Survey Finds Food Insecurity Tops Detroiters Concerns During Pandemic

Outlier Media surveyed 900 Detroiters and found that 40% are concerned about access to food. But it’s founder says this isn’t a resource gap — it’s an information gap.

A survey of 900 Detroiters found that 40% of respondents expressed concern about access to food.

The survey was conducted by Outlier Media, a news organization that facilitates community interaction by reaching out directly to Detroit residents via text message. They say this shows a shift from Detroiters most common concerns around utility costs. 

Listen: Outlier Media Founder on what Detroiters are concerned about during the pandemic.


Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Sarah Alvarez, founder and editor of Outlier Media, says that the organization’s mission is to identify information needs that are most acute to Detroiters and to fill those information gaps with reporting.

Through surveying Detroit residents, Alvarez says Outlier found that a substantial portion of respondents were most concerned with accessing resources about where to find food.

This shift away from typical interests of Detroiters, usually concerned with issues around utilities, signals a burgeoning problem of food insecurity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alvarez says that the issue is not that there isn’t food to be accessed rather there is a lack of information.

“Even though this need is so acute, what we’re not seeing is people saying ‘I see this resource, but I haven’t been able to find [food]’,” says Alvarez.

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