics from the U.S. Postal Service show an increase in the total number of vacant addresses in the city of Detroit. The total number of vacant addresses (both residential and commercial) increased by 1,288 from 89,480 to 90,768 for the period Sep 2014 to Dec 2014. The total number of residential addresses declined by 372 from 361,887 to 361,515 likely reflecting ongoing demolition activity during the quarter. The total vacancy rate increased from 22.0% to 22.4%.

Source: United State Postal Service via HUD, March 2014.

Tracking Neighborhood Vacancy Change in Detroit:

Percentage Point Change in Address Vacancy over the Past Year (12/2013-12/2014)

Best Performing Neighborhoods in Detroit 12/2013-12/2014 (Green)

Wayne State, West Canfield, Art/Cultural Center, Atkinson/Euclid. Lafayette Park, East Riverfront,, Cody, Rouge Park, Palmer Park, Indian Village, Castle Rouge, Springwells, Woodmere, Islandview, Von Steuben.

Worst Performing Neighborhoods in Detroit 12/2013-12/2014 (Red)

Tireman, NW Goldberg, Newberry, Lasalle Gardens, Brightmoor, Grandmont, Schoolcraft, State-Fair/Nolan, The Eye, Stewart, East Warren, Southeastern, Regent Park, Denby, Pulaski, Outer Dr/Van Dyke, Medical Center, Masonic, Temple/Cass