Today, Detroit’s Black middle class is in decline. Barriers to economic mobility prevent many Detroiters from gaining a foothold into the middle class, while many of those who manage to enter the middle class leave the city in search of better access to quality employment, housing, and education.
Still, neighborhoods like the University District, Grandmont Rosedale and East English Village remain as Black middle-class strongholds. Other neighborhoods are beginning to redevelop a middle-class presence.
As some neighborhoods stabilize, begin to grow and see strategic investment, while others face challenges like population loss, what does the future look like for the city’s Black middle-class? What can Detroit learn from the past and how does it build an economically equitable future?
“Without a middle class, we will have a city only of rich and poor. There needs to be a real intent to create the kinds of places and conditions where the middle class wants to be,” said Anika Goss, Chief Executive Officer of Detroit Future City, which is underwriting this series.
In the past few years, DFC has released two reports - “Growing Detroit’s African-American Middle Class: The Opportunity for a Prosperous Detroit
,” outlining the current state of the city’s Black middle class, and challenges and policy options for stabilizing and growing it, and “The State of Economic Equity in Detroit
,” a comprehensive data report outlining the deep disparities and systemic inequality that persist in Detroit and the region, and proposing recommendations that will provide a path to prosperity for all residents in Detroit and the region.
This Model D and Metromode series aim to report on everyday Detroiters and their experiences as they live their lives and make choices about their neighborhoods, health, education, jobs, transportation, and other factors that relate to economic equity.
"We’re thrilled to build on Detroit Future City’s critical research to create a robust body of storytelling that will help animate and provide insight into Detroit’s opportunities for reclaiming its strong Black middle-class,” says Brian Boyle, CEO of Issue Media Group, which publishes Model D.
Tune in over the next 10 months as Model D and Metromode dive deep into understanding the city’s middle class -- past, present, and future.
Want to help out with the series? We’re looking for your insights into everyday Detroiters. Take our survey and a reporter will get in touch!