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1 Community Analysis Part One

Community Analysis Part One
Macro Theory and Practice
SW 4020
11/16/2013
By: Heather J Warczinsky













2 Community Analysis Part One

I was born in Port Huron, but I was raised on a farm in Deckerville, Michigan, from 1986-1996.
As a child, living on a farm raising beef cattle and growing crops was a great experience; there
were a lot of pros and cons to living in a rural community. My experience growing up in a rural
agricultural community is one of many things that has made me the person I am today. Living in
a small town with a population of only 1,015 people (According to a US Census Report that was
released in May 1996) was definitely an experience of everyone knowing everyone else’s
business. According to City-Data in 1996, the population’s political affiliation breakdown was
Republican 45.2%; Democrat 41%; and otherwise affiliated 13.9%, and the average of the
household income was $30,083. According to Nation Master, Deckerville’s population was
spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1%
from 45 to 64, and 22.2% who were 65 years of age or older. According to the Nation Master,
the racial makeup of the village was White, 0.32% African American, 0.32% Native American,
0.11% Asian, 3.18% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of
any race were 8.05% of the population. The only time we came close to diversity was when
some of the Hispanics would migrate in the summer to work for the farmers, but diversity ended
when the migrant workers had to go back to Mexico in the winter. As you can see, the
community did not have a diverse population, therefore I was not brought up in a diverse
community. The only time the community would come together was when there was a sporting
event going on and everyone would be there to cheer on the team. When a team had away games,
everyone would go. If we wanted to go to the mall for school shopping, Christmas shopping,
etc., we had to travel almost an hour to get there. The community had one stop light, a factory,
little shops in town, a café, a gas station, a grocery store, and a community school K-12. There
was a K-mart, a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Dairy Queen, a Chinese restaurant, a bowling

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alley, a car dealership, a drive-in theater all located in Sandusky, which was 20 minutes away.
So, if we wanted to go to any of those places, we had to travel some distance to get to our
destination.
Today, Deckerville is struggling in a lot of areas: agriculturally, economically, and etc. The last
time I was there was probably a year ago, and all the shops were out of business; there used to be
a McDonald’s since I lived there, and that ran out of business. There is still, however, the K-12
school; the Elementary school houses grades K-6, and the high school has grades 7-12. Lake
Huron is 10 minutes away, and there you can boat, fish and scuba dive. It is really sad because
Deckerville is now like a ghost town, and it seems like people I knew no longer live there. Social
stratification definitely plays a role in the community because the people who are wealthy have
access to more things; for instance, housing, employment, education and health. Therefore, they
can keep what they have and don’t have to move away to find a job to help support their family.
Whereas, people who are not wealthy, have to give up everything they have worked for; for
instance, there farm, cattle, etc. have no choice but to move to a different area to find
employment. According to City-Data, in 2012 Deckerville had a rural community population of
814, which is a significant decrease since I resided there. Again, according to City-Data, the
political affiliation is now 60% Republican, 39.3% democrat, and 1% otherwise affiliated.
According to City-Data, the racial groups are White alone - 742 (89.4%), Hispanic - 72 (8.7%),
American Indian alone - 4 (0.5%), Black alone - 2 (0.2%), Asian alone - 1 (0.1%) and other race
alone - 1 (0.1%). According to City-Data, the majority that make up culture is LUTHURN
(Christian). According to City-Data, the average household income in 2011 was $31,135.
According to the City-Data, 25.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between
the ages of 18 and 24; 20.1% were from 25 to 44; 22.8% were from 45 to 64; and 21.3% were 65

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years of age or older. As you can conclude, much has changed within the community, and people
are leaving because there isn’t any employment opportunity. To support their families and have
income, people need jobs, so they either move to another community or drive far to get to work.
Overall, it is really sad to see the town become a ghost town and to see people move away.
However, Deckerville is still standing, and the community is trying to make the most out of it.
Changes in my community are that the rural population has seen a big impact of the population
diversifying. Many factories have closed down; countless people don’t have jobs; and because of
the factories closing, the small businesses were unable to sustain a profit, thus being forced to
close down. Many people who did not live in the town but were patrons of the local businesses
no longer spend their money in the town. Hence, those patrons have moved their spending
elsewhere. The Hispanics, who use to migrate in the summer to work for the farmers, are no
longer needed because the farmers have machines, better technology, and better chemicals to
control the unwanted vegetation (crops). With that being said, it makes the population at risk of a
further decline in this community because migrants are no longer boosting their population.
If you’re not a farmer and have not been raised in the community, then you would have a
difficult finding your place. At first, the community is neither friendly nor accepting of the
people who are new to the community. In my experience, the people permanently residing in the
community are very narrow- minded and are set in their own ways. Most people in the
agricultural community have farms handed down over generations. The pattern is mostly
patriarchal, meaning the farms are handed down from father to son(s). Because of technology,
expensive equipment, the cost of fuel, and etc., the price of farming is at its highest, so large
farms are buying out small farms and eliminating the mentality of small family business. Many
people that don’t farm for a living in the community have to drive a great distance to get to their

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jobs, or they are forced to move out of the community to find a job because many factories and
businesses have closed down. In other words, if it weren’t for them moving or driving far for
employment, they wouldn’t have any income for their families, and it would be hard to survive.
Communities that are much bigger in size have a better chance of surviving because they have
better job opportunities, money coming in and out of the community, and people don’t seem as
narrow-minded as they do in small communities.
The community that I grew up in contributed to who I am as a Caucasian female. I was raised in
the rural community by my parents as a Christian who traditionally goes to church and celebrates
the holidays with my family. I am truly blessed to have the type of parents that I have because
they are hardworking, caring, dedicated, respectful of others, independent, loving, heartwarming
and unselfish people. Because of the outstanding role models they have been, I was molded into
the person I am today. I like to think I have just a few of the qualities I previously used to
describe my parents. I feel that where I have come from and the parents bestowed to me, has
shown me that it is important to be independent, hardworking, reliable, a leader, respectful of
one’s self and others, and family orientated. In the rural community where I was raised, it was
important for families to raise cattle and rely on their crops for income. By doing so, the people
of rural agricultural communities know how important it is to work hard for their income in order
to survive. For their entire lives, my parents have made sure that we (my brothers, sister, and me)
have had a great life and have wanted for nothing. My father was a farmer, a boys’ varsity
basketball coach, and a teacher. My mother was a stay-at-home-mom, a farmer, and a girls’
varsity cheerleading coach. Other qualities that the community in which I grew up contributed to
are: the quest to never give up, the importance of embracing cultural diversity, and always
relying on my inner strength (this lesson was derived from the experience the community being

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judgmental and cruel to my family). My older brother was diagnosed with Leukemia on his 13
th

birthday, and he had to miss a lot of school. Well, the teachers chose to fail my brother because
they were uneducated about his illness. They were ignorant of the severity of leukemia and
implied that they thought he was “faking” it. He was also told that he was not going to amount to
anything because he had missed so much school. The doctors advised my parents to move away
from the farm, or my other siblings and I were at a four times greater risk of getting cancer, too,
due to the toxins to which the farm exposed us. So, my parents sacrificed everything for which
they had worked their entire lives (our house, our farm, my dad’s job, and other qualitative
costs), and we moved to the city to be closer to the hospital. Thankfully, by the grace of God,
with the love and support of my family, and through my older brother’s strength and courage, he
beat the cancer; today he is a father, a school psychologist, a coach, and a refined man. In
response to the community’s rejection of our family and seeing my brother beat cancer, I have
the strength and determination to never, ever give up. Also, if it wasn’t for the negative
experience in that little community and my brother’s fight with cancer, my family would have
never been exposed to diversity and all the other ethnicities and opportunities in the world. Good
can come from tragedy, and we were able to move to the city and become culturally diverse. It
has prepared me for my career as a social worker to become very comfortable with whatever
race, ethnicity, gender or age I encounter. I feel equipped to assist people to the best of my
ability, so they can feel empowered and self-sufficient, or whatever their goals might be.
Being raised on a farm in a rural area then moving to the city at such a young age really helped
me broaden my horizons. People always make that assumption on if you’re from the rural area
you are timid and won’t socially adjust well to the city (Urban area). Honestly, it all depends on
the child and how they are brought up by the parents and the relationship they have with the

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parents. My parents did a great job leading by example, exposing us to people who were a
different race and interacting with them socially. According to the book, “An ecological
approach views communities as highly interdependent, teaming with changing relationships
among populations of people and organizations.”(P.144). From an ecological perspective, people
who are brought up in a rural area are not exposed to diversity, so that may cause them to be not
as social and know how to interact with someone of a different race, whereas people who are
brought up in the urban area are exposed to diversity, so therefore have great social skills and
know how to interact with people of a different race. As I mentioned before, that is not always
true, it depends on the child and how they are raised by their parents. Systems perspective is
connected with the ecological perspective by when someone who has grown up in the rural area
and it is time for them to move away for college, they may not leave out of there comfort zone or
when they do move, they are going to have a cultural shock. In other words, when they move
away for college they will people of a different race, therefore; they will have to learn how to
interact with them and learn to adjust to people of a different race.
Currently, the problem my childhood community is experiencing is that the population is
decreasing because there are no jobs in Deckerville. The town is a ghost town no; everyone I
grew up with in the community has left the town and moved somewhere else seeking job
opportunities and etc. The factories, a few small businesses, and McDonald’s were basically the
only employment opportunities that the community offered besides farming. Speaking of
farming, even agriculture has decreased; the local farmers are not producing as many crops to
sell.



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References:

City-data. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.city-data.com/city/Deckerville-Michigan.html
Kettner, M. P. , McMurtry, S. L. , Netting, E. F. , & Thomas, L. F. ( 2012). Connecting Core Competencies
Series: Social Work Macro Practice. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, INC.
Nation master. (2003-2005). Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Deckerville,-
Michigan
Us census bureau. (1996, MAY). Retrieved from
http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/files/places/26mi.txt