Persistent Childhood asthma increases in Detroit

April 13, 2014

Michigan’s level of asthma is higher than the nation’s, and Detroit’s is higher than Michigan’s.

This post examines this serious health issue by looking at the prevalence of childhood asthma in Detroit by zip code.  The data presented here was provided by the Michigan Department of Community Health. Each map shows a different type of asthma indicator, ranging from the number of emergency room visits to whether or not asthma medications were distributed. Each zip code, except for the ones where data was unavailable, showed evidence of childhood asthma in 2012. Certain zip codes showed more prevalence than others. For example, 48207, which is located along the Detroit River near Belle Isle, was consistently in the top or second grouping in every map, with the exception of the one showing prevalence of hospital visits. The 48234 area also showed prevalence of childhood asthma indicators, with the exception of the map that shows overuse of short acting beta-agnostics, which provide temporary relief for shortness of breath.

Overall, these data indicate these overall patterns for childhood asthma in Detroit in 2012:

•Approximately 8.1 percent of children had standard persistent asthma; •For these children with persistent asthma, in the majority of the zip codes had over 25.1 percent of children had two or more outpatient visits for persistent asthma; •In the majority of the zip codes between 40.1 and 56.2 percent of children with persistent asthma visit the emergency room at least once for this condition; •In 2012 most children visited the emergency only once; •Children are more likely in most zip codes to use long-term medications for asthma than short-term medications. •Most zip codes experienced an increase in persistent asthma.  •

The chief policy concern these data raise is the question of why asthma is rising among Detroit’s children.  We will pursue this question in a subsequent post.

Note: Some zip codes do not have data reported. This can be either because there were no cases or that there were so few cases that reporting was suppressed. 

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The map above shows the percent of children in 2012 who met the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) standards for persistent asthma. According to the NCQA, which creates the HEDIS standards, is defined as at least one emergency department visit or one inpatient claim or four outpatient visits  with two asthma medication dispensing events or at least four asthma medication dispensing events where asthma is the principal diagnosis. While zip codes 48207 and 48201 had the highest percent of children with persistent asthma (between 8.1 and 9.3 percent), it was codes 48203, 48221, 48202, 48208 and 48201 that experienced the highest percent point change from 2005 to 2012. 

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The map above, shows the percent of children with asthma who had two or more outpatient visits for persistent asthma. The table shows the percentage point changes from 2005 to 2012 were much higher for this indicator than the first one discussed. Many of the higher percentage point changes occurred in the zip codes where between 30.1 and 42 percent of children had two or more outpatient visits for persistent asthma. 

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This map shows that majority of the zip codes that make up Detroit had between 40.1 and 56.2 percent of children with persistent asthma visit the emergency room at least once for this condition. The only zip code in Detroit where below 30.1 percent of children with persistent asthma visited the ER for this condition was 48212. This area also experienced a 15.8 percentage point decrease in the percent of such visits from 2005 to 2012. Zip code area 48211 experienced the highest percentage point decrease from 2005 to 2012 at 25.7 percent; this area was in the 30.1 to 40 percent category in 2012. Northwest Detroit’s 48219 zip code, had the highest percentage increase at 10.3; it also was in the highest grouping in 2012 for percent of children who visited the emergency room with persistent asthma. 

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The percentage of children with persistent asthma who had two or more emergency room visits was much lower than the percentage who went to the ER at least once. In 2012 there were only four zip codes where between 15.1 and 23.5 percent of the children with persistent asthma visited the ER more than once because of the asthma. The zip code 48201, which was one of the areas where between 15.1 and 23.5 percent of the children with persistent asthma visited the ER more than once, also had the highest percentage point increase from 2005 to 2012 at 8 percent. 

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As with the decreased number of ER visits related to persistent asthma in Detroit children, the percentage of children with persistent asthma who had asthma-related hospitalizations decreased from 2005-2012. All of the zip codes in Detroit experienced a decrease, the highest being a 13.9 percentage point decrease in zip code 48223. 

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Throughout most of Detroit in 2012 between 10.1 and 20 percent of children with persistent asthma were suspected of overusing short acting beta-agnostics. These are medications used for short-term relief of asthma symptoms. The zip code area 48219 had the highest percentage point increase for this asthma burden indicator. The percentage point increase was 6.2.

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The two maps above show the percent of children with persistent asthma who used a given type of asthma relief medication in 2012.  The first map shows the percent of children with persistent asthma who used corticosteroids, a type of steroid used to provide asthma relief. The second map shows the percent of children with persistent asthma who used longer-term medications.  In both cases the use of these drugs increased in most zip codes. 

Long-term unemployment becoming a long-term problem

April 10, 2014

In an article recently published by Brookings, it describes the struggles the long-term unemployed often deal with. According to the information, the percent of Americans unemployed on a long-term basis is higher than the previous peak in 1981-1982 while the short-term unemployment rates appears to be average. This article also shows that majority of the long-term unemployed previously had jobs in retail/sales or blue collar type jobs. To read more click here

Wayne Disposal releases highest amount of mercury in the region

April 7, 2014

According to the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, exposure to mercury, a naturally occurring element, can cause gastrointestinal, developmental, neurological, ocular, and renal damage. While the most common way humans are exposed to mercury is through consumption of fish and shellfish, we are also exposed to it when coal is burned. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the largest human cause of mercury emissions comes from burning coal. With this in mind, the EPA issued a mandate for mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants to be limited by 2015. By 2016 the mandate is to be fully implemented and mercury emissions are to be reduced by 90 percent, according to the EPA. 

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As presented by EnvironmentMichigan.org, above the top 10 mercury emitters by state (this includes coal-fired power plants and other emitters) are shown from 2010. Michigan came in at number 10, with facilities emitting 2,253 pounds of mercury into the atmosphere. Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania were the three Great Lakes States that came in above Michigan. Texas was the state with the overall highest mercury emissions at 11,127 pounds. 

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Unlike the previous chart, this one shows the 2010 emissions for coal-fired power plants. In parallel with the first chart, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania’s coal-fired power plant emissions were higher than Michigan’s.

In 2010, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Michigan based coal-fired power plants emitted 1,924 pounds of mercury into the air. In comparison, the following Great Lakes states produced these emissions from coal-fired power plants: Ohio power plants emitted 2,865 pounds, Pennsylvania emitted 2,720 pounds, Indiana emitted 2,174 pounds, Illinois emitted 1,484 pounds, Wisconsin emitted 1,269 pounds, Minnesota emitted 873 pounds and New York emitted 239 pounds. 

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The map above displays 2012 mercury releases for the 15 facilities in southeast Michigan that are permitted to release mercury. According the EPA, a chemical release means the material is emitted into the air or water or placed in a type of landfill for disposal.

DTE, released a total of 2,127.8 pounds of mercury from its five power plants in the region. The largest contributor to mercury releases from power plants was the DTE Monroe Power Plant at 985.7 pounds. The St. Clair DTE Power Plant released 426.26 pounds of mercury and the Belle River DTE Power Plant, just a few miles south of the St. Clair location, released 364.7 pounds of mercury in 2012. The Trenton Channel DTE Power Plant released 232.91 pounds and the River Rouge location released. 138.25 pounds.

The largest mercury emitter in 2012 was not a coal-fired power plant,

but a hazardous waste landfill:  Wayne Disposal had the highest mercury releases on a single permit, 2,192.48 pounds. The second largest mercury release site in the region, The Monroe power plant released 965.7 pounds of mercury in 2012, which is higher than what the Natural Resources Defense Council reported was emitted in 2010. Although information from 2010 was presented above, this map offers information from 2012 to show the most recent emissions. This same data was not readily available for 2010 and 2011.

Number of employed drops in Detroit

March 31, 2014
•From November 2013 to December 2013, the unemployment rate across the state decreased while in Detroit it increased; (monthly)
•The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeast Michigan decreased from January 2014 to February 2014; (monthly)
•The Commodity Price Index decreased from January 2014 to February 2014 for Southeast Michigan; (monthly)
•Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Index shows that the prices of homes in the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area experienced an increase between December 2012 and December 2013; (monthly)
•Wayne County has experienced an increase in the number of building permits pulled in 2014 compared to those pulled in winter of 2013.
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According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, from December to January the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan decreased from 8.4 to 7.8 percent. The City of Detroit experienced an unemployment rate increase though. In December the rate was recorded at 14.6 percent and in January it was recorded at 15.4 percent.

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From December 2013 to January 2014, the number of people employed in the City of Detroit decreased to 285,640 from 289,555 in December, 2013.

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The above chart shows the number of people employed in the auto manufacturing industry in the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area throughout 2013 and into 2014. During the period under consideration, the highest employment levels in the auto manufacturing and auto parts manufacturing industries occurred in January 2014 when there were 97,800 people employed in the Detroit MSA. That was an increase of 5,800 over the previous month when it was reported there were 92,000 people employed in these industries; this is an increase of 5,800.

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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 means the economy is expanding.

According to the most recent data released on Southeast Michigan’s Purchasing Manager’s Index, there was a decrease of 5 points from January 2014 to February 2014. In February 2014, a PMI of 47.3 was recorded. This was the first time since June 2013 that the PMI dropped below 50. This index is reflective of a “sluggish” economy because the production, new orders, and the raw material inventory indexes all dropped.

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The Commodity Price Index, which is a weighted average of selected commodity prices, was recorded at 55 points in February 2014, which was 1.7 points lower than the previous month. Compared to the PMI, the Commodity Price Index has remained fairly stable since January 2013.

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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 $94,700 in December 203. This was an increase of approximately $14,100 from the average price in December 2012.

While home prices in the area continue to increase, the annual percent change graph above shows that the gap between current home prices and those a year ago is shrinking. Image

 

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The above charts show the number of residential building permits obtained each month in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties from January 2013 until February 2014. These numbers are reported by local municipalities to the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments and include single family units, two family units, attached condos, and multi-family units.

Oakland and Macomb counties experienced a decrease in the number of building permits pulled in February 2014 compared to February 2013; Oakland County experienced a decrease of 30 building permits while Macomb County experienced a more dramatic decrease of 121 building permits. Wayne County, on the other hand, experienced an increase in permits pulled in February of this year (62) compared to February 2013 (30).

Michigan roads just as mediocre as other Great Lakes States’

March 23, 2014

One of the toughest winters on record in Michigan has challenged our roads tremendously, and we are dealing with a plague of potholes and craters. Given this and other neglect, the Michigan Department of Transportation said, the state needs an additional 35 cents per day from every vehicle registered in the state to maintain roads in good/fair conditions. That’s $127.75 per car. Even so, that’s a lot less than the $357  per car cost that the bad condition of Michigan roads imposes on each motorist.

This post seeks to put the conditions of Michigan roads in context by highlighting road conditions in the eight Great Lakes States. Although Michigan invests the lowest amount of funds into roads, per capita, in the region, it does not have the highest percentage of poor roads or cost of vehicle repairs.

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The chart above shows the additional cost of motor vehicle repairs, per motorist, caused by driving on roads in need of repair. New York has the highest average cost, according to the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, at $403. Ohio has the second highest average, in the Great Lakes state region, at $367 and Michigan comes in third at $357. Click here to learn about the vague methodology behind this report.

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The 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure also showed that, of the Great Lakes States, Illinois had the highest percent of roads in mediocre or poor condition (73%) in the region while Indiana has the lowest (17%). The report indicated Michigan had 38 percent of its roads in mediocre or poor condition (lowest), following. Information is based off of 2009 data; the report card did not objectively define poor, mediocre, or good.

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According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, Minnesota invested $315 per capita into its total 2014 road budget while Michigan invested $174. This was the lowest in the Great Lakes region. Indiana invested the second lowest at $187.

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While weather can have an affect on roads, so can the amount of vehicle traffic. According to the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, in 2009, Indiana had the highest highway vehicle miles traveled per capita at 11,672. Michigan came in fourth in the Great Lakes region at 9,878 highway vehicle miles per capita.

A little bit o’ Irish everywhere in Southeast Michigan

March 17, 2014

This past weekend, hundreds gathered in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – a Catholic feast day for Ireland’s most well-known saint and an opportunity to celebrate all things Irish. Held annually on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day has become an opportunity for anyone to claim they are Irish (at least for the day). According to the American Community Survey data presented below, however, only 5.1 to 10 percent of the population in a majority of the communities in Southeast Michigan claimed Irish ancestry in 2011.

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Although Corktown once had a large Irish population base many people (exact numbers could not be found) from Ireland relocated to that part of Detroit during the Irish potato famine in the mid-1800s). Today though, the Irish population in Corktown has diminished and the entire City of Detroit itself does not have a particularly large Irish-ancestry population. According to the 2011 American Community Survey, those with Irish ancestry made up 5 percent or less of the city’s population in 2011.

As the map shows, in 2011, the percent of the population claiming Irish ancestry in a majority of the communities (insert number) in Southeast Michigan was between 5.1 and 10 percent. Fewer communities (12) had between 10.1 and 15 percent of the population make such claims, and even fewer (8) had over 15.1 percent.

Washtenaw, Macomb counties import most amount of trash

March 10, 2014

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 From Washington to Massachusetts to Canada, garbage trucks have been bringing trash into the state of Michigan to fill landfills across the state. The data in this post shows where much of this trash comes from and what counties in the seven-county region take in the largest amount of municipal waste. 

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The above chart shows the overall volume, in cubic yards, of waste disposed of in Michigan since fiscal year 2004. The overall disposal of municipal solid waste decreased from 2004 (63,183,512) to 2013 (44,914,993) and with that decrease there has also been a decrease in the amount of imported trash. In 2004, 18.1 percent of all waste disposed of in Michigan was from Canada and 10.3 percent was from other states. In 2013, 17.1 percent was from Canada and 6.2 percent was from other states. 

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The map above further demonstrates that Canada is Michigan’s highest importer of trash. According to the DEQ, in 2012 Canada brought in  6,764,907 cubic yards of trash. In addition, Ohio, the second-highest exporter of trash to Michigan, sent 1,428,651 cubic yards to regional landfills. 

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When further breaking down the data, it can be seen that Wayne County, in 2012, generated and disposed of the most waste. However, it was Washtenaw County, followed by Macomb County to import the most waste. Located in Washtenaw County, Veolia ES Arbor Hills, which is now an Advanced Disposal Services landfill, had the second highest amount of waste (4,578,334 cubic yards) deposited in it. The Veolia landfill imported 1,657,156 cubic yards of Oakland County’s waste, and 1,864,878 cubic yards of Wayne County’s waste. In comparison, it imported less than 3,000 cubic yards of Canadian waste; and it disposed of 337,506 cubic yards of its own waste. Located in Macomb County, Pine Tree Acres landfill  had the largest amount of waste by volume disposed of in it in 2012, with 4,818,600 cubic yards of municipal waste deposited, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Of the waste disposed there,  Canada exported 3,466,060 cubic yards. This was more than the 917,962 cubic yards of waste Macomb County residents generated, and then disposed of, into their own landfill. According to the U.S. EPA, the average American generates about 4.43 pounds of waste a day, which totals about 1,617 pounds a year. That amount contributed to the 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage generated by the world in 2012. Of that amount of waste, 46 percent of it was made up of organic matter, according to the World Bank. To read more about where the world’s trash goes to and what its made of click here

Grandparents caring for grandchildren high in Detroit

March 3, 2014

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In the last post we explored the makeup of family households in the seven county region. For this post, we will break that information down even further and look at how many households in the area are led by grandparents who assume responsibility for their grandchildren that are younger than the age of 18.  In some communities more than 4 percent of the households with children are headed by grandparents.  In Detroit, there are neighborhoods where this number reaches more than 12 percent.

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The overall percentage of grandparents responsible for children can be seen in the first three maps, the third focusing on Detroit.  Several communities in Wayne County, like Detroit, Inkster, Romulus and Taylor, have high percentages of grandparent led households. There is also a cluster in Northern Macomb and St. Clair counties. In that area there are eight communities where more than 4 percent of the grandparent population is responsible for their grandchildren; there are 24 total communities where more than 4 percent of the grandparent population is responsible for their grandchildren.

The third map though shows that on a Census tract level, there are about 25 neighborhoods in the city where more than 12 percent of the grandparent population is responsible for their grandchildren.

According to the data, about 7.1 percent of Detroit’s population is made up of grandparents, and of that population over 4 percent are responsible for their grandchildren. The fourth through sixth maps show the overall distribution of grandparents in Southeast Michigan, whether they are responsible for their grandchildren or not, are heavily concentrated in and around the City of Detroit.  Although Detroit has the highest concentration of the dark grey and red colors concentrated within its boundaries,  these colors also bleed out into the outer ring suburbs of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

 

Single parent households more concentrated in Wayne County

February 24, 2014

In this post we examine the type of family households with children, whether they are two parent or single parent. According to the data, there are also thousands of homes in the region where single fathers or mothers take care of the home and children. As the data shows, there are more homes with single mothers than single fathers; these homes are more concentrated in Wayne County. According to data provided by the 2011 American Community Survey, a majority of family  households in Southeastern Michigan do not have any children under 18

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a family is described as a group of two or more people related by birth, marriage, or adoption who all live together. A family household is described as a household that is maintained by the head of a family and includes people who live in that home who are not related. Non-family households are defined as households where a single person claims head of the household and if there are others living there, they are not related.

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The graph above shows the total make up of family v non-family households in the seven county region. As can be seen, family households make up majority of the region, and in that sub-section it is family households without kids that make up  that majority. For family households with kids, that subsection is made up mostly of married families with kids.

 

 

 

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The above map shows the percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18 in each municipality in the seven-county region. Livingston County has seven communities in which 30-40 percent of its households are composed of two parents and children under 18. Washtenaw County has six such communities, and Wayne County has one (Canton). The percentage of families with children under 18 in Wayne County was 29.8. Fewer than 10 percent (9.2) of the households in the City of Detroit were made up of two-parent households with children below the age of 18.

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The above map shows the percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18 in each municipality in the seven-county region. Livingston County has seven communities in which 30-40 percent of its households are composed of two parents and children under 18. Washtenaw County has six such communities, and Wayne County has one (Canton). The percentage of families with children under 18 in Wayne County was 29.8. Fewer than 10 percent (9.2) of the households in the City of Detroit were made up of two-parent households with children below the age of 18.

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While Detroit had the smallest percentage of two-parent households with children, it also had one of the highest percentage(s) of family households with children under 18 led by single mothers. According to the data, 16.6 percent of the households in Detroit in 2011 were led by single mothers with children. The City of Inkster topped the list with 18.1 percent of family households being led by single mothers with children, while the City of River Rouge had 16.9 percent and the City of Highland Park had 16.4 percent.

All of these communities are located in Wayne County. Pontiac, in Oakland County, had 14.5 percent of its households led by single mothers with children in 2011.

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The data also shows that the percentage of single mother households with children in the region is much higher than the percentage of single father households with children. According to the data, Wayne County had the highest percentage, with 2.4, and Washtenaw County had the lowest, with 1.6 percent. In the tri-county area, Melvindale had the highest percentage of family households led by single fathers at 9.5 percent. In Macomb County, Ray Township was the community with the highest percent at 8.2; in Oakland County it was Pontiac with 7.2 percent.

 

Income inequality gap larger in big cities

February 22, 2014

In a study recently conducted by the Brooking’s Institute it was found that, in big cities, the rich are richer and the poor are poorer. For example, Atlanta was found to have the largest income equality gap in 2012 because residents of the city in the 95th percentile of the city’s income scale made at least $279,827, while residents in the 20th percentile of the scale made, at most, $14,850 in 2012. For Detroit, residents in the 95 percentile of the income scale made at least about $100,000; this was about 12 times the amount of residents at the 20th percentile mark. 

In this New York Times article is a scatter plot that shows income equality for several large cities, including Detroit. 


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