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Posted on: June 1, 2018

One Community: Advancing Racial Equity in Washtenaw County

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Washtenaw County is one of the wealthiest counties in Michigan, with high incomes and high rankings as one of the most economically vibrant, educated, healthy, and best places to live in the state. However, this is not true for all and has led to high racial inequity within the County.


Washtenaw County ranked 80/32 for income inequality in Michigan

60% of African-Americans live in low opportunity areas

9 yr. difference in life expectancy between area code 48104 (Ann Arbor) and 48198 (Ypsilanti)

Black babies are twice as likely to be born at a low birth weight and six time more likely to grow up in poverty

Latino children are 3 times more likely to grow up in poverty.

Washtenaw County #1 most expensive rental market in Michigan

Bottom 8% for upward income mobility

Ann Arbor 8th most economically segregated

Washtenaw County scores the highest in the state on educational measures but…

35 point gap on 3rd grade reading tests between black and white students

42 point gap in 8th grade math proficiency



Washtenaw County Public Health and the Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) have been tracking disparities in the County, finding that they are increasing based on indicators of race and place. In 2015 OCED released a Housing Affordability and Economic Equity Analysis showing the county’s racial and economic segregation. Later, the Opportunity Index was published as a tool to benchmark opportunity throughout the County.



With this, the County has committed to advancing racial equity with January 2018 marking the beginning of an initiative called "One Community: Advancing Racial Equity in Washtenaw County". Already, many County and City of Ann Arbor staff have experienced 7 trainings by The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), normalizing racial equity work and making moves to operationalize it into the infrastructure and fabric of the organizations.

This work will require resources and time, with upcoming plans that include continued education, an equity ordinance, and systems for accountability.


One Community: Advancing Racial Equity in Washtenaw County 

One Community Newsletter

Washtenaw County Health Equity


Questions/Suggestions/Concerns: Contact Anna Lemler, Racial Equity Analyst at lemlera@washtenaw.org

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