Your zip code can mean a lot more than just where you receive your mail.  According to a recent survey it can also determine what type of community you live in.

The Economic Innovation Group recently released their 2017 findings on distressed communities.  The EIG is a bipartisan public policy organization, ​founded in 2013, ​combining innovative research and data-driven advocacy to address America’s most pressing economic challenges.

The zip codes that the EIG has determined to be distressed in West Michigan are as follows:

  • Benton Harbor (49022)
  • Covert (49043)
  • Decatur (49045)
  • Dowagiac (49047)
  • Grand Junction (49056)
  • Grand Rapids (49507)
  • Hartford (49057)
  • Holton (49425)
  • Kalamazoo (49007)
  • Lawrence (49064)
  • Muskegon (49442)
  • Muskegon Heights (49444)
  • Pullman (49450)
  • Watervliet (49098)


The methodology used to determine the Distressed Communities Index are these seven metrics:

  • No high school diploma
  • Housing vacancy rate
  • Adults not working
  • Poverty rate
  • Median income ratio
  • Change in employment
  • Change in business establishments

You can find out more about the EIG, their methods, and this study at EIG.org.