Global Detroit Blog

Immigration a Powerful Force For Revitalizing Detroit’s Neighborhoods, Global Detroit Study Shows



August 4, 2021

Contact: Kristin Palm

Cell: 313-618-2651


Immigration a powerful force for revitalizing Detroit’s neighborhoods, Global Detroit study shows

New research has national implications, shows positive impacts for new and long-time residents

Welcoming and supporting immigrants is a concrete, highly effective strategy to stabilize and revitalize disinvested neighborhoods with tangible benefits to both new and long-term residents, a new study from Global Detroit shows. “Building Inclusive Cities: Immigration and Neighborhood Change in Detroit” details the results of a two-year study of the impacts of rapid immigration growth in two Detroit neighborhoods: Banglatown/East Davison Village and Chadsey Condon.

The research offers insight into the reasons immigrants are drawn to the Detroit region and to these neighborhoods, and details the assets, strategies and resources they have used to thrive in their new communities. One of the first studies ever to look at the impacts of rapid immigration growth on neighborhoods and long-term residents, the findings have implications far beyond Detroit, and could be applied to many post-industrial cities across the U.S. The study was conducted by Global Detroit in partnership with nationally renowned researcher Alan Mallach and Data Driven Detroit, and with funding from the Hudson-Webber Foundation.

“Detroit is an official Welcoming City because Detroiters recognize the importance of helping immigrant families and business owners continue to put down roots in our city,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “There is strength in diversity, and this study makes it clear the tremendous positive impact immigrants make strengthening our neighborhoods and our city.” 

The study evaluated a range of data pertaining to residential stability, housing market activity, public safety and other “quality of life” indicators in Banglatown/East Davison Village and Chadsey Condon, and compared this data to citywide metrics. In addition to statistical analysis, the researchers engaged 250 residents, business owners and community leaders through interviews and focus groups, and supplemented that information with planning documents, research studies and insight from Global Detroit’s more than 10 years of experience working in Detroit’s immigrant neighborhoods.

Through these methods, the study found:

  • Both neighborhoods experienced population growth—stabilizing from years of population loss—while citywide population numbers continued to decline.
  • In both neighborhoods, residents felt the quality of life and safety in their neighborhood was improving. Their responses were more positive than those of residents in the city as a whole.
  • Property tax delinquencies and tax foreclosures were significantly lower in both neighborhoods and had dropped rapidly over the years studied, as compared to the city as a whole.
  • Both neighborhoods show signs of real estate market vitality, something relatively unique among working-class, low-income neighborhoods in Detroit. Much of the market activity in these two neighborhoods takes place outside the formal banking and mortgage financial systems, utilizing family and community networks within immigrant communities.
  • Housing vacancies are significantly lower in both neighborhoods, compared to the city as a whole. Eviction rates in both neighborhoods are one-third that of the city as a whole.
  • Crime and fire rates are significantly lower in both neighborhoods, as compared to the city as a whole, and have fallen faster than in other places in the city.
  • Significant retail business growth has occurred, especially along Conant Avenue in the Banglatown neighborhood, including extensive revitalization of formerly vacant stores.

“Immigrants’ contributions to Detroit are immense. They have helped make our city one of the greatest in the world,” said Detroit City Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López. “Global Detroit’s research clearly shows the tremendous value immigrants bring to Detroit at the neighborhood level. It is important to do all we can in local government to help immigrants establish strong networks within their neighborhoods and access the resources and opportunities to help them build wealth and thrive.”

The study offers valuable findings about what has drawn recent immigrants to Detroit, as well as trends around employment, housing and business ownership. Drawing on these insights, the study concludes with several policy recommendations for supporting immigrant families and business owners on their path to prosperity. While focused on immigrant inclusion, the recommendations are designed to make programs and resources more accessible to all Detroiters.

One key finding of the study is that for Detroit and other legacy cities to fully benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to neighborhoods and the impacts that can accrue to long-term residents, decisionmakers need to be intentional about creating social cohesion among and between the different racial and ethnic groups that make up the city.

“This study illustrates in clear terms that immigrant inclusion is a win-win proposition for Detroit and post-industrial cities across the U.S.,” said Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit’s executive director. “It is imperative that we create and revamp policies and programs across our city, state and nation to make them more accessible to our ever-growing numbers of immigrant neighbors. At the same time, it is important to continue to honor the many contributions the long-time, largely African American residents in Detroit and other legacy cities have made to their cities and neighborhoods. Our research demonstrates a need to strengthen bonds between newer immigrant and long-time residents in order to create neighborhoods that foster prosperity and well-being for all.”

“Building Inclusive Cities: Immigration and Neighborhood Change in Detroit” is available online at Global Detroit has shared the report with policymakers, community and economic development organizations and immigrant inclusion organizations, locally and nationally, as well as with residents in the two neighborhoods studied.

Global Detroit will host a webinar to discuss the findings on August 19 from 1-2:30pm ET. The webinar will feature report authors Steve Tobocman and Alan Mallach, along with Anika Goss, CEO of Detroit Future City. They will discuss the implications of this groundbreaking report for Detroit and legacy cities across the U.S. Eva Millona, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement, will provide opening remarks about the contributions that immigrants make to America and the importance of supporting their integration and engaging communities. Register at


Global Detroit is a regional economic and community development organization. With a focus on immigrants and global talent, Global Detroit develops and implements inclusive strategies to drive the growth, revitalization and broadly shared prosperity of Detroit and Southeast Michigan. For more information, visit