Poverty Level in Detroit Drops for Third Straight Year; 45,000 Detroiters Move Out of Poverty Since 2015

  • Detroit median household income up more than 20% since 2015
  • Sustained poverty reduction coincides with city’s Detroiter employment efforts

  • Mayor says progress is encouraging, but much more work to be done

DETROIT - New U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today show that poverty in Detroit dropped for the third straight year in 2018 as 45,000 Detroiters moved out of poverty during that time. Just as encouraging, Detroit household income grew 20% in three years – almost doubling statewide household income growth during this period.

“In January 2015, the Mayor retooled the city’s employment strategies to focus on in-demand job sectors, and since then, we’ve seen sustained employment growth,” said Nicole Sherard-Freeman, Executive Director of Workforce Development. “We’ll continue to focus on creating good opportunities for Detroiters to keep reducing poverty and building our city’s middle class.”

The U.S Census Bureau report on poverty level in Detroit:

  • 2015 - 39.8%
  • 2016 - 35.7%
  • 2017 - 34.5%
  • 2018 - 33.4%

The report released today also showed that the total number of Detroiters living below the poverty level decreased from 265,000 in 2015 to 220,000 in 2018, reflecting 45,000 residents moving out of poverty in that time.

Poverty reduction tracks with city’s job placement efforts

From 2015 to 2018, median household income across the state of Michigan grew by 11 percent. During this same period, Detroit median household income grew by 20.4 percent:

  • 2015 - $25,980
  • 2016 - $28,666
  • 2017 - $30,344
  • 2018 - $31,283

“Three straight years of progress is a good start,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “But if we can continue our success in bringing new jobs to Detroit and to train Detroiters to fill those jobs, our future is bright.” 

Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released statistics showing more Detroiters were employed in July than any month over the last decade, with the number of employed Detroiters exceeding 230,000 for the first time since December 2009.

The estimates come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey (ACS), which randomly targets addresses each year to ensure a geographically representative sample