The Costs of Racial Inequity

The Detroit region is one of the most innovative and diverse regions in the nation. Its 300,000 plus businesses employ 2.5 million people and drive a regional annual GDP of $279 billion, which is greater than 29 states.

However, it has never reached its full potential and prosperity because of systemic inequities and government policies that provided opportunities to white people but not to Black people and other people of color, and attitudes that held Black people as less than white people.

While slavery was America’s original sin, subsequent government decisions, business bias, and overt and unconscious racist attitudes of individuals have since prevented many Black people from the opportunity to accumulate generational wealth and live the full American experience. This section shares statistics highlighting the costs of racial inequity and hint at the prosperity the region could achieve if it addressed racial justice and economic equity.

RJEE Data and Research Intro
Data Household Income
Data Inmate Population
Data Bachelors Degrees
Data Poverty Rate
Total Population Detroit MSA

As the Black Lives Matter movement helps focus attention on addressing the racism against Black people, leaders in other minority communities are supporting Black Lives Matter while raising awareness about addressing discrimination against other minorities and women that also requires attention to achieve a more inclusive, welcoming region.

A Timeline of Discrimination and Missed Opportunities

As the U.S. ramped up the Arsenal of Democracy in World War II, an estimated 200,000 migrants came to Detroit exacerbating housing shortages and racial tensions. As America built the 20th century middle class and shook off the economic pain of the Great Depression, prosperity and wealth accumulation unfolded on a supremely unlevel playing field. These inequities perpetuated the economic inequalities at the heart of today’s social justice movement and the racism it seeks to end. Explore the full timeline here.

Timeline Discrimination Missed Opportunities
Chamber-racial justice and equity efforts

Learn how the Chamber is committed to racial justice and economic equity.