Religious Institution Ownership in Detroit

Blog post by Stephanie Quesnelle
June 23, 2022

Data Driven Detroit (D3)   (Detroit)

Recently, D3 received a request for data about the number of places of worship and church-owned properties in the City of Detroit.  Many churches in Detroit own additional property, such as lots adjacent to their building, or operate religious housing coalitions to help address housing instability in their neighborhoods.

We identified two different types of properties in this analysis: (1) places of worship, which are identified by the Detroit Police Department as actual structures utilized for religious purposes and (2) other property owned by a religious institution, which we identified by utilizing Detroit’s assessor data.   Overall, we found a combined 5,027 parcels owned by religious institutions, including places of worship and other types of properties.  Of these parcels, 55.4% are vacant lots and 4.0% are vacant structures.  Building permits have been pulled on 14.4% of the parcels in the last 3 years.  Nearly 7% of the parcels currently owned by religious institutions have been purchased in the past three years.