Highland Park Home to Highest Number of Rental Units in the Region

In 2015 there were nine cities in Southeastern Michigan where more than 50 percent of the housing units were renter occupied. Ypsilanti had the highest percentage of renters at 69 percent, followed by Royal Oak Township at 67 percent. Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills and Detroit, all homes to universities, also had more than 50 percent of its housing units renter occupied. In Detroit, 51 percent of the occupied housing units were renters. Areas with the highest percentage of renters in Detroit were located along the river and in the lower Woodward Corridor. In these areas more than 75 percent of the housing units were occupied by renters. Conversely, areas such as Palmer Park and Rosedale Park had among the lowest percentage of renters, ranging between 2 and 30 percent. There were only 20 Census tracts in Detroit where 30 percent or less of homes were occupied by renters. As seen below, majority of the Census tracts throughout Detroit had between 30 and 60 percent of the occupied housing units occupied by renters.

Percent of Homes Rented_Detroit_Census Tract_JPEG

Percent of Homes Rented_SEMCOG_MDC_JPEG

At the county level, Livingston County had the lowest percentage of renters at 15 percent while Wayne County had the highest percentage at 37 percent. In Livingston County, Cohoctah Township had the lowest percentage of renters at 3 percent and Howell had the highest percentage at 48. In Wayne County, it wasn’t Detroit with the highest rental rate, but rather Highland Park at 64 percent. Grosse Pointe Farms had the lowest rental rate in Wayne County at 2.6 percent.

Regionally, the average percentage of homes rented was 22 percent in 2015; of the 210 communities in the region 112 of them had less than 22 percent of the housing units occupied by renters. Of those 112 communities, 47 of them had rental rates below 10 percent. Novi Township, located in Wayne County, had the lowest percentage of renters at 2 percent, followed by Orchard Lake (2.3%) and Grosse Pointe Farms (2.6%).

While there were less than 10 cities in the region with rental rates above 50 percent, we will highlight next week that there has been a trend toward renting in recent years, particularly in certain areas. In a recent Detroit Free Press article higher rental rates was attributed to the increased number of foreclosures that occurred during the mortgage crisis. A 2015 New York Times article discusses how homeownership rates had been falling for eight years straight at that time, largely due to the burst of the housing bubble.

Oakland, Washtenaw Counties Have Highest Foreign-Born Populations in Southeastern Michigan

Of the four major counties in Southeastern Michigan, both Oakland and Washtenaw counties had the highest percentage of foreign-born populations in 2015, according to the American Community Survey. Oakland County ranked just above Washtenaw County though; the foreign born population percentage in Oakland County was 11.8 percent and in Washtenaw County it was 11.6 percent. In Oakland County there are three municipalities where more than 20.1 percent of the population was foreign born in 2015, while in Oakland County there was only one municipality.

Of all the municipalities in the region though it was Hamtramck with the highest percentage of foreign-born residents at 46.6 percent.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines a foreign-born person as “anyone who was not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes respondents who indicated they were a U.S. citizen by naturalization or not a U.S. citizen. Persons born abroad of American parents or born in Puerto Rico or other U.S. Island Areas are not considered foreign born.”

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In Macomb County in 2015, 10.6 percent of the population was foreign-born, with the city of Sterling Heights having the largest foreign-born population. In Sterling Heights 25.8 percent of the population was foreign-born; this is equivalent to 33,598 people in the city. Of those residents, 58.7 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens and the remainder (41.7%) were not U.S. citizens.

Aside from Sterling Heights, Warren and Shelby Township had amongst the highest foreign-born populations at 12.1 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively.

All of northern and eastern Macomb County had less than 5 percent foreign-born populations.

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In Oakland County, it was the western side of the county where majority of the municipalities had less than 5 percent of their populations made up of foreign-born residents. The city of Troy had the highest percentage of foreign-born residents in Oakland County at 25.8 percent, followed by West Bloomfield Township at 20.9 percent and Novi at 20.8 percent.

In Troy, 52 percent of the foreign-born residents were naturalized U.S. citizens and the remainder were not U.S. citizens. Between Troy, Novi and West Bloomfield Township, Novi had the highest percentage of non-U.S. citizens at 55 percent.

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In Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Township had the highest percentage foreign-born residents at 21.8 percent. This percentage was the equivalent to about 971 people in the charter township. Of these people, 49 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens and the remainder were not U.S. citizens. The city of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township followed Ann Arbor Township in terms of foreign-born populations. The percentage of foreign-born residents residing in Ann Arbor was 17.9 percent and in Pittsfield Township was 18. percent. These percentages were equivalent to 20,762 foreign-born residents in Ann Arbor and 6,753 in Pittsfield Township.

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In Wayne County, Dearborn and Hamtramck had the highest percentage of foreign-born residents at 26.4 percent and 46.6 percent, respectively. In Dearborn, of the 25,410 foreign-born residents 65 percent were naturalized citizens. In Hamtramck, of the 9,589 foreign-born residents, 45 were naturalized U.S. residents.

In Detroit, the foreign-born population made up about 37,000 residents but was equivalent to 5.1 percent of the population.

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Detroit 30-Year Mortgage Rates Below National Average

  • The average 30-year mortgage interest rate in Detroit is lower than the national average (weekly);
  • 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.
  • The unemployment rate increased at the State and local level(monthly);
  • Regionally, Washtenaw County’s unemployment rate remained the lowest;
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeastern Michigan dropped below 50 but is expected to increase (monthly);
  • The Commodity Price Index dropped to its lowest point in over a year (monthly);

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On March 15, 2017 the Federal Reserve Raised the federal interest rate by .25 percent; it now ranges between .75 and 1 percent. This is the third time the rate has been raised since the financial crisis. Prior to last week rates were raised once in 2015 and once in 2016. The rate increase has been attributed to strong job growth, more investment from businesses into operations and a higher rate of consumer spending.

This rate increase will impact credit products, such as mortgages and auto loans, in addition to savings, home equity lines of credit and credit cards. Another item that may be affected is new home starts, a statistic that is not readily available through the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments website, as it once was.

Above are three average 30-year mortgage interest rates at the national, state and local levels. These rates were provided by bankrate.com, which does a national survey of large lenders on a weekly basis. As a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is the most traditional type of home financing this was chosen to show the rate differences. The State of Michigan had the lowest average interest rate for the week of March 16 at 4.14 percent and the national average was the highest of the three at 4.44 percent. Detroit’s average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate was 4.42 percent, which according to bankrate.com is an increase from the previous week. According to bankrate.com, Detroit’s rate for an average 30-year fixed mortgage rate in the Detroit area is equivalent to about an additional $4.50 a month on a mortgage for $165,000. Such an increase brings the average monthly payment to about $819.

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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 $109,790 in October 2016. This was an increase from $6,520 from October of 2015 and an increase from $11,570 from October of 2014.

**This information has not been updated since December of 2016. It was presented in a previous post, however due to the relation to the information above we are republishing it.**

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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 5.2 in January of 2017 from 5 the previous month. Detroit, however, had a big increase. Unemployment in the City of Detroit increased from to 9.8 in December to 12.3 in January. The January unemployment rate for Detroit in 2017 was 1.2 points higher than it was the previous year at that time.

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The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for January of 2016 and 2017. For 2017, St. Clair County had the highest rate at 7.7 while Washtenaw County had the lowest at 3.4. St. Clair and Wayne counties were the only two in the region with unemployment rates above 7 in January. Four of the seven counties (Livingston, Monroe, Oakland and Washtenaw) all had unemployment rates at or below 5.

While in 2016 St. Clair County again had the highest unemployment rate for the month of January, regionally, and Washtenaw County had the lowest, it is interesting to note that unemployment rates were higher across all counties in 2017. Wayne County had the largest difference between 2016 and 2017 at 1 point; the unemployment rate was 6.2 in 2016 and 7.2 in 2017.

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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 December 2016 was 53.3, a significant drop from an index of 61.9 the prior month. History shows though that January traditionally has a lower PMI readings and it is expected to increase for February.

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The January 2017 Commodity Price Index dropped to the lowest it has been since September of 2015. At that time the Commodity Price Index was 41.2 and this most recent reading was 41.7. There is speculation from the Institute of Supply Management-Southeastern Michigan that this drop could reflect policy changes from the new federal administration, especially as gas and oil prices are up.

Economic Growth Slow for Southeastern Michigan Counties

According to four performance indicators, identified by the National Association of Counties (NACO), Southeastern Michigan has yet to fully recover from the recession. There are counties though, that are faring better than others, regionally. For example, Washtenaw County has recovered beyond it’s pre-recession peak recovery on all four performance indicators, while Wayne County has only overcome one of those peaks.

The four indicators NACO uses to determine county economic growth are:

  •   Unemployment Rate
  •   Job Growth (total number of jobs available)
  •   Economic output growth (Gross Domestic Product)
  •   Median Home Value Growth

To determine if there has been growth NACO first graphed annual values from 2002 to 2016 indicating which year between those two was the pre-recession peak (Or nadir, in the case of unemployment). If the 2016 value had not reached the pre-recession peak, which was typically 2005 for majority of the indicators for Southeastern Michigan, NACO deemed there to be no recovery in that area for that county.

Overall, the data shows that economic output recovery and median home values have been the slowest recovery throughout the region. Four the seven Southeastern Michigan counties have yet to experience pre-recession GDP values (adjusted for inflation) and two of the seven have yet to experience median home value recovery. All of the counties have had their unemployment rates drop to pre-recession numbers, or less.

Living

According to NACO, Livingston County ranked in the highest section for economic recovery due to the fact that indicators showed job, unemployment, gross domestic product and home price recovery rates in 2016. For the total number of jobs available Livingston County’s pre-recession peak was in 2005, as was its GDP and median home price value. All three of these increased by 2016. The data also shows that between 2015 and 2016 the county’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent, which was a 1.1 percent decline from the previous year. Livingston County’s job growth rate increased by 1.8 percent, its economic output growth rate increased by 2.6 percent and its median home prices grew by 7.4 percent between 2015 and 2016.

The image below shows that Livingston County’s economic indicators have been showing signs of a stronger economy, however its economic output growth rate and its median home prices growth rate both fall below that of the average mid-sized county economies’.

None the less, there is job growth in Livingston County and the top five specialized industries in the county in 2016 were:

  •   Professional and business services
  •   Construction
  •   Real Estate
  •   Financial activities
  •   and Arts and Entertainment

Macomb

Macomb County has only recovered in two of four performance areas to its pre-recession peaks, according to NACO. One of those two areas that experienced recovery is in job growth; the pre-recession peak was in 2005 and recovery began in 2009, and has continued to climb. Additionally, the unemployment rate was at 5.1 percent in 2016 is below the county’s 2002 pre-recession low point of 6.4 percent. The GDP peaked in 2005 by 2016 it had yet to climb back to the inflation adjusted number; however the county has experienced a steady increase since the 2009 low point. Median home values also have yet to reach the pre-recession peak in Macomb County, which was in 2005.

Between 2015 and 2016 Macomb County had a job growth rate of 1.3 percent, an economic output growth rate of 2 percent and a median home prices growth rate of 5.8 percent. Also, between 2015-16 the unemployment rate dropped 1 percent to 5.1 percent. While there has been economic growth in Macomb County, a look at the charts show that it has been slow and it remains below that of other large counties across the country.

With a job growth rate at 1.3 percent between 2015-16, the top five specialized industries in Macomb County by employment are:

  •   Manufacturing
  •   Construction
  •   Federal Government
  •   Management and Enterprises
  •   Military

Monroe

By 2016 Monroe County experienced growth in three of the four performance indicators, according to NACO. While it experienced job, unemployment rate and home price recovery, its economic output growth rate was not considered favorable compared to pre-recession numbers. Monroe County’s GDP peaked in 2003 and by 2009 recovery had begun. However, in 2016 that recovery had yet to reach the 2003 inflation adjusted value, although it was close.

Also, according to NACO, between 2015 and 2016 Monroe County had a jobs growth rate of 1.2 percent, an economic output growth rate of 1.9 percent and a median home prices growth rate of 4.1 percent. The unemployment rate was at 3.3 percent in 2016, a 1.1 percent decrease from the prior year and a 2.2 decrease from 2002.

In Monroe County in 2016 the top five specialized job industries were:

  •   Construction
  •   Transportation
  •   Utilities
  •   Agriculture
  •   Mining

Oak

Similar to Monroe County, Oakland County only experienced economic growth in three of the four categories, according to NACO. Oakland County’s GDP has not recovered since its 2003 pre-recession peak; but like many of the other counties in the region recovery began in 2009. Between 2015 and 2016 though, Oakland County’s economic output growth rate did increase by 2.3 percent while its job growth rate rose by 1.4 percent and its median home prices growth rate went up by 6.4 percent. The annual unemployment rate in Oakland County decreased by .8 percent between 2015 and 2016 to a total of 4.2 percent. As has been seen by all the counties discussed thus far, Oakland County’s overall performance indicators remain below other large counties in the country.

In 2016 in Oakland County the top five specialized industries by employment were:

  •   Professional and business services
  •   Financial activities
  •   Real Estate
  •   Information
  •   Management and enterprises

StC

In St. Clair County, total recovery has yet to be seen in both the job growth and economic output growth rate sections, according to NACO. In St. Clair County the total number of jobs available peaked in 2004 and in 2016 that number had yet to reach the pre-recession peak. However, there was a 1.1 percent jobs growth rate increase between 2015-16. Additionally, there was a 1.9 percent economic output growth rate between 2015-16. However, the GDP remained just below its 2005 peak. While those two areas have yet to recover, St. Clair County’s unemployment rate is below where it was at in 2002, its previous low point. In 2016 it had an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, a decrease of 1.4 percent from the previous year. The county’s median home prices have also experienced growth. In 2016 the median home values had climbed above the previous 2005 peak. Additionally, between 2015-16 there was 4.5 percent increase.

St. Clair County’s top five specialized industries by employment are

  •   Retail
  •   Construction
  •   Utilities
  •   Agriculture
  •   Military

Washt

According to NACO, Washtenaw County has experienced economic growth across the board, with its unemployment rate dropping below 2002 rates and its job, economic output and median home price growth rates all rising above the 2005 values, the county’s previous peak values. In 2016 Washtenaw County had an unemployment rate of 2.3 percent, a 1.2 percent decrease from the previous year and also a decrease from its 2002 rate of 3.6. The county’s job growth rate grew 1.7 percent between 2015 -16. The economic output growth rate for Washtenaw County increased by 2.6 percent between 2015-16. Finally, the median home price growth rate increased by 6.7 percent between 2015-16. The top five specialized industries in Washtenaw County by employment are:

  •   State and local government
  •   Professional and business services
  •   Arts and entertainment
  •   Information
  •   Federal government

Wayne

Wayne County is the only county in the region that has recovered in only one of the four areas, according to NACO. In 2002 Wayne County had an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent and in 2016 it was 6 percent, according to NACO. Since 2015 Wayne County has experienced positive growth rates for jobs, economic output and median home prices, but none have recovered to the pre-recession peaks. Wayne County’s unemployment rate was at its lowest in 2002 while the total number of jobs available was at its highest that year. Home values in the county peaked in 2005 and the GDP peaked in 2003.

While recovery has started in Wayne County, median home values and the total number of jobs available didn’t start to increase until 2010 or after, which is later than the 2009 recovery year many of the other counties in the experienced.

In Wayne County the top five specialized industries by employment:

  •   Healthcare and social assistance
  •   Other services
  •   Transportation
  •   Management and enterprises
  •   Federal government

Where Did the Vote Break in Southeastern Michigan?

Republican areas saw marginally increased turnout between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections increased. The focus of that increase was southern Macomb County and the Downriver area in Wayne County. Conversely, the traditionally Democratic areas in Wayne County experienced some of the largest voter turnout decreases. Detroit saw especially large decreases.

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In Macomb County, eight of the communities experienced a voter turnout decrease between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections. It was Chesterfield Township that experienced the largest decrease in the county at 5.35 percent while Ray Township experienced the largest increase at 2.46 percent. Although Warren and Sterling Heights have been noted for having several precincts flip from Democratic to Republican between the two Presidential elections, both cities had areas that remained Democratic in 2016. Sterling Heights experienced a 2.7 percent voter turnout decrease in 2016 and Warren experienced a 1.5 percent decrease. St. Clair Shores is another city in southern Macomb County that flipped from Democratic to Republican and here voter turnout increased by 1.6 percent.

While the changes are complicated, it appears that areas in the county to the south that shifted to the GOP are also areas where turnout declined. Likely Democrats would have benefitted by a better Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign.

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In Oakland County we have highlighted how higher income communities like Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham flipped from being Republican in the 2012 presidential election to Democratic in the 2016 election. These communities though experienced a voter turnout decrease between the two elections, as did majority of the Oakland County communities that went Democratic in 2016. With the exceptions of Ferndale, Madison Heights and Clawson, all of the Democratic communities experienced a voter turnout decrease in 2016. Ferndale had the largest voter turnout increase in the county at 11.6 percent while Berkley had the largest decrease at 23.7 percent.

Republican communities in Oakland County weren’t exempt from experiencing a voter turnout decrease in 2016, however the decreases weren’t as widespread or large.

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Wayne County communities experienced some of the largest decreases in voter turnout in 2016, with Inkster experiencing a 26 percent decrease, River Rouge experiencing a 23 percent decrease and Redford and Detroit experiencing 11 percent decreases, each. Again, these communities all went Democratic in the 2016 election; they also went Democratic in the 2012 election.

Throughout much of Downriver though, an area that flipped from Democratic to Republican, an increase in voter turnout occurred. In that area, Rockwood had the largest increase at 7 percent. The city of Flat Rock did flip from Democratic to Republican between the two elections, but experienced a 16.36 percent voter turnout decrease.

Hamtramck and Highland Park experienced the largest voter turnout increases in Wayne County; Hamtramck had a 12 percent increase and Highland Park had an 11 percent increase. Both cities went Democratic in the 2012 and 2016 elections.

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In Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Township had the highest voter turnout increase at 3.37 percent; this community went Democratic in both elections. The only Washtenaw County community that went Democratic in the 2016 election and experienced a voter turnout increase was Sylvan Township; it had a 0.37 percent increase. There were several Republican communities in Washtenaw County too though that experienced voter turnout increases. For example, Northfield Township experienced a 19.6 percent voter turnout decrease.

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Overall, the data shows that there were very few communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced large voter turnout increases (above 10 percent). The marginal increases though occurred in areas that went Republican in the 2016 Presidential election, particularly in northern Macomb County, St. Clair County and the Downriver area in Wayne County.

Majority of Metro-Detroit’s Communities that Flipped Republican have Middle Class Incomes

In our last post regarding the 2016 Presidential election we highlighted what areas in Southeastern Michigan flipped from Democratic to Republican, or Republican to Democratic. The most notable switch occurred in Macomb County where, much of the southern portion of the County went from voting Democratic in 2012 to Republican in 2016. This switch was also noticeably evident in the Downriver area of Wayne County.

In the 2016, 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. However, a large share of the region went to now President Donald Trump, including all of Livingston and St. Clair counties and majority of Macomb and nearly all of Monroe counties.

To shine additional light on the 2016 Presidential election, we will now be looking at the socioeconomic characteristics of the region, alongside which Presidential candidate won where. For this post, we will be discussing median income, particularly of the areas that flipped between the 2012 and 2016 elections.

When examining the region overall, the map below shows that majority of the areas in Southeastern Michigan that flipped from Democratic to Republican have a mid-range ($45,000-$70,000) median income. As we get further into the details of the region, we see this to be a defining factor for this group of precincts. Of the areas that have remained Republican, median incomes range from between $45,000 and to over $100,000. Of the areas that remained Democratic the median incomes range from about $17,000 to $100,000.

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A deeper look at Macomb County shows that majority of the areas that switched from voting Democratic in 2012 to Republican in 2016 have a median income between $45,000 and $70,000. This is true for St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights and parts of Chesterfield, Lenox, Harrison and Clinton townships, all of which had at least one precinct flip. In the northern part of Macomb County, which voted Republican in 2012 and 2016, the median income is above $70,000.

While portions of Warren also flipped from Democratic to Republican, it is categorized as having a median income below $45,000. But, as noted earlier, the city’s median income is $44,000.

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In Oakland County, there were some high income areas-Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham-that flipped to Democratic. However, we see that majority of the County went Republican in 2012 and 2016, and majority of these communities have median incomes above $70,000. The communities in the southeastern portion of Oakland County (Ferndale, Royal Oak, Oak Park) have remained Democratic communities for both elections and their median incomes top out at $70,000. Pleasant Ridge and Huntington Woods are two higher income (above $70,000) communities in that portion of the County that have traditionally gone Democratic.

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As noted earlier, it was the Downriver portion of Wayne County that flipped from Democratic to Republican for the 2016 election. In this portion of the County (Trenton, Woodhaven, Riverview, Flatrock, Gibraltar, Rockwood, etc.) 10 of the communities have a median income between $45,000 and $70,000. Parts of Taylor (median income below $45,000) and Brownstown (median income between $70,000 and $100,000) also switched.

Throughout Wayne County, median incomes vary greatly, with communities located on the County’s north eastside (Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park and Ecorse, etc.) having a median incomes below $45,000 and communities on the northwest side (Northville, Canton, Livonia) having median incomes above $70,000. Communities with median incomes between the two extremes are also scattered throughout the county. In Wayne County, of the 14 communities with median incomes above $70,000, 10 had a large Republican turnout. Of that 10, four showed precincts that flipped from Democratic to Republican, while the rest remained Republican between 2012 and 2016.

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In Washtenaw County, there are no communities that have a median income less than $45,000. Of the four that had precincts flip from Democratic to Republican between the two elections, the median incomes range between $67,000 (Northfield) and $94,000 (Dexter).

Of the communities that with precincts that flipped from Republican to Democratic, five had median incomes above $70,000 and one had a median income at $69,000.

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By examining the election data alongside median income data, we are able to determine there were 32 communities with median incomes between $45,000 and $70,000 with at least one precinct that flipped from Democratic to Republican between the 2012 and 2016 elections. When the opposite occurred-an area flipped from Republican to Democratic-the median income of that area was above $70,000.

Next week we will look at the election outcomes while also looking at the racial makeup of Southeastern Michigan’s communities.

Where Did the RTA Fail in Southeastern Michigan?

In November 2016 the concept of regional transportation in Southeastern Michigan lost again. On the Nov. 8 ballot was a question asking residents of Macomb, Oakland Wayne (including Detroit) and Washtenaw counties if they would fund a 1.2 mill tax (about $120 a year for a homes with a taxable value of $100,000) for 20 years.

If passed, the millage would have created main transportation routes along Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan avenues (some of which would have eventually used Bus Rapid Transit), along with connector lines going east to west throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. However, only Wayne and Washtenaw counties supported the millage overall. In Oakland County the millage fell short of approval by 1,109 votes (50.1 percent of voters voted against it) and in Macomb County the measure failed with 60 percent of voters voting against it.

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Currently in Southeastern Michigan, public transportation is fragmented, at best. Parts of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are serviced by the Suburban Mobility Authority of Regional Transit (SMART), a transportation system that was created in 1967. However, in Oakland and Wayne counties communities can opt-out of the system, meaning they do not need to support its funding or have routes accessible in their community. Macomb County, through legislation passed by the County Board of Commissioners, is an entirely opt-in community. This means either the majority of the county supports SMART funding when it goes up for renewal and/or increases or it doesn’t; the county as a whole has historically supported SMART.

RTA Vote - Municipality Level - SMART Communities_Borders&Labels_JPEG

Despite Macomb County being completely opt-in for SMART, only one municipality supported the RTA millage in November; it was Mount Clemens-the county seat. According to the Macomb County Clerk’s Department 55 percent of voters in Mount Clemens supported the millage and 45 percent voted against it.

In Oakland County, 23 of the 51 municipalities in the region supported the RTA millage, with the inner-ring suburbs like Ferndale (72% yes), Pleasant Ridge (74% yes) and Huntington Woods (76% percent yes) showing the highest support. Unlike Macomb County, Oakland County is not an entirely “opt-in” community for SMART, meaning individual municipalities decide whether they want to fund/participate in the region’s current form of public transportation. Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge and Huntington Woods all opt-into SMART, as do some of the Oakland County communities that were just above 50 percent of voters supporting the RTA millage; these communities include Bloomfield Township and Birmingham. Troy and Bloomfield Hills are two communities in Oakland County though that participate in SMART but did not approve the RTA millage.

In Wayne County, where there are SMART routes and where the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) operates, communities like Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Dearborn and Redford Township (which all participate in SMART) voted to approve the RTA millage. However, communities on the western side of the county and a majority of the downriver communities (despite some participating in SMART-like Trenton) did not approve of the transportation millage. Overall, 53 percent of Wayne County voters voted to approve the RTA millage.

Washtenaw County does not participate in SMART (the transit system is limited to Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties) but it does have the Ann Arbor Transit Authority (AATA). Of those who voted on this measure, 53 percent supported the millage in the county. Overall, eight of the 27 communities in the county supported the millage. However, those with the highest populations (Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti) showed high support for the regional transportation tax.

Despite not having a long-term funding mechanism, the RTA currently operates RefleX, which is a supplemental ride system along Woodward and Gratiot avenues; these services did not eliminate any SMART or DDOT stops/lines. However, the RTA is only funded by the State through Sept. 30, 2017. After that though, its future is uncertain. With the regional transportation millage failing, the RTA is left without a solid funding source and cannot go to the voters with another tax proposal until 2018. According to Public Act 387 of 2012 (which created the RTA), 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.

Members of the RTA Board of Directors or Executive Staff have not publicly stated their future plans or ideas for funding mechanisms. While funding mechanisms would need to be identified, negotiating interlocal agreements between communities that want transit might be an incremental means of supplementing the fragmented systems currently in place. For example, there are no direct public transportation routes between Ann Arbor and Detroit[1] even though Ann Arbor, Detroit and DTW are the most desired routes, according to surveys. Both Wayne and Washtenaw Counties voted for the RTA, so it seems feasible that enterprising public officials in those two counties could negotiate an agreement to move forward on creating services, knowing both that their residents voted for services and that they want those routes.

[1] It might be possible for an ambitious soul to take a bus from Ann Arbor to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and then shift to a SMART bus and transfer to a DDOT bus into Detroit.
[1] It might be possible for an ambitious soul to take a bus from Ann Arbor to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and then shift to a SMART bus and transfer to a DDOT bus into Detroit.

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.

november-8th-2016-presidential-election-reusts-by-precinct-in-southeast-michigan_01032017_jpeg

2012-election

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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