Nearly 50 Percent of Detroit Residents Say They'll Be Broke Within 3 Months Under Michigan Coronavirus Lockdown

About 50 percent of Detroit residents say they will be completely broke within the next three months as Michigan continues with some of the country's most stringent shelter-in-place orders.

Michigan's labor department announced Monday it has paid out more than $1.66 billion in unemployment benefits to more than 1 million newly jobless workers across the state. The percentage of Detroit residents who have lost their job amid the coronavirus pandemic is at 35 percent, according to a new survey from the University of Michigan's Detroit Metro Area Communities Study (DMACS), compared to 25 percent statewide.

The Detroit Metro Times reports that one-third of Detroit's population is impoverished and many of the workers who were pushed out of their jobs did so because working from home was not possible.

The economic lockdown has disproportionately hit low-income and minority communities across the country, and in Detroit, this is causing about half of residents to say they will very likely have zero cash in the next three months should the shelter-in-place order continue. The DMACS survey of residents in the Detroit metro area found one-in-five people reporting they will "definitely" run out of money in the coming few months. Just over 70 percent of the respondents in the survey reported making less than $50,000 a year.

"The DMACS survey results show Detroiters are not only concerned for their health but also their economic well-being during this pandemic," said Jeffrey Morenoff, a faculty research leader for DMACS and the director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, in a news release Monday. "We hope early insights into how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting Detroiters can help inform policy responses that directly address the community's needs."

The poll found that parents of younger children, people with incomes under $50,000, people with lower levels of education, people of color and people under the age of 30 have been the most hurt by the pandemic's negative economic effects.

A survey released by DMACS last week found that 83 percent of Detroit residents believe the COVID-19 pandemic is "very serious" to them personally and 80 percent said it's a very serious threat to their community. However, very low percentages of respondents expressed concern that they would likely contract COVID-19 themselves.

Detroiters questioned in the DMACS survey said government's top priorities should be ensuring cash assistance is received by their families amid the surge in unemployment. Michigan's labor department told the Detroit Free Press newspaper Monday they are keeping up with the staggering spike in requests for unemployment benefits.

"While Michigan's unemployment system appears to be outpacing the rest of the country in paying benefits, much work remains for those who still need help completing their claim," Jeff Donofrio, the agency's director said. "We will not rest until everyone receives the benefits they are entitled to."

"We are working hard to provide emergency financial assistance to those affected by COVID-19, with more than 1 million Michiganders receiving benefits," he added.

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said Sunday that "people are making money off the pain and oppression" of the state's black and Hispanic communities during the coronavirus pandemic. She said calls for universal health care have never been more prudent as many profit-driven hospitals have closed because, she claimed, "it's not profitable to take care of sick people."

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About 50 percent of Detroit residents say they will be completely broke within the next three months as Michigan continues with some of the country's most stringent shelter-in-place orders. AARON J. THORNTON / Contributor/Getty Images