The recession never ended in these Michigan communities

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More than 20,000 vacant houses create blight in Detroit. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • More than 20,000 vacant houses create blight in Detroit.

It's 2020, a full 13 years after the Great Recession, and we're still talking about it here in Michigan. Despite President Donald Trump's repeated claims that the economy is strong, many people are still struggling — raising the question, "strong for whom?"

While the adjusted gross income nearly increased by 37% overall in the state, in nearly 30 ZIP codes it declined, according to an MLive analysis. "Eighteen of those 29 ZIP codes are in Detroit and five are in Flint, showing how declining population and stagnant incomes in those cities are taking its toll on some of the state’s poorest neighborhoods," MLive reports.

In Detroit, the ZIP codes were 48213 (-28%), 48210 (-26%), 48205 (-24%), 48224 (-20%),48238 (-20%), 48204 (-20%), 48217 (-20%), 48505 (-18%), 48234 (-17%), 48211 (-15%), 48227 (-15%), 48228 (-12%), 48235 (-10%), 48226 (-10%), 48219 (-9%), 48201 (-8%), 48223 (-7%), and 48209 (-5%).

In Flint, the communities included 48505 (-18%), 48504 (-15%), 48503 (-13%), and 48506 (-2%).

Other communities with the biggest AGI drops were Channing 49815 in Dickinson County (-69%), Center Line 48015 (-27%), Middleton 48856 in Gratiot County (-4%), Saginaw 48602 (-3%), and River Rouge 48218 (-1%).

An anomaly was Kalamazoo's 49007, which saw AGI increases in every income bracket except for the top. That's because billionaires Jon Stryker and John Brown moved away. Another anomaly was Traverse City 49684, which saw a -4% plunge. But that's because of Traverse City’s popularity among second homeowners; while total AGI dropped in Traverse City, average adjusted gross income went up 50%.

Speaking of Michigan's rich people, they're doing fine. "Michigan is, in fact, wealthier," Crain's Detroit Business reported in 2018. "But most of its residents are not." In other words, Michigan's recovery has largely been limited to the wealthy.

A 2016 study issued by the Michigan League for Public Policy found Michigan's income inequality gap has widened since the Great Recession, ranking as the 11th worst income gap in the nation.

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