Back to the Basics: Reviewing Southeastern Michigan’s Core Data

Drawing Detroit provides weekly updates on socioeconomic data related to Southeastern Michigan and beyond. By taking publicly available data, presenting it in easy digestible formats such as maps and charts and analyzing that data we are providing a deep understanding of the structure of our region. Understanding how the population of our region changes on an annual basis is vital in shaping public policy, determining long-term infrastructure investment and how a person and community can be successful. For example, population migration data on where people are moving to and from sheds light on where jobs are and where taxpayer dollars will be going. Educational attainment data highlights where greater investment is needed to ensure student success and access to educational opportunities; educational attainment also plays a role in a family’s median income. As we as a society work to improve, knowing and understanding the data that shows what short and long-term paths we are on will only help us in reaching our goals. This is why Drawing Detroit will provide annual updates on select data sets, to show where we as a region sit  

Topics that we will provide updates and dates into annually include: 


Population data is essential for planning purposes. Knowing how many people live in an area, whether the population is on an upward or downward trajectory and what age and sex ratios makeup the population help determine infrastructure, school, housing and other community needs. It also determines representation from the government. 

Race and Ethnicity 

Data on a population’s race and ethnicity guides equal and equitable public policy and access to everyday needs. We know we live in a society where racism exists, access to jobs, educational opportunities, housing and so much more is often made more difficult because of the color of a person’s skin. By knowing where those gaps of inequities are we can work to remedy them, but we must first acknowledge they exist. 

Income and Poverty

Income data is a reflection of an area’s economic well-being, which ties directly to job and job training availabilities, educational attainment and access to housing, food and healthcare. Income data is also directly related to determining poverty levels. 

Education and Educational Attainment

Education and educational attainment data helps create opportunities for students by providing greater insight into what subject matters may need more attention in the curriculum to allow for student success. It also highlights where the gaps and barriers may be for students to reach certain levels of education, which plays a role in the type of careers they may have, what their average income may be and the overall economic well-being of the area they live in. 

Other areas of importance that we will update annually are:

  • Percent of vacant housing stock
  • Gun violence/deaths 
  • Traffic deaths 
  • Deaths caused by major health factors (heart disease, cancer, etc.)
  • State revenue sharing amounts and communities’ tax bases 

All of this data, and much more, is invaluable in understanding where we as a society, a community, a region stand and how we can move forward. The graphs displayed above show where the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan are in relation to these key data points as of 2019, according to Census data. For example, the data shows that Wayne County has the highest percentage of black residents in the region but the lowest levels of educational attainment, the lowest median age and the lowest median income. Wayne County also has the highest percentage of individuals living in poverty. We know all of these factors play into one another, and by keeping track of this data we can work toward better standards of living through education on the subject matter, changes in public policy and programming.

Have other topics you feel should be updated and discussed at least annually? Let us know by emailing

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