The Section 8 controversy about the ďchanging complexionĒ of Daytonís south suburbs got me to revisit something I was going to do a few months ago, a follow-up on the an overlay of certain factors to show the declining areas of Dayton, but to do that with Kettering, based on a homeless housing study available at the City of Dayton website.
Kettering didnít have the same degree of information that Dayton did, but it did have things like income and sheriff sales, and I was able to map out some other markers of areas with lower incomes, such as fringe banking and thrift and discount stores. There are also some general demographic, tax, and crime data for the suburb as a whole that seem to indicate a deteriorating situation.
First, taking a look at some basic economic data, long term employment trends in Kettering. Though we thing of this as an upper-middle-class and better suburb, apparently Kettering people worked in manufacturing and retail as much or more than they did in white collar work. There was a big drop in manufacturing employment, which has probably continued after 2000. This is important as these manufacturing jobs were most likely unionized, with benefits (meaning health and retirement benefits), and paying a living wage.
Blue Collar Kettering at the peak year for the Dayton metro area population, and the last good year for blue collar work:
...and the downward slide...
(one wonders about that white-collar spike in 2000)
Taking a closer look by age group. Kettering has been losing population, but it is interesting to see that it is losing the young adult-to-middle age workforce the most. The only age cohort that has increased in Kettering from 1990 to 2000 is the very old aged.
Though we donít have census data for the near term, we do have income tax returns. The Brookings Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC ) site
has a great database where you can track the number of returns, and the gross income, as well as EITC numbers. One can see that based on the returns Kettering is not particularly affluent, and there has been a decline in the number of returns filed over the past few years.
The EITC is essential a subsidy to lower income workers, with ceilings based on family size and income. Returns claiming EITC, as a % of all returns, has been steadily increasing after bottoming out in the 2000 tax year. The EITC is indirectly pumping millions back to Kettering taxpayers, but is also indicating a decline in income for Ketteringites as their incomes would have to drop in order to qualify (EITC canít be claimed for pensions or investment income as oneís income has to be earned at work, in order to qualify)
A quick look at crime stats for Kettering, given the localís complaints about rising crime. It seems larceny is the biggest offense, but there are a lot of uncategorized police action, too. It would be nice to be able to plot this information by location, or block group.
Income. Whatís interesting here is how Kettering isnít that different from East Dayton and Belmont in terms of income, at least large parts of northeast Kettering, and the overall decreases in household income in a number of block groups since 1990., particularly the belt of block groups north of Strop and in east and south Kettering. Could this indicate people retiring and going on pension?
The Housing Burden. Rule of thumb is that housing costs should be less than 30% of income. Here are the maps for renters and homeowners, showing what % of households pay 30% or overÖ
Öand the rents. Note that large expanses of East Kettering are equivalent to East Dayton in rental range. If one had kids and wanted to avoid the Dayton school system, there is apparently no price barrier to keep one from renting in Kettering, which has good schools.
From the homelessness study, here are the low and moderate income areas. These might be conservative.
And sheriff sale activity (foreclosures), with concentrations or clusters circled. It looks like Northeast Kettering has most of these clusters, with another over in Southern Heights. The wealthy West of Far Hills area has nearly none.
Overlaying the sheriff sales and the low/mod income areas. Greenmont has no sales as it is sort of a co-op, without true private ownership.
A vacant house, maybe one of the distressed properties
Overlaying fringe banking, discount/dollar/thrift stores, and discount food places. Fringe banking is used by middle income consumers, yet:
ďÖthe vast majority of their customers are people stuck on the bottom third of economic ladder. John Caskey, a Swarthmore (Pa.) College economist who has studied pawn shops and check cashers, says many of their customers are the forgotten suburbanites -- working people who live above the official poverty level but still have a hard time getting by.Ēsource
Öso a concentration of these establishments in an area might mean more working almost-poor households.
Now lets get down to what it looks like on the ground
Older shopping centers taken over by discounters and thrift stores.
Vacant businesses of various sorts. This isnít too much of a problem here yet.
New construction here is mostly drug stores and fast food, but there is this new development anchored by hard discount Aldi (they always seem to locate in these kinds of areas) and a thrift store.
And some samples of fringe banking
Thought this is a declining area Kettering city government has been very aggressive in trying to redevelop problem spots. In this case a large vacant shopping center from the 1950s was replaced with a smaller strip center and housing.
Across the street, and older low/mod income apartment complex, from the early 1950s.
This was the hot shopping center of the early 1960s, the site of the first suburban location of the downtown Rikes Department Store. Itís not called Rikes Kettering anymore, and the old Rikes (Lazarus) department store has been taken over by Elder Beerman. Uses here are grab bag. A dollar store, tanning salon, Hallmark store, etc.
Across the street a vacant stand-alone retail of some sort.
Next door is Woodlane. This is a good example of a declining strip center. The ubiquitous fringe banking establishment and dollar store share vacant storefronts. Other uses are Red Wing Shoes and a vacuum cleaner repair, two mom & pop restaurants (one Mexican), etc.
The soon to be closed (thatís the rumor) Delphi plant, recently sold to Tenneco. Not sure what auto part they made there.
And some of the low/mod income areas that are seeing clusters of foreclosures. These places range in age from old 1920s plats to 1940s WWII and early postwar housing, to postwar subdivisions of small ranches, with little apartment clusters thrown in the mix.
Greenmont. Though this looks very projectesque and it is a lower income area, this is a very stable neighborhood, where shares in the co-op are handed down within families and there is a waiting list to get in.
This area has been seeing a lot of sheriff sales. It all dates from WWII
Postwar housing. Some of the early 1950s plats are having issues with sheriff sales too
One thing that is noticeable is the retail/commercial issue. Wilmington Pike isnít nowhere nears as dead as Salem Avenue, but perhaps one can see there is the start of problems with vacancies. All these pix are from south of Stroop, south of the area we just looked at. One could do similar pix in the Whipp/Bigger cluster of strip centers, which is even further south.
The Dayton region housing surplus is driving competition in the older apartment complex market
The product, mostly from the 1960s into the 1970s. There might be some Ď80s apartments at the very south end of Kettering.
Doing some comparisons with the Census block group data from 1990 vs 2000 should be interesting, as the block groups correspond pretty well to subdivisions and plats. The sources here are Kettering and MVRPC data, but it would be interesting to run the numbers for renter vs owner and occupation to see the changes. 2010 + 2000 + 1990 should really be interesting.