New Study Documents Immigrant Homeownership Potential in Detroit


Contact: Steve Tobocman 

February 20, 2019 

Cell: (313) 516-9681 


New Study Documents Immigrant Homeownership Potential in Detroit

Linking immigrants to housing opportunities can strengthen Detroit’s neighborhoods

Detroit, Michigan – Global Detroit today released a study that chronicles new potential for stabilizing Detroit neighborhoods. According to survey research, immigrant Detroiters are every bit as eager to become homeowners as non-immigrant residents. The study, “Immigrant Housing in Detroit,” sheds light on barriers that may explain lower homeownership rates among immigrant Detroiters, including significantly less awareness of credit scores and lower usage of bank accounts. Global Detroit has called for increased investment and outreach in connecting immigrant Detroiters with financial literacy training, coaching, and resources as a means for expanding homeownership.

“We are working every day to build a Detroit that welcomes everyone and gives longstanding Detroiters, immigrants, and newcomers the opportunities to build the American Dream right here in our city,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Global Detroit’s research highlights how investing in residents can help us rebuild our neighborhoods one family and one house at a time.”

The new homeownership study follows research conducted in 2016 on the home-buying potential of immigrant families in 23 Rust Belt cities. That study, conducted with the Fiscal Policy Institute and released by the Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network documented how immigrants were the only growing source of population in most Rust Belt cities and, based on existing rental patterns and incomes, had higher potential to afford a new home. While, individually, immigrants have lower incomes that non-immigrant Detroiters, their households tend to have more wage- earners per household, giving immigrant families slightly higher household incomes and resources for homeownership.

”The only significant growing source of population in Detroit and Southeast Michigan, like most places in the Midwest and many across America, is through immigration,” said Steve Tobocman, Executive Director of Global Detroit and one of the study’s principal authors. “Our research indicates that building more inclusive financial literacy, budgeting, banking, and homeownership programs will pay tremendous dividends for increasing homeownership in Detroit.”

The study was conducted through in-person and online surveys of 200 residents. Volunteers and Global Detroit staff canvassed door-to-door with surveys, attended block club and neighborhood group meetings and events, as well as church and mosque services, financial literacy workshops, English as Second Language (ESL) classes, and resource fairs. Surveys were attained from residents who live in downtown, Midtown, North End, neighborhoods along the riverfront, and some respondents across farther out parts of the city, particularly in areas close to surrounding municipalities. The geographic dispersion of survey respondents was representative of the larger distribution of residents across the city.

A regional economic development initiative focused on immigrant potential, Global Detroit has demonstrated how inclusive practices can improve outcomes in entrepreneurship and talent programs and plans to utilize the study’s results to advocate for inclusive practices in financial literacy, homeownership, and other asset-building endeavors.

The study can be downloaded at

About Global Detroit
Global Detroit is revitalizing Metro Detroit’s economy by mobilizing its immigrant potential. A 2016 national Renewal Award winner and 2017 TechTown Small Business Champion Award, Global Detroit is nationally recognized as an innovator and expert in leveraging international talent to fill regional businesses’ unmet talent needs, catalyzing the growth and development of immigrant entrepreneurs, revitalizing neighborhoods, and building a global region with competitive advantages in job creation, business growth, and community development.

Global Detroit has launched leading-edge programs in international student talent retention, professional talent connection, immigrant entrepreneurship, and neighborhood
revitalization. Global Detroit has spearheaded the creation of the Welcoming Economies Global Network (WE Global), an eleven-state regional collaborative of more than 20 peer local immigrant economic development initiatives across the Rust Belt. For more information,