Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Defense Welfare State II

The civilian + military payroll pumps over $1B into the local economy. So the the geographic location of concentrations of the workforce will also be concentrations of prosperity

We can't map the off-base military with the information available at the census website, but we can, roughly, map out civilian workers by mapping "government workers" as a thematic map from American Factfinder. This would include non-military workers, too.

The map below illustrates the concentration around Wright-Patterson (red oval), but not so much around the VA (red circle). Various surrounding communties show for reference.
Taking a close-up of the eastern Greene County concentration, the census tract making up Wright Field (and the military housing on Airway Road) has 35.5% government workers, followed by census tract along Kitridge Road and Bellfontaine Pike, at 31.7% (which also has a lot of city of Dayton workers). Interestingly enough Yellow Srings has 25.2% government workers.
One can pretty clearly see the concentration of workers in Beavercreek and the countryside east and north of Fairborn. This is the payroll that is helpint to support the Fairfield Commons retail center and perhaps even the real estate expansion in the area.

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Employment Growth in Greene County

An assumption is that the PS&T sector is being supported by billion-dollar defense procurements. One can perhaps indirectly see this by the growth in sector employment in Greene County. One doesn't need a map to know this is not happening east of Xenia, that this growth is concentrated in eastern Greene County.

And one can also assume relatively high renumeration, at least for the managers and owners of PS&T establishments. This is confirmed by using the Brookings Institution Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) website, which provides reports for the number of returns filed for various income categories.

This detailed data goes back to 2000 and ends at 2006, so one has seven years of data points. Graphing out the top four income categories on can see how Beavercreek is becoming more and more affluent, with increasing growth in the very top income category. Returns for the >$100K category increased by over 1,100 between 2000 and 2006., and somewhat less robust growth in the $75K to $99K group.

Perhaps an indication of how defense spending is helping to establish an affluent society in eastern Greene County, particularly if discretionary spending is moslty within the county.

Veterans Benefits

Mapping out the veterans as a % of the population; there's a lot more and they overlap the government workers somewhat. It is possible to be a veteran and also a government worker.

In this case the close up shows percentages by tract. One can see parts of Fairborn, Huber Heights, New Carlisle, Medway, Enon, Beavercreek, and especially the southern part of Riverside as the big concentrations. Probably not unexpected: Yellow Springs has a lower % the than surrounding exurban area.

But the largest, 44.7%, is the tract that has the VA, the old Soldiers Home.

Veterans benefits are largely payments to veterans with service-connected disabilities, in other words either war casualites or injured on-duty. One can see an upward trend turing the Iraq-Afghanistan War years, with a big jump in 2007.

The "other" category are mostly other types of payments, mostly survivors benefits, but also a category for non-service connected disabilities.
There is also a small collection of programs tha provide other types of benefits or services, like money to modify houses for disabled veterans (accessibility for the disabled), modfication of cars and vehicles so disabled veterans can drive, educational aid, vocational training, and similar things.

Although veterans benefits are fairly small in the grand scheme of local defense-related spending, the money is still pretty large, topping $100M in recent years.

The Defense Welfare State: In It's Own Place

Mapping out the distribution of veterans and especially government workers its pretty clear that the Defense Welfare State is pretty much concentrated east of Dayton, mostly in Greene County. One can infer this is also the case with technical professionals working in nominally private sector firms doing a lot of defense contracting.

Studying the government worker map its pretty clear that there very low percentages in the hip urban areas frequently mentioned in the local blogosphere: South Park, Oregon, Downtown, the UD area. The one somewhat equivilant suburban area, Yellow Springs, is by far more popular than urban Dayton. The downtown number might be changing as this census data predates the big loft/apartment boom in the center city.

Government employment outside of Eastern Greene County is concentrated in the Salem Avenue Corridor, and these might be government workers for Dayton as well as for the VA and base. But it does indicate that perhaps defense employment and might be providing a floor to neighborhood economies in predominantly black areas within Dayton.

Yet the strong suburban orientation in government work, coupled with the veterans' geography, sort of indicate a figure in the carpet, a world that really is it's own place, economically and sociologically. Perhaps not as connected to Dayton as one would like to think.


Mike Bock said...

Jeffery, you write, "The civilian + military payroll pumps over $1B into the local economy." Do you know what the total income is the local economy as you define it?

As I said in comment to the previous post, there are many dimensions to attempt to understand, if one is to attempt to understand Dayton, Ohio. I can imagine Carl Rove wannabees looking at some of these interesting charts and forming an appropriate campaign strategy based on appealing to voters' self interests. I like the phrase that where I stand is a function of where I sit. You could make some pretty safe guesses how voters in certain precincts feel about certain issues and market a political campaign accordingly.

And it seems our democracy has come down to marketing. One dimension of Dayton that I would like to encourage you to consider studying -- and consider illustrating with your great graphs -- is the general topic of democracy in Dayton. Kettering just passed a school levy using amazingly antidemocratic practices. The Montgomery County Democratic Party is very antidemocratic. I am wondering what data is available to graphically illustrate the state and the vitality of our democracy(?)

Jefferey said...

The total income is around $12 trillion, I think, for 2006. This is just aggregate annual payroll.

A more signifigant measure is how much is money brought into the regional economy. My contention here is that the Federal governemnt is pumping quite a bit into the economy, which is perhaps a floor to mitigate the declines coming from manufacturing.


I did do some precinct-level mapping of recent elections for Oakwood and Washington Township, but I dont have the technical capacity to map this for the entire county.

A way to measure vitality of democracy is by participation. Perhaps a map of voter turnout could be usefull to show what areas are disconnected from the political process.

Greg Hunter said...


Thanks again for the the very illuminating data! As with much of what you write is true that the economic impact to the Dayton area is mitigated by WPAFB, I still think the reliance on this a sustainable force in the community is a failure long term. It seems to me the Roman Empire followed the same path as it collapsed on itself, an over reliance on the military, who receive the disproportionate amount of resources at the expense of the remainder of the population leading it to be vulnerable to foreign and domestic issues.

Here are just a few of the threads I would love to explore in this vain.

- The amount of double dipping that occurs and as the economy collapses the reduction of younger inexperienced workers at the behest of older double dipping military and civilian retirees.

- A discussion of whether the future expenditures required by the federal government will pit the military against the medical industry on who gets the cuts medicare or the military.

- A further investigation of whether we can afford the government services the US has committed too in relation to the economy going forward. Or How Long will the Chinese finance our debt so that we may build up a military. In spite of the rhetoric it appears the Chinese are buying resources with their dollars instead of increasing large military programs.

- The over weighted influence that the Military Contractors combined with the earmarks from Hobson, Turner and too some extent Dewine.

There are many other topics, but the military budget goes against the bottom line and just like the housing bubble, in my opinion, it does not appear to be a sustainable economic model, but hey just like housing it went on ten years too long and so will military expenditures.

Good Luck to the Dayton Region if this is where our bread and butter is made.

Jefferey said...

Greg, thanks for your comments.

The double dipping is sort of built-in as I think veterans or ex militry get a preference for civil-service defense jobs. So maybe not so civilian (someone can post a correction if Im wrong about this).

As to your other posts, Im not sure what the idea here really is, to have this prosperity bubble around the base and the contractors.

Maybe they think some sort of spin-off industry is going to happen or the contractors will branch out into more private sector work. This did happen elsewhere in the US, so not an unreasonable expectation.