The city of Detroit still is unsure who its resurgence is for or how the affluence of new jobs and residens in the downtown area as well as the Midtown area would affect Detroiters in the long run.
Go drive around the downtown and Midtown – in about 7.2 miles away, or just outside a handful and stable neighborhoods, and the trope of two Detroits – you will find one is booming, while the other is struggling or distressed. This is an undeniable fact.
According to the Detroit Future City, a non-profit organization that has developed a strategic framework for land use in the city, the population and job numbers offer a grim look at how far Detroit has come and how far it still has to go.
There is a promising improvement though, Detroit’s population has increased from 25 jobs per 100 residents back in 2010 to 30 jobs for every 100 residents now. However, there is another revealing measure of the jobs in the city – 33% are help by African Americas (this is actually a decrease from the 36% in 2010). The reason why we say it has decreased in this area, it is because Detroit’s residents are 80% black.
It might be likely that the number of suburban jobs may have moved into the city, which may be the reason it has boosted 30-100 ratio. If a suburban business goes downtwn, it is not hiring a number of new positions – those jobs are held by employees who moved with the company. It does not mean it is a bad thing, in fact, non-residence who are working in Detroit do pay taxes at 1.2%. In addition, Detroit-based employers are expected to withhold those taxes, so collection rates are high.
Let’s focus on the good stuff: suburban employers move downtown = more people with work in Detroit and that means, more people are paying taxes as well as patronizing businesses.
However, this is not enough because with those numbers, it just tells us that Detroit’s growth is focused on downtown and Midtown, it does not really mean more jobs for Detroiters. This is just one metric – an important one at that.
What could be the reason why those jobs, those company relocations and expansions did not result in a widespread employment for Detroiters. This is quite complicated. Here is the reason:
22% of Detroiters are lacking high school diploma
33% have a high school diploma or a GED
7% only have an associate’s degree
13% have a bachelor’s degree or higher
The data above is based on a research conducted by the Detroit Future City.
Those companies that were hired to build a new hockey arean stated that they cannot find sufficient Detroit residents with experience in the skilled trades to be able to meet the city-mandated hiring quotas for the construction of the projects.
If there is no significant policy change, then you can expect those trends to continue. What needs to really happen here is to have a comprehensive program, but we all know that this could be quite expensive.
Here’s a snippet of the article from the Detroit Free Press:
“Growth and redevelopment centered in midtown and downtown for organic reasons. Most simply, each area has resources — like major employers, educational institutions or hospitals — that attracted investment.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and city planner Maurice Cox believe the same kind of strategies can benefit other Detroit neighborhoods — like Fitzgerald in northwest Detroit, where more than $4 million will rehabilitate 115 vacant houses and create a new park and other amenities — chosen in part because of nearby anchor institutions like like Marygrove College and the University of Detroit-Mercy. It’s a pilot program, one intended to serve as proof of concept that targeted investment can bear results outside Detroit’s urban core.
Likewise, Cox hopes to direct investment to the city’s commercial corridors — outside of midtown and downtown — in an intentional manner, bolstering existing business districts.
It’s the kind of patient planning Detroit requires — and more of it — to close the chasm between the Detroit that is, and the Detroit we need to be. “
Detroit still has a long ways to go, but in due time, and if certain steps are to take place, then it would be ideal or people from Detroit to expect an improvement in the years to come.