Detroit Partnership on Economic Mobility

Despite the recent economic recovery in Detroit, there remain systemic challenges rooted in a history of racial discrimination and segregation in this City and many others across the U.S. As Mayor Mike Duggan emphasized in his 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference address, for Detroit to understand where it’s going, it must know where it’s been.

  • Detroit has a poverty rate nearly three times higher than the national average—roughly 35 percent.
  • In Detroit, the child poverty rate is even higher, at more than 50 percent.
  • Many families who are following the current path our nation has laid out for upward mobility are making no headway, and in too many cases, losing ground with each passing year.*

Under the Partnership on Economic Mobility the University of Michigan and the city of Detroit are joining forces to boost economic mobility and break the cycle of poverty in Detroit.

Top priorities of the partnership include:

  • Removing barriers to employment for city residents including transportation.
  • Leveraging U-M resources to enhance Detroit initiatives.
  • Providing research and analysis to build on current programs and pilot new ones.
  • Tracking and evaluating progress to measure overall impact of Detroit initiatives.

“We are beginning to make progress in reducing the rate of poverty in Detroit, but still have a long way to go,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “This partnership between the University of Michigan and the City will be a great help in our efforts to provide pathways out of poverty to our residents who are still struggling.”

A major part of Poverty Solution’s role will be to help the city define and analyze short and long-term metrics of economic mobility and to provide data for decision making. This could include aggregating and analyzing public information, leveraging the potential of local administrative data or fielding new surveys relevant to Detroiters. Analysis can be tailored to inform specific workforce development, housing, health, and transportation efforts.

The all-encompassing partnership draws in the departments of health, workforce, housing and revitalization and others in the city and a number of units at U-M including the School of Public Health, Ford School of Public Policy, School of Social Work, Michigan Medicine, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Michigan Engineering/Urban Collaboratory, the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, Ross School of Business, and the Institute for Social Research.

Current projects in Detroit (PDF)

* Sampling of projects in Detroit. Not inclusive of every U-M project in Detroit.