Our Research

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Our Research

Global Detroit began with a study on the powerful impacts that immigrants have on the regional economy. In the decade since, we have and continue to produce an extensive body of research related to the economic impacts of immigrants, as well as recommendations for inclusive strategies for our cities, regions, states and nation. 

The Power of Trusted Connectors in Micro-Enterprise Development 


At the core of Global Detroit’s work to assist immigrant small business entrepreneurs in securing grants, loans and technical assistance is our “trusted connectors” program in which we pay local residents and community organizations to connect entrepreneurs in underserved communities to small business opportunities. This report documents the use of trusted connectors as a best practice for building access and inclusion into small business programs across the country, highlighting their use in several models. The report includes an analysis of the qualities and activities of effective trusted connectors, as well as potential metrics for evaluating their impacts. The report is designed to assist small business support organizations, microloan funds, philanthropic and corporate funders, economic development agencies and others seeking to expand access and equity in small business programs. We hope the report leads to a new network of trusted connectors programs and serves as inspiration to further research, promote and deploy this powerful practice.


300,000 Michigan Kids are from Immigrant Families

Community College Programs Key to Their Success

According to the “High School Kids in Immigrant Families” study commissioned by Global Detroit, 300,000 Michigan kids live in immigrant families, where at least one person was born outside the U.S. Of these, 70,000 are Michigan high school students — 15% of all Michigan high schoolers — including 17,000 in each graduating class over the next four years. Conducted by the Immigration Research Initiative (IRI) and the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), and funded by Global Detroit, the study reinforces the need to create pathways for immigrants seeking postsecondary education and brings to light the increasingly important role community colleges play in serving international, immigrant, refugee, and first-generation students.


International Student Talent in the Michigan Workforce

A Growing Solution to the STEM Talent Gap

The number of international student graduates entering the Michigan workforce has grown exponentially in the last two decades and offers Michigan employers a significant opportunity to expand their talent pools, especially around high-skilled STEM positions. This report uses data that has never been assembled before to analyze all the international students attending Michigan colleges and universities and/or working on OPT in Michigan from 2004-2016, and draws important conclusions about the potential for international students to meet Michigan’s growing talent needs and shortages, especially around high-skilled STEM posision. This study was created in partnership with One Magnify and Pew Research Center, and was generously sponsored by Fakhoury Global Immigration and OpTech LLC. (Sept 2022)


Global EIR Pilot Program Evaluation 

Pilot Program External Assessment prepared by Growth Capital Network.

In 2022, Global Detroit commissioned an external impact evaluation of our pilot Global EIR program at the University of Michigan, which conducted by Growth Capital Networks. The evaluation produced important findings about the program’s impact to date.



Building Inclusive Cities

Immigration and Neighborhood Change in Detroit

This report details the results of a two-year study of the impacts of rapid immigration growth in two Detroit neighborhoods, concluding that 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. One of the first studies ever to look at the impacts of rapid immigration growth on neighborhoods and long-term residents, the findings could be applied to many post-industrial cities across the U.S. The study was conducted by Global Detroit in partnership with Alan Mallach and Data Driven Detroit. (Summer 2021)

DOWNLOAD THE OVERVIEW      English  |  Arabic  |  Bangla  |  Spanish 

Immigrant Housing in Detroit

According to survey research, immigrant Detroiters are every bit as eager to become homeowners as non-immigrant residents. This study 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. The study indicates that building more inclusive financial literacy, budgeting, banking, and homeownership programs will pay tremendous dividends for increasing homeownership in Detroit. (2018)


The Economic Impact of Refugees in Southeast Michigan

Michigan has been the fourth largest destination state for refugees over the last decade. Global Detroit’s research documents that these new Michiganders have been a source of strength to the Michigan economy.  The study conservatively estimates total annual economic impact of refugees to be between $229.6 million and $295.3 million in new spending, along with between 1,798 and 2,311 new jobs, in 2016 alone, from the over 21,000 refugees in resettled into Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties between 2007-2016. (2017)


Global Detroit Founding Research Report

In 2010, Global Detroit was launched with a thorough study and action plan developed with funding from the New Economy Initiative, Detroit Regional Chamber and Skillman Foundation and with a 34-member steering committee. Based on more than 100 interviews with economic, community and industry leaders both in Southeast Michigan and experts across the country, the study focused on 11 strategies to build a strong regional economy through the intentional inclusion of immigrants and global talent. The study was the foundation upon which Global Detroit and related immigrant-inclusive economic development programs were launched.


Connections are the key to making our work happen.