Growing Detroit’s African-American Middle Class: The Opportunity for a Prosperous Detroit

Detroit Future City

Detroit Future City is proud to introduce “Growing Detroit’s African-American Middle Class: The Opportunity for a Prosperous Detroit,” an in-depth look at the quantitative and qualitative aspects of African-American middle-class households and the value that the African-American middle class provides to communities.

Across the nation, there are more than 45 million middle-class households, of which 4.6 million are headed by African Americans. Detroit Future City (DFC) defines a middle-class household as one having an income between 80% and 200% of the national median household income. This translates to household incomes between $46,100 and $115,300 per year.

Detroit was especially important to the rise of the African-American middle class. Beginning in the early 1900s, Detroit, like many other major U.S. cities, became a magnet for African Americans, many of whom were moving north as part of the Great Migration in search of jobs. Although African-American manufacturing workers faced discrimination in hiring and promotions, Detroit’s economy still generated large numbers of good-paying jobs for blue-collar workers of all races.

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