As Detroit continues to evolve, residents’ opinions need to be part of the conversation about the city’s future. Since 2016, University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study (DMACS) has used a representative city-wide survey to help bridge the gap between Detroit officials and residents whose voices may not always be heard in public discussions. Insights from each wave of the survey can inform city policies and community programming to produce better outcomes for Detroit residents. DMACS is supported by a partnership between Poverty Solutions and the Population Studies Center at U-M.
Despite some signs of an economic resurgence in Detroit, city residents still face systemic challenges rooted in a history of racial discrimination and segregation.
- Detroit has a poverty rate of roughly 30%, nearly three times higher than the national average.
- In Detroit, the child poverty rate is even higher, at more than 43%.
- Though Detroit experienced a strong economic recovery after the Great Recession, the city’s unemployment rate remained above the national average in 2021, and only 55% of working-age adults are participating in the labor force.
The Partnership on Economic Mobility between Poverty Solutions and the City of Detroit is a joint effort to identify and implement concrete, evidence-based strategies that significantly improve economic opportunity and reduce poverty in Detroit.
Partnership projects pair staff and U-M scholars with the leadership of city departments and community-based organizations, to conduct action-based research that informs program and policy change, and galvanizes collective action on critical economic mobility issues.
U-M partners with the City to serve four critical roles:
- Advise city officials on evidence-based strategies to enhance economic mobility,
- Provide technical support and data analysis in the implementation of mobility initiatives,
- Evaluate city initiatives to measure both short and long-term impacts on economic mobility, and
- Offer evidence-based policy analysis at the city, state, and federal level.
We also partner with a broad network of community-based organizations across the city, to identify and conduct research on the most intractable challenges faced by Detroit residents, in the hopes of providing the knowledge needed to help solve those challenges. Learn more about community engagement projects in Detroit.