HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForum About

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Midwest


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 10:23 AM
LMich's Avatar
LMich LMich is offline
Midwest Moderator - Editor
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Big Mitten
Posts: 31,745
Detroit area tops in 'job sprawl'

Sweet baby jeebus! I knew that employment in Metro Detroit was quite decentralized, but to see the numbers drives the point home. It's not even close to second place.

The statistic, alone, doesn't decide the health of a city center (as can be witnessed by second-plass Chicago), but when combined with other factors, particular auto ownership, it can be telling. It's why Detroit needs to get its mass transit system up and running like never before.

Metro areas with most job sprawl

Among metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 jobs, work was farthest from the city center in these:
  1. Detroit 77.4 percent of jobs
  2. Chicago 68.7 percent
  3. Dallas 66.9 percent
  4. Los Angeles 65.6 percent
  5. Philadelphia 63.7 percent
  6. Atlanta 63.2 percent
  7. Miami 62.6 percent
  8. St. Louis 60.9 percent
  9. San Francisco 57.3 percent
  10. Seattle 56.0 percent

    Source: Brookings Institution

Detroit area tops in 'job sprawl'

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

Monday, April 6, 2009

More than three-fourths of jobs in Metro Detroit are farther than 10 miles from the heart of the city, deepening the economic and social divide between Detroit and its suburbs.

In a report released this morning, the Brookings Institution said almost every major American metro area has seen a drop in the share of employment downtown since 1998, as jobs have increasingly moved into suburbs.

The phenomenon is called "job sprawl," and nowhere in America is that disconnect greater than in Metro Detroit.

About 77 percent of jobs in Metro Detroit are more than 10 miles from the city center, the Brookings report found.

In most metro regions, the study found, about 45 percent of all jobs are at least 10 miles from their downtowns.

"Job sprawl is detrimental to employment and raises a lot of challenges," said author Elizabeth Kneebone, whose study of employment trends mapped 98 metropolitan areas, from 1998-2006.

It means many low-income and minority residents are often isolated from job opportunities, she said, and it adds to commute times and expenses.

The problem is especially acute in Detroit, which lacks a regional mass transit system and where only 1 out of 3 residents has access to a car.

Shayneece Batson of Detroit is a perfect example. Batson had to quit her job at a Troy grocery store because the co-worker and fellow Detroiter who gave her a ride quit.

Batson, who doesn't own a car, was at a Michigan Works! jobs placement center looking for work last week, but said that "every job they want me to apply for I would have to catch like two bus lines to get there.

"You know how hard it is to catch one?" she asked. "You can't depend on that to be on time for a job."

Manufacturing has moved

The Brookings study found that regions heavily dependent upon manufacturing, like Detroit, have among the highest job sprawl rates.

That is due, it determined, to the practice of building large manufacturing plants away the city.

"It shows that a lot of policy decisions are not being made in concert, and that undermines the economic health of cities and regions in many ways," Kneebone said.

The February unemployment rate for the state was 12 percent; it was 22.2 percent in Detroit in January, the last month for which a local breakdown is available.

Job sprawl trends, said Kneebone, "have persisted over periods of both economic expansion and decline.

"This suggests that, while the current recession may temporarily slow the rate of job sprawl, rising unemployment will not on its own reverse the long-run trend."

The location of jobs is also important to the larger discussion about creating jobs, said Robert Puentes, a Brookings senior fellow.

"Allowing jobs to shift away from city centers hurts economic productivity, creates unsustainable and energy inefficient development, and limits access to underemployed workers," he said.

Help from stimulus plan

The federal economic stimulus package, Puentes said, gives cities and states the chance to plan "more compact development that will result in more productive, sustainable and inclusive metropolitan growth" that can reverse job sprawl patterns.

Job sprawl doesn't just mean that city residents have fewer nearby employment options.

It also means that suburbanites may have to drive across the metropolitan area, from one fringe suburb to another, for work.

More driving in suburbs

Orentyl Boyd lives in Mount Clemens, but drives to Farmington Hills for her job working with spinal cord injury patients.

The $11-an-hour job offers no benefits, and her work hours vary from week to week.

"I really like the job, but I do worry about advancing and even trying to get ahead, but now it's more like living paycheck to paycheck," said Boyd, 27.

Other large metropolitan areas -- with more than 500,000 jobs -- that suffer from severe job sprawl are Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Best among the large metro areas was Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, followed by New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, and Salt Lake City.

Among communities with between 165,000 and 500,000 jobs, the Lansing-East Lansing area fared well: seventh overall.

Thirty-nine percent of jobs in the area are within three miles of the city center.

laguilar@detnews.com (313) 222-2760
Where the trees are the right height
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 6:54 PM
hudkina hudkina is offline
Honored Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 7,445
To be fair, Downtown Detroit sits on the edge of the Metro Area. The Metro Center is really closer to 8 Mile and Woodward, of which the major job centers of Downtown, Troy, Warren, Southfield, Dearborn, Sterling Heights, etc. are all within ten miles. While there are still major job centers further out (the I-275 corridor, the M-59 corridor, Downriver, etc.) I would bet that at least half of all Metro Detroit's jobs are within 10 miles of 8 Mile/Woodward.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 6:59 PM
Steely Dan's Avatar
Steely Dan Steely Dan is offline
devout Pizzatarian
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Lincoln Square, Chicago
Posts: 28,638
^ you and i are thinking a lot on the same page today, hudkina. i was just going to mention that using a radial distance measurement from a "downtown" is going to skew the results a bit for cities like detroit and chicago where downtown sits at an extreme edge of the metro area due to geographical features such as a large body of water in chicago's case or an international border in detroit's case.
"Missing middle" housing can be a great middle ground for many middle class families.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 9:39 PM
hudkina hudkina is offline
Honored Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 7,445
BTW, I just did a comparison using sub-county employment data from 2000 with both "Downtown" and "8 Mile/Woodward" as the regional center.

The six-county Detroit Metro Area had 2,050,367 jobs in 2000. With Downtown as the "center" there were 15 municipalities that were mostly within a ten mile radius. Those 15 municipalities had a combined 492,850 jobs, which equates to 24.0% of the total number of jobs int he Metro Area. Dearborn and Downtown are the only major job centers within that area. That means that 75.9% of jobs are outside a 10 mile radius. So using my sloppy method, I got a number pretty close to the 77.4% quoted in the study.

Now, if I move the "center" closer to the actual center of population for the Metro area which is close to the intersection of 8 Mile and Woodward, the ten mile radius includes 26 municipalities. Those municipalities had a combined total of 949,085 jobs, or about 46.2% of the total jobs in the Metro Area. Dearborn, Southfield, Troy, Sterling Heights, Warren, and Downtown are the major job centers within that area. In other words, only 53.7% of the jobs in the Detroit Metro area are more then 10 miles away from the actual center of population.

If you only include Detroit's Tri-County area (the urban core) the percentage of jobs within 10 miles of 8 Mile and Woodward jumps to 49.6% or about half of all Tri-County area jobs.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 10:25 PM
hudkina hudkina is offline
Honored Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 7,445
Here's a map I created showing a 10 mile radius around the actual Metro Center. The red dot in the center shows the point around which the circle is drawn. The five points near the edge of the circle represent the five largest jobs centers in the Metropolitan area.

Total number of jobs in each city:

Detroit - 318,790 (with a little over half in the Downtown area)
Troy - 105,445
Southfield - 94,386
Warren - 90,939
Dearborn - 87,946

Livonia with 83,368 is the next largest suburban job center, followed by Sterling Heights with 59,434, Farmington Hills with 56,072, Pontiac with 49,451, and Auburn Hills with 48,672.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Apr 7, 2009, 1:41 AM
robk1982 robk1982 is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 672
Looking at that top 10 List, it looks like most of the cities would have a similar issue because of water or a state boundary that is not equally developed on both sides (St. Louis).
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Jun 25, 2009, 1:39 PM
palermodude palermodude is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 62
you guys are so smart
totally agree with the the skewed measurement idea
makes you wonder who is getting paid to do the research, and how much are they getting paid
in the finance field, we are always modifying our formulas to find an "effective" rate
how come researchers cannot do the same?
how come
Reply With Quote

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Midwest
Forum Jump

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 8:07 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.