Economy, Education, Equity

Introducing the State of the Detroit Child Data Tool

Across our city and throughout our neighborhoods parents, community leaders, and city officials alike are working hard to create a Detroit where every child thrives. But information that shows how a community is stacking up or falling behind can be complex, and access is often limited for those closest to issues and best able to develop solutions.

Compounding this, for too long we have used data to admire the problems our city faces rather than to examine pockets of hope and drive change. And when change is revered, it is most often in relation to physical and economic development: new restaurants, new construction, and new jobs. While important indicators of progress, they lack a critical success factor that underlies everything we are working towards as a city: Without a comprehensive picture of how our community’s children are doing, our turnaround is far more fragile than we may realize.

What we’re missing is a clear trend line and understanding of progress. For instance, in education across all Detroit schools, high school graduation rates have increased by eight percent from 2008-2015. What if community organizers could see these trend lines as fast as the information was available?

That’s why the Skillman Foundation has partnered with Data Driven Detroit (D3) to bring open, user-friendly access to the information that matters most to ensuring Detroit is first and foremost a city for children. The goal of the State of the Detroit Child data platform, live now in Beta mode, is to provide reliable, timely data to improve the well-being of Detroit’s kids by driving informed decision making and advocacy at every level, from policymakers, foundations and nonprofit organizations to individuals and families.

The State of the Detroit Child tool provides a comprehensive view of Detroit children from birth to age 18. It leverages data from the highly granular (census tract and zip code) to the broad (city of Detroit and statewide) and displays information through interactive visualizations that make progress and declines easy to understand. From third-grade literacy proficiency, to vital statistics on prenatal care and low birth weight, census data, and everything in between: when it comes to a holistic view of how Detroit is serving its children, the State of the Detroit Child platform represents a major step forward in providing the information necessary to build an equitable turnaround in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

And we’re just getting started.

The tool – with your use – will continue to evolve and improve from its Beta form. This year alone you will see additional youth-focused data sources added, trend information, user-testing sessions, outreach and training, and a feedback loop to suggest new data sets that would be helpful to improving conditions and outcomes for children in Detroit.

For too long Detroit has suffered from an admiration of its problems rather than a focus on solutions. A focus on children, the most vulnerable and voiceless among us, is essential to the true strength and vitality of a community. Simply put, a thriving community must be a community that cares for kids. We are motivated by the learning and action the State of the Detroit Child platform has the power to create, and believe that opening access to the right information at the right time can play an important role in advancing informed decision making at every level.

View data on the State of the Detroit Child at

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