Detroit Area Poll: Black Residents See High Potential for Job Growth in Clean Energy

Poll also shows differences between Black and white residents on environmental justice issues

October 28, 2020
Keith Gaby, (202) 572-3336,
Dana Johnson, (773) 495-1677,

A poll of the Detroit area released today by WE ACT for Environmental Justice and Environmental Defense Fund showed that two thirds of Detroit adults (66%) say investments in clean energy would contribute to job growth in the U.S. That includes 81% of Black Detroit adults and 62% of white Detroit adults. Two thirds of Detroiters also say the use of clean energy and clean transportation in the U.S. would reduce air pollution in their own communities.

The poll showed that concern about air pollution and climate change is high among people in the Detroit area, particularly Black residents. Black adults in the Detroit area (58%) are nearly twice as likely as whites (30%) to say they are very concerned about air pollution in their local community. Over two thirds of Detroit adults (69%) are concerned about climate change in their own community, with Black adults (71%) even more likely than white adults (55%) to say climate change is a major problem.

“I recently visited Detroit to work with Green Door Initiatives and East Michigan Environmental Action Council and was overwhelmed by the lack of investment in Detroit’s communities of color,” said Kerene Tayloe, Director of Federal Legislative Affairs, WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “I was even more appalled to see Marathon refineries in such close proximity to homes, schools, and churches in the predominantly black neighborhood in Detroit’s 48217 zip code. It makes sense that Black Detroiters are more concerned about jobs, pollution and climate change. The impacts are literally at their doorsteps.”

The poll also revealed Black adults in Detroit are significantly more likely than white adults in Detroit to say that environmental injustice is a problem, with 61% of Black Detroit adults viewing it as a major problem in the U.S., compared with 38% of white adults.

Morning Consult conducted this survey, on behalf of Environmental Defense Fund and WE ACT, between October 10th – October 16th, 2020 among a sample of 279 adults in the Detroit area. The interviews were conducted online. Results from the survey have a margin error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

View the Detroit poll memo here.

View the national release and memo here

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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.