In the Media

Detroit’s economy is growing. But who’s getting the jobs?

August 29, 2017

Nancy Kaffer, from the Detroit Free Press, examines Detroit’s population and job opportunities, using data from Detroit Future City’s 139 Square Miles report.

Detroit’s economy is growing. But who’s getting the jobs?
By: Nancy Kaffer
Detroit Free Press
August 29, 2017

Detroit still struggles to define who its resurgence is for, or how the influx of new jobs and residents to downtown and Midtown effect longtime Detroiters.

Drive outside the 7.2 miles of downtown and Midtown, or outside the handful of stable and rebounding neighborhoods, and the trope of two Detroits – one booming, the other distressed and struggling — is undeniable.

Population and jobs numbers included in the most recent report from Detroit Future City, a nonprofit that’s developed a strategic framework for land use in the city, offer a stark look at how far Detroit has come, and how far we have yet to go.

Detroit’s jobs-to-population ratio has increased, from 25 jobs per 100 residents in 2010 to 30 jobs for every 100 residents now. That’s a promising improvement.

But there’s another revealing measure. Of the jobs in the city, 33% are held by African Americans. That’s down from 2010, when 36% of the jobs inside Detroit were held by African Americans. Because Detroit is 80% black, it’s fair, when looking at these metrics, to use race as a stand-in for residency.

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