The drivers behind Detroit’s recovery are as complex, diverse and multi-layered as the city itself. From large-scale industry to thriving neighborhood small businesses and entrepreneurial endeavors, the city’s renewal continues to build.

The 2018 Detroit Reinvestment Index measures perceptions of Detroit and the city’s turnaround among three audiences: National Business Leaders, Detroit Metro-Area Entrepreneurs and Detroit Metro-Area Consumers, the newest demographic to be surveyed. This year’s dataset expands from overall impressions of Detroit’s rebound to also include Consumers’ attitudes about commercial corridors and community revitalization in Detroit.

Confidence in Detroit’s economic rebound remains high. This year’s index illuminates a powerful increase in the strength of positive sentiment towards Detroit. The three audiences surveyed display overwhelming confidence in Detroit’s recovery as well as the city’s ability to become a great American city again.

84% of National Business Leaders

92% of Detroit Entrepreneurs

94% of Detroit Residents

Perceptions about Detroit’s small businesses and the city’s culture of entrepreneurialism are also on the rise.


of Detroit Entrepreneurs would recommend opening a small business in Detroit.

Consumers appreciate the evident increase in Detroit’s small business and entrepreneurial activity over the past decade.

79% of Metro-Area Consumers believe that the retail offerings in Detroit are better now than 10 years ago.

88% Detroit Entrepreneurs think that retail offerings in the city are better today than in the past decade.

Respondents say small business is at the core of neighborhood revitalization


of Detroit Entrepreneurs agree small businesses in the Detroit Metro Area have been at the core of the revitalization of the city.

Looking ahead, consumers living in Detroit believe that vibrant neighborhood-based retail offerings are significant elements of neighborhood revitalization. A well-functioning and safe community, in their view, must have access to diverse, unique and authentic retail experiences.


of Detroiters believe it is important to have a thriving retail district in or near their neighborhood.


of Detroiters agree it’s important to live in a walkable neighborhood.

Nearly all Detroiters – over 90% of them – agree that development and improvement of commercial corridors should be prioritized to ensure a successful renaissance of the city of Detroit.

Detroiters want to see more retail opportunities in their city. Twenty-seven percent of Detroit residents indicated that retail options in Detroit do not meet the needs of Detroiters. Residents are looking for retail offerings that provide convenience, selection and connection to the community.

Consumers and Detroit Entrepreneurs believe that revitalizing neighborhoods should be a top priority and the key benefit of revitalization is that it will foster a greater sense of safety and security among Detroit residents.

While opportunities exist, many Detroiters were quick to identify neighborhood and retail improvements they feel proud of—from reinvestments in Eastern Market to commercial growth in Livernois-McNichols. The next phase of Detroit’s revitalization is one infused with a renewed sense of purpose and planning around commercial corridors and their role in reinvigorating Detroit’s growing neighborhoods.

Methodology Note: The 2018 Detroit Reinvestment Index, third in the series, measures perceptions of Detroit among three audiences: National Business Leaders (N=300), Detroit Metro-Area Entrepreneurs (N= 307) and Detroit Metro-Area Consumers (N=506.) FTI Consulting conducted a yearly tracking survey among National Business Leaders, Detroit Entrepreneurs as well as a separate survey among Consumers focusing on their retail experience in Detroit. This survey was conducted online and was launched in November 2017. FTI additionally conducted four 90-minute focus groups among Consumers who visit the retail districts throughout Detroit.