Southeastern Michigan Poverty Levels Drop Slightly

Throughout Southeastern Michigan, majority of the communities in the region experienced a decrease in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level between 2015 to 2016, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2016, a family of four was considered to be living at the poverty level with an annual income of $24,250, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; this was the same for 2015.

Southeastern Michigan was -0.2 percent. However, Summerfield Township in Monroe County experienced a 7 percent increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level between 2015 and 2016. In 2015, 9 percent of residents in Summerfield Township lived below the poverty level and in 2016, 16 percent of residents lived below the poverty level. Of the 28 municipalities (out of 213 in Southeastern Michigan) where there was a 1 percent or higher increase in the poverty level between 2015 and 2016, the majority were located in the rural suburbs of the region.

 

The municipality with the largest percentage decrease in residents living in poverty was Port Huron Township in St. Clair County at -5 percent. In 2015, 23 percent of the residents in Port Huron Township lived below the poverty level and by 2016 that decreased to 18 percent.

While there was an overall average decrease in the percentage of residents living in poverty between 2015 to 2016, the two cities with the highest overall percentage of residents living below the poverty level experienced an increase. In 2016, about 50 percent of the residents in Hamtramck lived below the poverty level; this was a 2.4 percent increase from 2015. In 2016, Highland Park had about 47 percent of its residents living below the poverty level, which was an increase of 2.5 percent.

 

Detroit

In 2016, about 39 percent of residents in Detroit lived below the poverty level, which was a decrease of 1 percent from 2015. A closer look at the Census tracts in Detroit though show that poverty levels did not decrease across the board. One Census tract specifically, which is located along the Detroit River in Southwest Detroit, experienced a 49 percent increase in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level. In addition to that Census tract, several others surrounding it also experienced poverty level increases up to 19 percent.

When looking at the Census tracts east of Hamtramck, with the exception of seven, all experienced a decrease in the percentage of residents living below the poverty level. It was this area of the City of Detroit that had the fewest number of Census tracts with percentage increases in the poverty level but also had among the highest poverty levels in 2016. It was just west of Highland Park though that had the most number of Census tracts with poverty levels below 35 percent in 2016.

Overall, the most recent poverty data released by the U.S. Census Bureau does show that poverty levels are decreasing, but not a rapid rate. The data also shows that there were 19 municipalities in the region with 20 percent or more of residents living below the poverty level. While this was a decrease from the 23 municipalities with the same statistic in 2015, the numbers still tell a story that Southeastern Michigan isn’t climbing out of poverty rapidly. We will need many years of broad based economic growth to reduce poverty levels substantially.

Detroit Childhood Poverty Increases 23 Percent Since 2000

Childhood poverty in Detroit has increased about 23 percent since 2000 and about 10 percent since 2010, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2015 it was reported that the percentage of children under the age of 18 living in poverty in Detroit was 57.1 percent. This is compared to 46.9 in 2010 and 33.9 in 2000.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the poverty threshold for an individual in 2015 was an annual earning of $11,770 and for a family of four it was $24,250.  In 2010 the poverty threshold for an individual was $10,830 and for a family of four it was $22,050. In 2000 the poverty threshold for an individual was $8,350 for a family of four was $17,050.

2015

In 2015, there were 29 Census tracts where between 76 and 98 percent of children were living in poverty. Of these Census tracts, 14 were located east of Hamtramck, with four located along Gratiot Avenue (the southern portion). On the western side of the City of Detroit, there were five Census tracts with between 76 and 98 percent of children were living in poverty along Grand River Avenue. Also, there were seven Census tracts with between 76 and 98 percent of children living in poverty west of Livernois Avenue.

2010

In 2010 the percentage of children living in poverty in Detroit was 47 percent. The majority of the Census tracts west of Livernois Avenue had less than 56 percent of children living in poverty. There were 29 Census tracts where more than 72 percent of children were living in poverty and 25 of those were located east of Livernois Avenue.

2000

In 2000, 34 percent of children were living in poverty; this was the lowest percentage among the three years being compared in this post. A look at the map shows that majority of the Census tracts on the west side of the City had less than 31 percent of children living in poverty. Just west of Livernois Avenue is where majority of the Census tracts with more than 42 percent of children living in poverty were located. In total, there were 19 Census tracts where 53 percent or more of children lived in poverty in 2000.

Child Poverty Percent Change 2000-15

Between 2000 and 2015 there was a 23 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty in Detroit. A large part of that increase came from 36 Census tracts where there were percentage increases between 43 and 79 percent of children living in poverty. A handful of these Census tracts were located along Grand River Avenue. One of those Census tracts was the same as one of the 2015 Census tracts with the highest percentage of children living in poverty. In addition to large percentage increases in areas along the Grand River and Gratiot corridors, there were also two clusters of Census tracts in Detroit where there were increases between 43 and 79 percent of children living in poverty. One cluster was in the eastern portion of the City in the Denby neighborhood area, and the other was in the eastern portion of the City in the Brightmoor/Cody area. While majority of the Census tracts in the City experienced percentage increases in the percent of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2015, there were a number of Census tracts that experienced percentage decreases. While there weren’t large clusters experiencing such decreases, many of these Census tracts were located in the central area of Detroit.

Child Poverty Percent Change 2010-15

Between 2010 and 2015 there was a 10 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty. The map shows there were fewer Census tracts that experienced the highest tier of percentage increases for children living in poverty for the 2010-15 time frame than the 2000-15 time frame. In total, there

were 26 Census tracts where there was between a 40 and 85 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty in Detroit. Of these Census tracts, four were located along Grand River Avenue and another three were located along Gratiot Avenue.. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there were about 30 Census tracts with decreases between 21 and 69 percent in the percentage of children living in poverty. There were about 10 more Census tracts in the 2010-15 time frame than the 2000-15 time that experienced the highest tier in percentage decreases in the percentage of children living in poverty.

This deep dive into the percentage of children living in poverty in Detroit in 2015, and how those percentages have changed since 2000 and 2010, shows that poverty in the City is increasing across most neighborhoods, though the pace and breadth of increases has slowed since 2010. Our previous posts show that regionally childhood poverty is increasing at a faster rate than overall poverty levels, and Detroit is no exception to this. In our last post we suggested the need for job development and training in Detroit neighborhoods to allow individuals-particularly young adults-to have greater opportunities to participate in the labor force. Such opportunities for Detroit residents would also be an avenue to decrease the rate of childhood poverty.

Poverty, Unemployment Rates Higher for Young Adults in Detroit than City’s Overall Rates

In the City of Detroit the percentage of young adults (categorized as 16 to 34-year-olds in this post) living at or below the poverty level in 2015 was 42 percent, with the labor force participation rate for that same age group being 64 percent and the unemployment rate being 35 percent. Two out of three of these rates were above those for the City of Detroit overall. In 2015 the percent of all Detroit residents (including children) living below the poverty level was 40 percent, the labor force participation rate was 63 percent and the unemployment rate was 13.2 percent.

While the trend for these above mentioned rates for the young adult population was to be above the overall rates for the City, a deeper look at the rates showed they varied across Census Tracts in the City. For example, Census Tracts with the highest percentage of young adults living in poverty were along Grand River on the West Side and along Gratiot on the east side of the City. On the east side of the City, majority of the Census Tracts had between 50 and 90 percent of young adults living at or below the poverty level. Fortunately some of these same Census Tracts had among the lowest populations of young adults living there, with several having between 46 and 452 young adult residents residing in each Census Tract.

In the northeastern portion of the City, there were about a dozen Census Tracts with among the highest number of young adults living there, with numbers ranging between 667 and 1,742. These Census Tracts also had some of the highest labor force participation rates, as did a pocket in the western portion of the City of Detroit, along with several other pockets throughout the City. The tracts with the low labor force participation rates (29-48 percent) were frequently the same ones that had the highest percentage of young adults living at or below the poverty level; these Census Tracts are just east of Hamtramck. An individual is considered part of the labor force if they have a job or are actively seeking one. The labor force participation rate is the percentage of adults who are members of the labor force.

Two of these Census Tracts just east of Hamtramck also had among the highest unemployment rates for young adults, ranging between 59 and 89 percent. Overall in the City there were only 20 Census Tracts where between 59 and 89 percent of young adults were unemployed. Again, some of the tracts arrayed along Grand River on the west and Gratiot on the east had very high unemployment rates.

There are some tracts where high poverty, labor participation and unemployment rates overlap, but this is not the case for a majority of the Census tracts. At the same time the data tend to indicate a larger percentage of young adults are unemployed and, thus, living in poverty than the overall Detroit population. Clearly, getting more young adults employed must be a very high priority, and given that the national rate of unemployment is approaching 4 percent, there should be opportunities to connect these young adults to the labor market. Clearly it should be a priority to target job development and training programs to areas near Central High School along Grand River, as well as along Gratiot and in the Osborn and Demby areas.

Strong Correlations Exist For High Education Levels and High Incomes Throughout Most of Southeastern Michigan

In our last post we showed there is an area of overlapping high median incomes and high educational attainment running through Washtenaw County, western Wayne County, southern Oakland County and western Macomb County with nearly the opposite—lower median income and lower educational attainment–south of that in the region. In this post, we discuss explicitly the correlation between the levels of education examined in the last post (less than high school education, high school education, associate’s degree or some college education, bachelor’s degree, and graduate/professional degrees) and median incomes. The correlations are calculated for medians and percentages of municipalities across the region.

A correlation is statistical technique that can be used to describe the relationship between two variables. The correlation coefficient, often expressed as ‘r,’ is a numerical value that is always between +1 and -1. When r is closer to +1, it implies a positive correlation; as one variable increases, the other does as well. When r is closer to -1, it implies an inverse correlation; as one variable increases the other decreases. When the value of r is closer to 0 the implication is that there is no relationship between the two sets of data.

Educational Attainment Correlation Value
Achieved less than a high school diploma -0.74
Achieved only a high school diploma -0.71
Achieved some college or an associate’s degree -0.57
Achieved only a bachelor’s degree 0.75
Achieved a graduate or professional degree 0.77

 

Looking first across the region incomes tend to be lower for those municipalities with a higher percentage of people who do not have a high school degree, with a correlation of -0.74. This tends to indicate that less education leads to lower incomes. At the same time, it could mean that people with lower incomes have less of chance of completing their education. For those with a high school diploma the effect was slightly smaller, with a correlation of -0.71, and similarly for those with some college or an associate’s degree the correlation was -0.57.

For those at the upper end of education distribution the opposite holds true—there is a positive correlation between higher educational levels and higher incomes. Across Southeast Michigan for the municipalities with a higher percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree, incomes tend to be higher, with a correlation of 0.75. The relationship between income and educational attainment is even stronger for those who have attained graduate or professional degree, with a correlation of 0.77.

Next we examined these relationships at the county level—for all municipalities in a county. Of the seven counties in the region, Wayne County had the strongest correlations of (0.91) in relation to those with bachelor’s degrees and the median income. For those with graduate or professional degrees in Wayne County the correlation was 0.90 percent.  Monroe County had the weakest correlation value between those with bachelor’s degrees and the median income, with a correlation value of 0.22; it also had the weakest correlation between income and those with graduate or /professional degrees, with a correlation value of at -0.13 percent. Such values for Monroe County indicate that the relationship between higher levels of education attainment and higher median incomes are weakened or reversed in that largely rural setting. For several of the other counties, the correlation between these variables was much greater. In addition to Monroe County having a weak relationship between median income and those with a bachelor’s degree, there was also a weak relationship between those same two variables for St. Clair and, surprisingly, Washtenaw counties. For Washtenaw, it may occur because there are many students with higher education who are still pursuing degrees and have relatively lower incomes.

At the other end of the education spectrum, there exist a strong tendency for lower incomes to be associated with lower levels of education. Each county has either a moderate to strong correlation between incomes and lower levels of education. Monroe County again had the lowest correlations between median income and educational attainment for attainment, this time for less than a high school education and up to a high school education.

Overall, these analyses show a range of correlations across counties between higher median incomes and higher levels of educational attainment, some high and positive, others weak. Monroe County stands out as the only county one where there was a weak correlation between median income and all levels of educational attainment. It could be speculated this is because it is a more rural county and much of the work there relates to agriculture, work that is often learned at home within families.  In southeastern Michigan as a whole, there are relatively strong positive and inverse correlations between incomes and education attainment. There is a positive correlation between those who have achieved a graduate or professional degree and incomes–people with higher education tend to have higher incomes.  There is an inverse relationship between those who have not achieved a high school diploma and incomes–those with less education tend to have lower incomes.

Median Income, Educational Attainment Highlight Segregated Classes in Southeastern Michigan

Using Census data, this post examines the visual correspondence between income and educational attainment across the region. It clearly portrays the continuing association between these two critical variables with one region of high income and high educational achievement arching across the region from Washtenaw County, through Western Wayne County and up through Oakland County and western Macomb County. South of this is a region of lower income and educational attainment with a few islands of higher income and achievement. In all, this represents a strong and largely consolidated portrait of segregated classes in this region.

In Southeastern Michigan the City of Highland Park had the lowest median income at $17,250, with 33 percent of the adult population only having a high school diploma. In terms of educational attainment in Highland Park, those who had some college education or an associate’s degree represented the highest percentage of residents, as opposed to the other categories (less than high school, high school education, bachelor’s degree, graduate or professional degree). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the City of Bloomfield Hills had the highest median income at about $173,000, with the largest percent of its adult population having a graduate or professional degree (38%). Such trends are not unique to Highland Park or Bloomfield Hills.

Above the maps show what the median income of each community is with an overlay that shows what the percentage of educational attainment is at five different levels. These levels are: graduate degree, bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or some college, high school diploma or an equivalency and less than a high school diploma. The overall purpose of each map is to present an image on how educational attainment and at each level may, or may not, relate to the median income.

When looking at the maps above we see that the communities that have more than 18 percent of its adult population with graduate or professional degrees tend have median incomes above $77,000. In total, there were only 10 communities, out of 46, where more than 18 percent of its adult population had graduate or professional degrees but the median income was below $77,000. Of those 10 communities, the City of Ypsilanti had the lowest median income at about $31,000 and 18 percent of its adult population had a graduate or professional degree. The community with the highest percentage of adult residents with a graduate or professional degree  is Ann Arbor, where both the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Hospital are located. The median income for Ann Arbor in 2015 was $103,000. There was no community in Southeastern Michigan where more than 30 percent of the adults had a graduate or professional degree and had a median income below $95,000.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are 154 communities in Southeastern Michigan where 10 percent or more of the adult population had less than a high school education in 2015. The City of Hamtramck had the highest percentage of adults without a high school education at about 31 percent; the City’s median income was about $23,000. There are nine communities in the region where 20 percent or more of the population had less than a high school education. Of those nine communities, with the exception of Lincoln Park, none had a median income above $33,000. The median income in Lincoln Park was $41,000 in 2015. The City of Detroit is included in that list of nine communities, with a median income of about $26,000 and about 22 percent of its adult population having less than a high school education. Additionally, in Detroit, about 32 percent of the adult population had a high school education, and about 32 percent had some college education or an associate’s degree.

The percentage of Detroit residents with a bachelor’s degree was far lower than any of the statistics mentioned above. In Detroit, about 8 percent of residents had a bachelor’s degree in 2015. In terms of the percentage of residents throughout Southeastern Michigan with a bachelor’s degree, the average percentage was 18 percent and the median income was about $66,000.

Regionally, the community with the highest percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree was the Village of Grosse Point at about 62 percent; the city had a median income of about $139,000. The City of River Rouge had the lowest percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree at about 4 percent; it had a median income of approximately $26,000. In total, there were 46 communities in Southeastern Michigan where less than 10 percent of the population had a bachelor’s degree. Exeter Township, located in Livingston County, had the highest median income of the 46 communities that had less than 10 percent of its adult residents with a bachelor’s degree. The median income in Exeter Township was about $68,000.

Overall, this post shows that there is a correlation between median incomes and educational attainment, a deeper conversation that we will dive into next week. The maps and the data show that it is the communities with the higher percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree and/or a graduate degree that have amongst the highest median incomes.

Higher Percentage of Children in Poverty in Southeastern Michigan than Adults

In Southeastern Michigan there is a greater percentage of children under the age of 18 living in poverty in several communities than there is adults living in the same circumstances. Not only is this the case in the region, but also, the percentage of children living in poverty has increased at a more rapid rate since 2000 than it has for those between the ages of 18-64 and for those above the age of 65. This is sad state of affairs.

All data presented here is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the poverty threshold for an individual in 2015 was an annual earning of $11,770 and for a family of four it was $24,250.  In 2010 the poverty threshold for an individual was $10,830 and for a family of four it was $22,050. In 2000 the poverty threshold for an individual was $8,350 for a family of four was $17,050.

In the year 2000 the following five municipalities had the highest percentage of children under the age of 18 living in poverty:

  • Highland Park: 45 percent
  • Hamtramck: 36.4 percent
  • Ecorse: 34.9 percent
  • Detroit: 33.9 percent
  • River Rouge: 30.9 percent

In 2010 the municipalities with the highest percentage of children population living in poverty shifted to the following:

  • Highland Park: 58.5 percent
  • Hamtramck: 58.5 percent
  • Ecorse: 51.9 percent
  • Detroit: 46.9 percent
  • Memphis: 46 percent

By 2015 the percentage of children living in poverty had increased still further throughout the region, as can particularly be seen by the top five communities with the highest percentage of children living in poverty. These communities were:

  • Highland Park: 63.8 percent
  • Hamtramck: 62. Percent
  • Detroit: 57.1 percent
  • Inkster: 56.7 percent
  • River Rouge: 54.4 percent

 

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2010

Between 2000 and 2010 the LaSalle Township experienced the highest percentage increase of children residing in poverty at 28.4 percent. LaSalle, being a more rural suburban community in Southeastern Michigan, was not the only community with such characteristics to find itself atop the list with the highest percentage increases. Of the 46 communities that experienced more than a 10 percent increases in the percentage of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2010, 11 were inner-ring suburbs.  Detroit experienced a 13 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2010; Highland Park experienced a 12.8 percent increase and Hamtramck experienced a 22 percent increase. Overall, there were only 39 communities that experienced either no increase in the percentage of children residing in poverty or a decline in the percentage.

When comparing the increase in the percentage of children living in poverty between 2000 and 2010 we see that for both adults between the ages of 18-64 and those over the age of 65, neither group experienced an increase above 17 percent. For children under the age of 18, there were 12 communities where the increase in the percentage of children living in poverty was above 17 percent.

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2010-2015

Between 2010 and 2015 there were 32 communities in Southeastern Michigan where there was more than a 10 percent increase in percentage of children living in poverty. Of these communities, the top five were nearly all more rural, suburban communities. These communities were:

  • Richmond (city): 35.2 percent
  • Belleville: 24 percent
  • St. Clair: 23.3 percent
  • Melvindale: 23.2 percent
  • Sumpter Township: 21.7 percent

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2015

Between 2000 and 2015 there were 64 communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced over a 10 percent increase in the percentage of children living in poverty since 2000 and 173 communities that experienced an increase above 0.01 percent. The top five communities with the largest increases were:

  • Richmond (city): 31.6 percent
  • Inkster: 28.6 percent
  • Royal Oak Township: 28 percent
  • Sumpter Township: 27.6 percent
  • Eastpointe: 26 percent

During this time span we do see that there is a greater number of inner-ring suburbs that experienced increases above 10 percent than there were during the 2000 to 2010 time frame. However, as the map shows above, the suburbs were not protected from the, in some cases drastic, increases in the percentage of children living in poverty.  And, just as the increases were drastic for several communities throughout Southeastern Michigan, they were also far greater than the percentage increases of adults between the ages of 18-64 and those above 65 living poverty during the same time period. For those between the ages of 18-64 the highest percentage increase of those living in poverty was River Rouge at 21 percent. For those above the age of 65 the City of Hamtramck experienced the largest increase at 13.5 percent.

Overall, the data presented in this post conveys two strong messages: Southeastern Michigan has a greater percentage of children living in poverty than adults and the elderly, and the percentage of children living in poverty has been increasing at a faster rate than the adults living in the region. Additionally, the data presented in this post again shows the theme that poverty levels aren’t only increasing in the region’s urban areas, but also in the suburbs and more rural areas.

Southeastern Michigan’s Poverty Levels Have Increased Since 2000

This post explores how the percentage of residents between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty has increased throughout Southeastern Michigan since 2000 and 2015. The bottom line here is that the substantial majority of communities saw increases, some of them substantial, in poverty over the years 2000 through 2015. Only 10 saw decreases.

All data is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2000 the poverty threshold for an individual was $8,350, and for a family of four it was $17,050. In 2010 the poverty threshold for an individual was $10,830, and for a family of four it was $22,050. The poverty threshold for an individual in 2015 was an annual earning of $11,770, and for a family of four it was $24,250.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of Highland Park had the highest percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty in the years 2000, 2010 and 2015. Between each of the years the percentage has continued to grow. In 2000, the Census reported that 35 percent of the adult population between the ages of 18-64 was living in poverty in Highland Park. In 2010 that number increased to 42 percent and by 2015, 46.1 percent of the adult population between the ages of 18-64 in Highland Park was living in poverty. Just as Highland Park remained at the top of the list for the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty, the top five Southeastern Michigan communities with the highest poverty levels didn’t shift much from year-to-year. The data are displayed below.

2000

  • Highland Park: 35%
  • Detroit : 23%
  • Hamtramck: 23%
  • Ypsilanti: 20%
  • River Rouge: 20%

2010:

  • Highland Park: 42%
  • River Rouge: 36%
  • Hamtramck: 35%
  • Detroit: 31%
  • Royal Oak Township: 28%

2015:

  • Highland Park: 46%
  • Hamtramck: 41%
  • River Rouge: 41%
  • Detroit: 38%
  • Ypsilanti: 34%

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2010

When viewing how poverty levels have increased over time, the data shows that between the years 2000 and 2010 the City of Memphis (on the border of St. Clair and Macomb Counties) had the highest percentage increase of individuals between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty at about 17 percent. River Rouge and Hamtramck followed in the number two and three spots with percentage increases at 16 and 12, respectively. Highland Park experienced an increase at 7 percent while Detroit experienced an 8 percent increase.

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2000-2015

Expanding the range of dates from 2000 through 2015, River Rouge, Hamtramck and Port Huron Township had the highest increases in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 in poverty between 2000 and 2015. For River Rouge that increase was 21 percent; Hamtramck had a 19 percent increase, and Port Huron Township had a 19 percent increase. In Detroit the percentage increase for individuals in poverty between the ages of 18-64 was 15 percent, and in Highland Park it was 11 percent.

In total, of the 213 communities in Southeastern Michigan for which long-term poverty data was available there were only 10 that experienced a decrease in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty between 2000 and 2015. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there were 27 communities where the percentage increase of individuals in poverty was at 10 percent or above; less than 10 of those communities were outside the direct Detroit suburbs.

Percent in Poverty Level Changes 2010-2015

Finally, we examine the change in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 in poverty between the years 2010 and 2015 the data shows that the highest increases occurred in the more rural areas of the region. For individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 the city of Richmond had the highest percentage increase of residents living in poverty at 13 percent. Ypsilanti and the City of Yale both had 12 percent increases. London Township and Port Huron Township were the only other two communities in Southeastern Michigan where the percentage increase of the individuals between the ages of 18-64 was above 10 percent. The City of Detroit experienced a 7 percent increase and Highland Park experienced a 3 percent increase in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 who lived in poverty between the years 2010 and 2015.

Between 2010 and 2015 there were 58 communities in Southeastern Michigan where the percentage of individuals living in poverty decreased. The City of Unadilla had the largest decrease at 9 percent. None of the communities that experienced a decrease in the percentage of individuals between the ages of 18-64 were an inner-ring suburb of Detroit. The communities with decreases in poverty levels around 5 percent and above were located on the more outer edges of the region.

While the data shows that poverty levels have continued to increase for majority of the communities across the region, there are signs that the growth of poverty levels are decreasing. Between 2010 and 2015 there was a smaller number of communities who experienced an increase in poverty levels than between 2000-2010 or 2000 to 2015. The data comparing 2010 and 2015 levels also shows the percentage of poverty levels decreasing above 6 percent in certain communities, a statistic that was not achieved in the 2000 to 2010 comparisons and the 2000 to 2015 comparisons. However, the data does indicate that long-term poverty level growth appears to have been primarily concentrated in Detroit and its inner-suburbs. The more recent poverty data though (2010-15) shows that higher poverty levels are also being seen in the more rural areas.

Next week we will view how poverty levels are affecting the elderly population.

Highland Park has Highest Poverty Rate in Southeastern Michigan

In 2015, the highest levels of poverty were concentrated within the City of Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Highland Park, which is surrounded by the City of Detroit, had the highest percentage of residents aged 18 or older living at our below the poverty level at 44.7 percent. In Hamtramck, 28 percent of the adult were living below the poverty level in 2015, and in the City of Detroit, 25.5 percent of the adult population was living below the poverty level.

In 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the poverty threshold for an individual was an annual earning of $11,770 and for a family of four it was $24,250.

When breaking down the adult population into two groups, those between the ages of 18-64 and those above the age of 65, Highland Park and Hamtramck, respectively, again had the highest poverty percentages. In Highland Park, 46.1 percent of the population between the ages of 18 and 64 lived at or below the poverty level, and 38.6 percent of the population above the age of 65 lived at or below the poverty threshold. In the City of Hamtramck, 41.7 percent of the population between the ages of 18-64 lived at or below the poverty level, and 30.7 percent of those above the age of 65 lived at or below the poverty level. In Detroit, 37.5 percent of the residents between the ages of 18-64 lived at or below the poverty level in 2015, and 20.4 percent of those above the age of 65 lived at or below the poverty level.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were 134 communities in Southeastern Michigan (of the 214 total municipalities) where less than 10 percent of those between the ages of 18-64 lived at or below the poverty level. Additionally, there were 175 communities in the region where less than 10 percent of those above the age of 65 lived at or below the poverty level.

The communities with the lowest percentages of their adult populations living at or below the poverty level were primarily concentrated in the western area of the region, with several being located in Washtenaw County.

While the highest poverty levels were concentrated around the City of Detroit, poverty levels across the region have increased. This data will be explored next week by comparing Census poverty level data for the years 2000, 2010 and 2015.

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.

 

 

Detroit among several communities where more than 50 percent of children live below the poverty line

The message from the maps below is clear: the percentage of children living below the poverty line in 2013 in the city of Detroit was far greater than the majority of the other communities in the seven county region. At 55.1 percent, Detroit’s poverty rate was double that of the national rate (19.9 percent) and double or more of the rates of each county within the region.

The Census Bureau, which produced this data for the American Community Survey, uses a set of money income thresholds, as set by the Office of Management and Budget, which vary by family size and composition to determine what the poverty line is. The poverty line does not vary by geographic location but is respondent to inflation. Generally speaking, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the annual poverty rate is “calculated using the sum of family income over the year divided by the sum of poverty thresholds that can change from month to month if one’s family composition changes.”

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the weighted poverty level in 2013 for a family of four was $23,834.

With Detroit having 55.1 percent of its children living below the poverty level in 2013, we also see that at the county level, Wayne County had the highest child poverty rate at 22.5 percent. While cities like Livonia, Canton, Plymouth and Woodhaven all had child poverty rates below 10 percent, there were some communities in Wayne County where levels were above Detroit’s. For example, Highland Park had the highest percentage of children living below the poverty line at 68 percent. Hamtramck’s percentage was also above Detroit’s at 62.1 percent, as was Inkster’s at 56.3 percent. The percentage of children living below the poverty level in River Rouge was just below Detroit at 50.1 percent.

Pontiac, which is in Oakland County, was the only other community within the region where more than 50 percent of its children were living below the poverty line. In 2013 in Pontiac, 54.3 percent of the children lived below the poverty line.

On the opposite end of the spectrum in Wayne County, there were communities such as Grosse Pointe (1%), Grosse Pointe Farms (1.8%), Grosse Ile (4.7 %), and Plymouth (5%) where 5 percent or less of the child population lived below the poverty line. In Oakland County, there were 11 communities where 5 percent or less of the children lived below the poverty line. These communities were: South Lyon (.2 percent), Royal Oak (5%), Rochester (5%), Orchard Lake (.7%), Novi (0%), Lake Angelus (0%), Huntington Woods (.3%), Bloomfield Hills (0%), Birmingham (3.1%), Berkley (4.8 percent), Sylvan Lake (0%).

Overall, Livingston County had the lowest percentage of children living below the poverty line at 7.4 percent. This was the only county where less than 10 percent of the children in a county lived below the poverty line. Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Monroe counties all had less than 20 percent of their child populations living below the poverty level.

Although Detroit did not have the highest percent of children living below the poverty line in the seven county region, its rate did soar above the national and county averages. As seen in the map above, the majority of the census tracts within the city had 50 percent or more of its children living below the poverty line. Pockets of this poverty appear to be concentrated more so in the east side of the city, in Southwest Detroit, and near the Warrendale neighborhood on the west side. There were only seven census tracts within the city where 10 percent or less of the children were living below this poverty line. These areas include the downtown area, Indian Village, Arden Park, East Village, Midtown and Rosedale Park.