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.

  • Detroit has a poverty rate nearly three times higher than the national average—roughly 35%.
  • In Detroit, the child poverty rate is even higher, at more than 50%.
  • Many families 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.*

The Partnership on Economic Mobility (PDF) 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 already are underway pairing dozens of U-M experts with the leadership of city departments including health, workforce, housing and revitalization, jobs and economy, and police.

U-M partners with the city to serve three critical roles:

  • Advise city officials on evidence-based strategies to enhance the economic mobility of Detroiters;
  • Provide technical support and data analysis in the implementation of mobility initiatives; and
  • Evaluate city initiatives to measure both short and long-term impacts on economic mobility, using publicly available data, city administrative resources, and resident surveys.

“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 Solutions’ 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.

Request for Proposals and Ideas

As part of the Detroit Partnership on Economic Mobility, Poverty Solutions is soliciting ideas for collaborative research projects between the city of Detroit and University of Michigan faculty and staff, designed to directly inform city efforts to alleviate poverty and promote economic mobility. Project ideas can be pitched by City of Detroit staff or U-M faculty and staff by filling out the brief RFP/I application below. Any idea is welcome, so long as it aligns with our collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and promote economic mobility in Detroit.

Learn more about submitting proposals and ideas. Ready to submit? Fill out this Google Form.