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Study of the Day: Minorities in Michigan Pay More for Utilities

The reason is more connected to location than race


Non-whites, or at least non-whites in Michigan, pay more than whites for basic water and sewer services, according to a new study by Michigan State University researchers. 

Researchers analyzed census data and self-reported water and sewer costs across the state of Michigan. They found that urban residents in that state pay more than their rural counterparts, and that neighborhoods with a high-percentage of non-white residents pay the most.

The reason likely has more to do with location than race, though. Despite more recent demographic trends, minorities still make up a larger share of the population of Michigan's cities. As we know, urban centers often have older water and sewer systems, leaving minorities, or really urban residents, to disproportionately bear the cost of maintenance.

The study will appear in an upcoming issue of Environmental Practice. For now, you can read about it here.   

Photo credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.