Metropolitan Detroit Race Equity Report

New Detroit finds “pervasive” divide between the races in southeast Michigan – Issues first Metropolitan Detroit Race Equity Report

New Detroit, Inc. reported demographic data from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, documenting a “very definite and substantial divide between the races in the Detroit region.”

The coalition of leaders from throughout the region issued a report that documents significant gaps between racial and ethnic groups throughout the tri-county area in basic categories such as educational achievement, income, home ownership and business ownership.

“It is a pervasive divide, present in all three counties and in Detroit,” the report, entitled the Metropolitan Detroit Race Equity Report, said.

“At New Detroit our central goal is achieving a time when race is no longer an issue in this region and no longer an obstacle to progress for our city, region and state,” said New Detroit President and CEO Shirley Stancato. “This inaugural report shows in vivid detail that we are far from achieving that goal. At the same time, it offers examples of hope in the form of local initiatives that are in fact, achieving real success in closing the gap that exists.”

“This report is a snapshot in time that can help us to better understand the tri-county area today and identify initiatives and programs that can truly help to close the gaps that are highlighted throughout the report. And, it can help to generate conversations and change old assumptions as we move forward.”

Data used in the report was compiled from the U. S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey with the assistance of Data Driven Detroit, a Detroit-based non-profit that provides accessible, high-quality information and analysis to drive informed decision-making. In addition, New Detroit collaborated with ACCESS for information specific to the Arab and Chaldean communities because data for those communities is not broken out by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report indicates that the overall picture in the region has changed in recent decades because there has been significant growth in the Hispanic/Latino population in that time. But it said every measurement shows a gap between the Hispanic/Latino population and white population and between the American Indian/Alaskan Native population and white population is similar to the gap between the African American population and white population throughout the region. The report also shows Asians/Pacific Islanders in Detroit lag behind their counterparts in Macomb and Oakland counties.

In Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties and in Detroit, the report showed, African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaskan Native lag far behind their white counterparts in educational attainment, in household income, in per capita income and in home ownership.

The most dramatic difference comes in the category of home ownership. In Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, roughly 80 percent of whites own their own home. But only 50 percent of African Americans in Macomb County, 45 percent of African Americans in Oakland County and 34 percent of African Americans in Wayne County own their own home. Hispanics/Latinos and American Indians/Alaskan Natives, while posting slightly higher home ownership numbers than African Americans, still fall far behind their white counterparts.

The separation also extends to housing patterns, the report said, resulting in the fact that “in this region, for the most part, racial and ethnic groups live separately. A look at housing patterns in the tri-county area reveals that the vast majority of residents live in neighborhoods with a preponderance of people who look like them.”

The separation of housing along racial lines is underscored by another statistic: 55.8 percent of workers employed in Detroit are white but only 19.4 percent of workers living in Detroit are white. Conversely, 38.7 percent of those working in Detroit are African American, but 77.1 percent of workers who live in Detroit are African American. Thus, the numbers show that a large number of African Americans who live in the city are working outside of the city, while a large number of white workers who work in the city live outside its borders.

Stancato said the report “is not intended to simply present data on the separation between the races or to suggest there is no hope of closing the gap that continues to persist. There are commendable efforts underway in metropolitan Detroit to close this gap. Some of those efforts are highlighted in the report as examples for others to emulate.”