Where a Student Lives Impacts their Education: Northville has Highest Median Family Income

Where a student lives often impacts what school they attend, and those that live in a higher income area often have access to more educational resources and opportunities. In all of Southeastern Michigan the Northville Public School District has the highest median income for families with children at $184,289. This public school district brings public education opportunities to residents in the City of Northville, Northville Township and a portion of those in Novi. In total, there are six elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school that houses about 7,000 students. The median income examined in this post is for families with school-aged children that live within the boundaries of a school district, which does not necessarily encompass the boundary lines of a city or township.

There are only four school districts in the region where the median income for families with children is above $150,000. In addition to Northville Public Schools, those districts are: Birmingham Public Schools ($175,132), Bloomfield Hills Schools ($159,441) and Grosse Ile Township Schools ($150,060).

The Highland Park School District had the lowest median income for families with children at $16,847. This school district is contained within the boundaries of the City Highland Park. Currently, the only school in the district is a K-8 charter school that serves about 370 students; a high school is expected to open in the near future. Prior to the recession, Highland Park School District had an enrollment of about 3,900 students in 2007-08; enrollment dropped to under 1,000 during the 2011-12 school year. The changes in enrollment reflected the loss of residents in Highland Park and the School of Choice law that allowed students in one district to attend school in another district. Due to declining enrollment and a loss of revenue, Highland Parks schools was placed under financial receivership and it was determined all schools in the district would be converted into two charter schools. As mentioned, one charter school is currently the only school in the district.

Throughout the region there were five school districts where the median income of a family with children was under $25,000, those districts, which include Highland Park schools are: River Rouge School District ($19,837), Ecorse Public Schools ($23,668) Hamtramck Public Schools ($24,441) and Detroit Public Schools ($24,945). Both Detroit and Highland Park public schools have had Emergency Managers appointed by the state.

Wayne County is the only county in the region with public school districts that has median family incomes under $25,000.

The income threshold in Michigan that is considered to be the poverty line is $33,000 for a family of four. The only other school district in Southeastern Michigan that has a median income for families with children that falls below the poverty line is Van Dyke Public Schools in Macomb County ($27,125).

Understanding the median income of families with children for the districts in Southeastern Michigan is important because it also helps cultivate a further understanding of educational inequalities that often exist between children in high income and low-income families. According to the article “Income Segregation between School Districts and Inequality in Students’ Achievements,” the standardized test score, educational attainment and college enrollment gaps have continued to grow between children in high-income families and children in low-income families (Owens, 2017). This of course affects the future of the children, including employment and housing options. Family income also affects a child because it helps determine the resources invested into the child, including where they live, which can have a direct affect on their cognitive test scores, according to the article. Additionally, other resources that affect the child’s wellbeing include food, clothing and investments like books, technology and extra curricular activities.

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