Detroit Metro Area Communities Study

Changing attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines have garnered recent attention from the media and public health officials. Although public opinion polls show increasing vaccine acceptance, these polls do not follow individuals over time and thus do not shed light on factors that shift individuals’ vaccine intentions.

To address this, alongside qualitative study of the minority population, a survey based quantitative study was completed in collaboration with The Detroit Metro Area Communities Study (DMACS).

DMACS is a University of Michigan initiative designed to regularly survey a broad, representative group of Detroit residents about their communities, including their experiences, perceptions, priorities, and aspirations. DMACS is also a reliable source for timely and relevant public opinion data in a changing Detroit.

For the Michigan CEAL project, the teams partnered for this project, and utilized DMACS’ sample cohort to collect the regular city survey data along with COVID-19 related information from the NIH’s Common Survey regarding COVID-19 information/misinformation, trusted information sources, vaccine trials, vaccine hesitancy by focusing more narrowly, and deeply, on specific local neighborhoods within the city.

Between January and March 2021, the DMACS team has collected data from a representative sample of more than 2,200 households within the City of Detroit.  This data will give Michigan CEAL researchers a deeper insight into the public opinion on their path to develop policy, programmatic and investment decisions that affect their communities and the City of Detroit.

A critical element of DMACS’ work is also based on the Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach engaging with key stakeholders in the neighborhoods in which DMACS is working. This includes meeting with community organizations and residents before, during, and after the data collection, and it also involves employing local residents and U-M students to work together in teams as data collectors.

The surveys are paper based, but also planned to be web-based and accessible via smartphone, tablet, or computer; encouraging and facilitating online completion is an important focus of the project.

Examples of topics covered in these initial surveys include quality of life; priorities for change in the metro area; the impact of recent investments in Downtown and Midtown Detroit on different populations, sense of community, and social cohesion; transportation and mobility; public safety; police-community relations; decisions about whether and when to move; activism and voluntarism; the role of government and trust in government institutions; views on inequality and race relations; and health and health care coverage.

DMACS is also doing a mixed methods study with the qualitative team to develop a mixed methods approach to:


Findings from the survey conducted in Detroit (June-August 2023) are available below.