The Top 9 Takeaways from Detroit’s State of the Region Report

The Detroit Regional Chamber has released its fourth-annual State of the Region report, which provides an economic, educational, social and civic overview of the 11-county region, along with comparisons against peer and national benchmarks. 

“This past year was a year of tremendous growth. The renaissance in Detroit — and the region — is private sector led, technology focused and sustainable,” writes Sandy K. Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, in his foreword.

Here are the highlights*:

I. Residential Construction

Detroit’s residential real estate construction growth rate since 2011 is:

  • 127.5%.
  • 4th among peer regions.
  • Up 4.9% year over year.
  • 21.9% greater than the national average.

Detroit's residential real estate construction growth rate since 2011 is fourth among peers

II. Income

Detroit’s per capita income growth rate since 2011 is:

  • 20.6%.
  • 2nd among peer regions.
  • Up 6.2% year over year.
  • 4.1% greater than the national average.

Detroit's per capita income growth rate since 2011 is second among peer regions

III. Employment

In the Detroit region, unemployment decreased from 16.7% in 2009 to 4.6% in 2017, matching the national average in July.

In the Detroit region, unemployment decreased from 16.7% in 2009 to 4.6% in 2017, matching the national average in July

IV. Home Values

Detroit’s media home value growth rate since 2011 is:

  • 36%.
  • 1st among peer regions.
  • Up 6.4% year over year.
  • Nearly double the national average.

Detroit's median home value growth rate since 2011 is first among peer regions

[BONUS: In spite of the rapid growth in area home values, Forbes still considers Detroit the most undervalued housing market in America.]

V. Public Transportation

Nearly 45-million trips were taken on the Detroit region’s four public transport systems in 2016, representing a 5.1% increase year over year.

In May 2017, Detroit opened the QLine to the public, linking downtown Detroit to New Center. During its four-month free-ride promotion, the $140-million system reported more than 500,000 riders; and ridership is expected to reach 1.8 million during the first full reporting year (September 2017 – September 2018).

The QLine in Detroit, connecting communities across the City

VI. Venture Capital

As of the time of this report, there were 141 venture-backed companies in Michigan, representing an increase of 48% over the last five years.

[BONUS: As noted by Forbes on July 10, 2017, “In metro Detroit, entrepreneurial development and venture capital investment is surging,” providing the fuel for further economic growth in the region.” In the last three years, there’s been a 50% increase in Detroit-based startups, and in 2016 two-thirds of startups receiving venture capital were in sectors that would be considered non-traditional for the area: information technology (43%); and the life sciences (23%).]

VII. Exports

In 2016, Detroit exported more than $42 billion in goods. It’s the 6th largest export market in the country.

Detroit is the 6th largest exporter in the U.S.

VIII. Mobility

Michigan ranks 1st in the nation in connected and automated vehicle projects (49), as well as mobility-related patents (2,583).

IX. Auto Meets Tech

Michigan automakers and suppliers are actively partnering with tech companies in research and development, and in the last year:

  • FCA US LLC partnered with Google to produce self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans.
  • Ford Motor Co. launched Ford Smart Mobility LLC to design, build and invest in emerging mobility services.
  • GM invested $500 million in Lyft for a self-driving partnership.
  • Uber announced plans to develop a new technology facility in metro Detroit.
  • Techstars Mobility opened in Detroit as the first North American startup accelerator program focused on mobility technologies.

Detroit, the next Silicon Valley

* Statistics are sourced from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, unless otherwise noted.

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