Oakland County ZIP Codes Dominate “Power” Ranking

7 01 2014

The latest release of Census data from the American Community Survey (ACS) gave me the idea to update the information used in a fascinating study on Super Zips.  The Washington Post had utilized data from the 2007-2011 ACS to classify all ZIP Codes across the country (only those with at least 500 adults), based on percentage of college graduates and median household income.  Those ZIP Codes that ranked in the Top 5 percent were called Super Zips.  My analysis found that Michigan had 11 ZIP Codes on that list – 9 of which were in Oakland County.

The Census Bureau released the 2008-2012 American Community Survey on December 17, 2013.  I decided that a national analysis was a little to much to take on at the moment, so I decided to look at just the ZIP Codes in Michigan.  Utilizing the previous study’s criterion of requiring at least 500 resident adults, I was left with a total of 789 ZIPs for the analysis.  The table below shows the Top 20 based on their combined ranks.

The domination of Oakland County (accounting for 17 of the 20) is once again apparent, but the expansion to 20 (from the 11 in the national study) adds two Grosse Pointe ZIPs and expands the presence of West Bloomfield and Troy.  Once again, the only non-Southeast Michigan ZIP in the list is Ada in Kent County – corporate home of Amway/Alticor.

ZIP Code Community Percent College Graduates Rank 2012 Median Household income Rank Overall Rank
48070 Huntington Woods 76.7% 2 $112,593 7 1
48301 Bloomfield Hills 74.5% 6 $116,930 3 1
48025 Franklin 68.7% 10 $111,853 8 3
48374 Novi 65.2% 17 $144,250 1 3
48009 Birmingham 74.9% 4 $100,789 15 5
48098 Troy 66.7% 14 $114,792 6 6
48304 Bloomfield Hills 69.0% 9 $101,417 13 7
48302 Bloomfield Hills 67.0% 13 $106,617 10 8
48306 Rochester 61.2% 20 $116,220 4 9
48168 Northville 59.2% 23 $125,189 2 10
49301 Ada 60.2% 21 $115,274 5 11
48230 Grosse Pointe 65.5% 15 $102,234 12 12
48069 Pleasant Ridge 65.5% 15 $100,714 16 13
48323 West Bloomfield/Orchard Lake 57.8% 24 $105,359 11 14
48331 Farmington/Farmington Hills 63.8% 19 $96,010 18 15
48236 Grosse Pointe 59.4% 22 $91,297 23 16
48324 West Bloomfield/Orchard Lake 57.0% 26 $95,347 19 16
48084 Troy 68.0% 11 $81,581 35 17
48085 Troy 56.4% 28 $93,955 20 18
48322 West Bloomfield 55.1% 30 $86,284 28 20

The highest ranked ZIP Code in the City of Detroit was 48221 which came in at 440th.  Unfortunately, Detroit is highly represented in the ten lowest ranked ZIP Codes in the State, accounting for six exclusively in the city and one shared with Hamtramck.  The three remaining Zips were in Pontiac, Flint and surrounding the town of Prescott in Ogemaw County in the northern Lower Peninsula.  A full ranking list may be requested.

ZIP Code Community Percent College Graduates 2012 Median Household income Overall Rank
48234 Detroit 7.0% $26,862 780
48342 Pontiac 8.1% $21,376 781
48215 Detroit 7.9% $20,707 782
48204 Detroit 7.3% $23,140 783
48211 Detroit/Hamtramck 7.5% $19,385 784
48213 Detroit 6.1% $24,103 785
48209 Detroit 3.3% $26,379 786
48756 Prescott 4.6% $25,678 787
48210 Detroit 4.0% $24,571 788
48505 Flint 5.7% $21,965 789

To read the original study in the Washington Post, please click on the following link.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/local/2013/11/09/washington-a-world-apart/)

Michigan’s Population Surpasses Its 2010 Total

1 01 2014

Census Bureau State July 1, 2013 population estimates, released December 30, 2013, reveal that Michigan’s population increased for the second straight year.  The 2013 population total of 9,895,622 represents an increase of 13,103 persons (0.13 percent) over the 2012 estimate, and 11,982 (0.12 percent) over the 2010 total of 9,883,640.  This represents the first time that Michigan has seen its population rise above its 2010 total.

While the Census Bureau only released population totals, with the components of change not expected for release until January 23, 2014, we can predict the primary reason for this growth. If we compare the 2008-2009 year of population loss with the 2011-2012 year of population growth, we discover the following.  Natural increase (births over deaths) had nothing to do with the turnaround.  In fact, it’s contribution actually decreased by over 16,000, as births dropped and deaths increased.  We can anticipate that the 2012-13 figures are very similar to those of 2011-12, with no appreciable change in either.  That moves us to migration.  The chart shows a slight increase in immigration (international migration) between the 2 time periods – certainly much less than the drop in births alone.  We would anticipate little, if any, change in immigration over the past year, as national rates have been very stable.  This takes us to the one factor that is the major influence on state totals – domestic migration.  The patterns of residents leaving Michigan for other parts of the country versus those moving into Michigan has always been the component of greatest importance to our population fortunes.  The chart demonstrates this by showing a 55,000 person drop in the net outflow between our comparison periods.  While Michigan has a history of being a net out-migrant state, our total loss is closely tied to our economic fortunes.  The economic turnaround that we have experienced post 2010-11 is reflected in the decrease in outflow.  The expectation for the January 23 release is that we will see this figure drop further to somewhere between -23,000 and -25,000, attributable to fewer residents finding it necessary to move, coupled with the hope of increased numbers finding Michigan to be an attractive destination.

                                     2008-09              2011-12

Net Migration                          -71,893                       -15,982

International                             15,466                        17,000

Domestic                        -87,339              -32,982

One result that Michigan has not been able to tout for a long, long time is the fact that its numerical growth exceeded that of 17 other states!  Two states were estimated to have lost population – Maine and West Virginia.  Michigan had the “distinction “of losing population every year between 2005 and 2011.  Its only partner through much of that period was Rhode Island.  The story was not quite as positive when the comparison is made with percentage increase, as Michigan only exceeds eight other states.

The usual suspects led in numerical gains – Texas and California each added a third of Michigan’s total population in one year, with gains of 387,397 and 332,643, respectively.  They were followed by Florida (232,111), North Carolina (99,696) and Colorado (78,909).  The top percentage gainers were North Dakota (3.1%), thanks to oil, District of Columbia (2.1%), thanks to gentrification, Utah (1.6%), Colorado (1.5%) and Texas (1.5%).

The electoral power of the West and South regions of the country continued to increase relative to the Northeast and Midwest.  The West added 727,947 residents, while the South picked up 1,129,461.  The Northeast added a mere 171,281 residents and the Midwest picked up 226,465.  The current distribution of the U.S. population is as follows:  West (23.5%), South (37.4%), Northeast (17.7%) and Midwest (21.4%).

In migration, New Jersey giveth to Michigan, and Florida taketh away

3 12 2013

While the Internal Revenue Service works to fix the problems with their 2010-2011 State-to-State migration data files, the Census Bureau has released information gathered in the 2012 American Community Survey on migration to and from Michigan between 2011 and 2012.  One must acknowledge that the data come from a rather small sample, unlike the IRS tax filer information, and are subject to error.  The IRS data are also flawed in that they don’t account for nonfilers who may, in fact, have different migration patterns than nonfilers.  However, let us put aside all the caveats and look at the migration totals across the 50 states.

The major story is that net domestic outmigration[1] was shown to have fallen for the second year in a row.  A net loss of 62,058 residents occurred between 2009 and 2010, followed by a loss of 47,347 between 2010 and 2011.  The new data estimate a net loss of 41,752 residents between 2011 and 2012. When we unpack the data we find that Michigan gained residents from 18 states and lost them to 32.  Let’s look at the top 10 in each category.

Table 1.  Top Ten Population Contributors to Michigan, 2011 – 2012


Population contributions came from a variety of states, with no apparent regional pattern, except for the Northeast which accounted for four of the top 10 with New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Maine.  Surprising contributors were New Mexico and Oregon – two states that have been attractive to both retirees and young professionals.  In addition, Wisconsin’s contribution represented a reversal from previous years.


Table 2.  Top Ten Population Recipients From Michigan, 2011 – 2012


While Ohio’s ranking of number 3 may be surprising to some, the historical pattern of Michigan residents heading south is quite clear.  The net loss to Florida alone represented almost twice the total gain Michigan received from all 18 contributing states.  While only one state contributed more than 1,000 residents, eleven states (add Minnesota to the list above) took more than 1,000 residents away.  Ohio’s gain represents an increase over previous years and, not being a retiree attractor, would indicate an apparent employment strength that is drawing Michigan residents.

While the traditional South accounted for six of the top 10 recipients, Arizona (southwest) continued to be a major attractor of retirees.  While Oregon contributed, its neighbor, Washington State, attracted a net 1,324 Michiganders.  Illinois, primarily due to the draw of Chicago, continued to attract a significant number of younger residents.

While Michigan will always have a difficult time holding on to its retirees who are looking for warmth, efforts tied to improving the perception of employment opportunities, coupled with attraction efforts through university alumni organizations and other groups, are necessary to continue the decrease in net outmigration.  In addition, Michigan needs to better understand how its policies in the areas of gay rights and education influence residency preferences.  It is clear that taxes alone are not the answer to growth.  People make residency decisions based on a number of factors.  It is time that state government takes a good hard look at these issues, listens to its residents and determines the direction we wish to take as a state.

[1] Net domestic migration represents the number of Michigan residents heading to another state from one year to the next vs. residents of other states moving to Michigan.  Historically, the pattern has always resulted in a net loss.  The health of Michigan’s economy is measured by the size of that loss.

Diversity is the Future for Michigan

11 03 2012

The Census Bureau released its newest compilation of 2010 Census data for Michigan on March 8.  This file allows us to understand the demographics of the growing racial and ethnic groups across our State and in our neighborhoods.  While Data Driven Detroit will begin to produce a series of Detailed Race/Ethnic profiles, I decided to take a quick look at how these new numbers better help us understand how these groups differ in their age distributions.

When we look at the share that persons of color (anyone who is not white, nonHispanic) represent by age, we see a gradual increase as age decreases.  While accounting for only 14 percent of the population 65 years and over,  the figure below shows a 34 percent share in the youngest cohort, less than 5 years of age.  Overall, persons of color represent 23.4 percent of Michigan’s population.

In order to better understand the age distributions within specific race and ethnic groups, I first ranked all the groups by the percentage of their populations that were below 18 years of age (children).  Rapidly growing countries have populations that are young, with heavy concentrations of population in their child-bearing years and large numbers of children.  Among the groups where children accounted for at least a third of their populations were Guatemalans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Hmong, Bolivians, Bangladeshi, and Pakistanis.  African Americans came in at 27.9 percent and white, nonHispanics trailed all but Japanese, Taiwanese, Indonesians and Thai with 21.3 percent.

The best way to understand the gender and age structure of a country or particular race/ethnic group is to look at its population pyramid.  The pyramid represents population share for each 5 year age cohort for both genders.  Below you have two very different pyramids.  The first is for Michigan’s white, nonHispanics, while the second is for Michigan’s Mexicans.

The shape of the first is far from that of a pyramid.  Rather, it is beginning to approach the shape of a rectangle.  The bulge in the middle represents the large baby boom generation.  The bulge somewhat lower is the baby boomlet, a period when the large baby boom cohort was having children.  The bars below the 15-19 year cohort continue to get smaller as births have continued to decrease.  The population less than 10 years of age represents only 11.9 percent of the white, nonHispanic population.  The cohort 65 years and over now accounts for 13.4 percent of the total – a share that will continue to grow as 20 years of baby boomers began reaching these ranks in 2011.

The second portrays the age and gender distribution of the Mexican population.  In this case we see the true pyramid structure, with the largest population cohorts in the youngest ages, and a decreasing share with increasing age.  This is what the total population of Michigan looked like in the heart of the baby boom years in the early 1950s.

Children less than 10 years of age account for almost one of every four Mexicans in Michigan (24.3%), while those 65 years and over account for just 4.1 percent.

It is clear that Michigan is becoming more and more diverse with every day.  The Governor’s recent call to make Michigan the most immigrant-friendly state in the country will help to move the needle as well.

As the older white, nonHispanic population ages, it will be the younger, African American,  Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern and other ethnic groups that will help drive Michigan’s future.  Their presence is now and will be in the future a true asset for our State.

Beauty Truly is in the Eye of the Beholder!

3 03 2012

I am sure that everyone reading this post has been to the Zoo at sometime in their life.  I grew up going to the Cincinnati Zoo and have tried to visit others when in cities around the country. I remember being overwhelmed by the size of the Detroit Zoo when I first moved here in 1975.  While Cincy’s Zoo was geographically constricted in size by residential development on all sides, Detroit’s vast expanse reminded me of European Zoos which served as a community gathering place – a place to meet friends, share a picnic lunch and spend a wonderful afternoon.  The last 37 years have brought incredible change to the Detroit Zoo, and the constantly improving and expanding displays, the gardens (created and maintained by volunteers), the picnic areas, the kiosks, the butterfly house, and much much more make it one of the truly great zoos in the country.  I was so proud of our tri-county region when the voters unanimously approved a millage for Zoo operations.  I can attest that we are getting our monies’ worth.

In spite of all the years of zoo attendance, I must admit that, though I found them fascinating creatures to look at, I never felt a particular fondness for the Rhinoceros. I can usually see adults and children crowding to see the great apes, the lions and tigers, the giraffes and elephants, but rarely do they spend much time with the Rhinos.

That changed when my wife and I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and meet Judy Stephens.  Judy lives and breathes Rhinos.  Not only was she kind enough to allow us to meet her 2 male charges, but she worked with them in such a way that they felt comfortable enough to allow our touch (as you can see above in the pictures Judy volunteered to take).  We stood transfixed as she told us her history with both black and white Rhinos and the differences between the two in child rearing and other behaviors. She shared stories and pictures that brought laughs and tears.  I guarantee that every one of our visits to the ZOO from now on will entail our hurrying straight to the back to see what the boys are up to.

I want to end this posting with a request.  Rhinos are subject to foot problems, usually exacerbated by the cement floors that exist in their indoor quarters.  Some zoos have been able to create mudrooms that can help to reduce such problems.  Judy Stephens has created a design for such a room that could be constructed just outside the Rhino’s indoor quarters.  She needs a professional to convert this design into a formal architectural plan and then we need to raise the funds to make it happen.  I know that our community has many caring individuals with a broad range of expertise.  If anyone out there is ready for such a task, or you know anyone who would be interested, please have them contact me.  I guarantee that one meeting with Judy and her rhinos will have you hooked!

Michigan Births Take Another Hit

27 02 2012

The long awaited release of final birth numbers for 2010 show that Michigan experienced another year of decreasing births – a trend that, with a few minor variations, has been in effect for the last 20 years.  The decrease from 2009 to 2010 was 2.2 percent, as births fell from 117,309 to 114,717.  Overall, annual births in Michigan have fallen 25.1 percent since 1990 and 15.7 percent since 2000.  If one were to look at 3-year averages, as is often done to account for year to year variations, the 2007-09 vs. 2008-10 change jumps to 2.9 percent, while the 1990-92 vs. 2008-10 change drops to 20.9 percent.

Figure 1 shows the total births in the State from 1990 to 2010.


Figure 1.  Total Births in Michigan by Year, 1990 – 2010








Total births fell in almost all urban counties in the State.  Saginaw experienced the largest year to year loss at 5.4 percent and was followed by Muskegon (-4.9%), Kent (-3.4%), Calhoun (-3.3%), Genesee (-3.0%), Oakland (-2.2%), Macomb (-2.0%), Wayne (-1.8%) and Ingham (-0.4%).  Four metropolitan core counties bucked the trend by experiencing no change or birth increases.  These were Berrien (0.0%), Washtenaw (1.0%), Jackson (1.7%) and Kalamazoo (1.7%).  The later might indeed be a result of the Kalamazoo Promise.  When one looks at 3-year averages, all the counties experienced an actual drop between the 2007-09 and 2008-10 periods.

Figure 2 provides a view of births in the tri-county area over the last 20 years.

 Figure 2.  Total Births in Macomb, Oakland, Out-Wayne and Detroit by Year, 1990 – 2010

While all four areas show a decreasing trend over the period, particularly since the middle of the last decade, the degree of loss differs a great deal.  Comparing 3-year averages for the periods 1990-92 and 2008-10, we find the following:

Macomb County        -8.2%

Oakland County        -19.1%

Out-Wayne County    -16.7%

Detroit City             -50.9%

Macomb County has experienced the smallest decrease, but a decrease nonetheless, in spite of its large overall population increase over the last two decades.  Oakland County experienced almost no growth over the last decade, due to outmigration and a significant drop in births.  Out-Wayne County’s drop has not been as great as Oakland’s, due to a younger population overall, due in great part to immigration, and growth in the western and southern suburbs.  And finally there is Detroit which has seen its birth totals drop by half as many young families left the city and the birth rate decreased.

Birth trends are an important component of population change for any geographic area.  When births are decreasing there is little chance that the overall population will be growing. In addition, school systems cannot afford to maintain their infrastructure in light of decreasing enrollment on the horizon.

We can take some solace in the fact that the 2009-10 decrease was somewhat less than the two prior years.  If recent economic trends continue their positive movement; if the Governor’s efforts to attract immigrants begins to show success; and if our metropolitan regions can begin to develop shared visions that emphasize strong central cities, Michigan will begin to attract the young, educated workforce that will both reinvent Michigan and begin to lay down roots that will result in a birth rebound.

Let the Spirit of Volunteerism Rise in Metro Detroit!

21 02 2012

On Wednesday, February 22, I have the distinct pleasure of joining Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh and WDET’s Craig Fahle for “an unprecedented evening on Wayne State’s Campus.”  As the announcement

You can join together with leaders who share your passion and dedication for a healthy, stable Detroit.

The night will be historic. It is the kick off of a one month sprint to unlock 10,000 new volunteer hours in Detroit.

You will meet new people, get new tools and find new ways to make a difference.

But how can you have such a great opportunity without having to endure some data before you start?  Well, that is where yours truly comes in.  I have been asked to be one of the kickoff speakers and fill you with some numbers, some things to think about, and, hopefully, a little more motivation to be a  change agent in Detroit.

While I am not going to give away everything that I plan to cover, I would like to throw out some stats related to Volunteering in the Detroit metropolitan area.  Since everyone loves rankings, I thought I would give you some idea where Detroit ranks among the Top 51 metros (population based) in the country.  This ranking is based on age of the volunteers.

Older Adults (Before 1946)            37th

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)           33rd

Gen X (1964-1982)                      26th

Millenials (1982-2000)                 38th

Young Adult (1984-1996)              33rd

Overall                                       32nd

It is obvious that we, as a region, have a long way to go before we can hit the Top 10 on any category.  It is clear that the factors that tend to lower volunteering:  Foreclosure rate; poverty rate; unemployment rate; and homeownership, all traveled in the wrong direction over the last 5 years.  In addition, the Detroit region ranks quite low in the percentage of college graduates – another indicator tied to volunteerism.

While we may not be able to reverse all the factors overnight, we are beginning to see positive signs.  The important point is that these factors do not doom us to a ranking in the bottom half of the list.  The ability to rise in the rankings is in our hands!  Let us use this event as the beginning of our climb to the TOP!


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