Elections 2013: Exploring the City Council by Districts

This year’s upcoming municipal election will be the first time in nearly 100 years that Detroiters will elect the city council from defined districts. Historically, Detroit’s nine City Council members have been elected at-large with each of them representing the city as a whole rather than a particular district. However, with the passing of Detroit’s new City Charter, which took effect on January 1, 2012, only two members are elected at-large, and seven members are elected by district.

Data Driven Detroit has developed a range of elections related resources for not only the upcoming City Council election in Detroit, but also future elections at the state and county levels. Some of the highlights include our previous work such as a voter turnout  tool and analysis of the new state and federal legislative districts. The newest addition to our toolbox is an interactive map that allows you to visualize racial, educational and economic demographics across the City’s seven districts. It also allows you to download printable district maps.  As time goes on, we hope to add additional information to the site such as voter breakdowns. We will also update it as new census data becomes available.

Below, we’ve highlighted a few key features of the City District Explorer.

Accessing District Information
Clicking within a council district’s boundaries will bring up that district’s details in the right side bar. In addition to the basic district details found at the top of the sidebar, the district’s information is broken down by headers for Race & Ethnicity, Income & Poverty, and Educational Attainment.


Near the top of the sidebar is a download button for that district’s map. Depending on your browser, clicking on this will commence a download of a PDF file containing a map of the district or open the map directly in a new tab or window.


Applying Visualizations 


Within the right side bar, there is an accordion tab named “Visualizations.” This section includes several options that allow you to visualize demographic conditions across all council districts. Currently, there are three visualization options:

  • Race/Ethnicity Pie Charts – This option displays pie charts that show proportions of various racial/ethnic groups for each council district based on the. (source: 2010 U.S. Census)
  • Educational Attainment – This option displays pie charts that show the proportions of the highest educational attainment level for each council district. (source: ACS 5-Year Estimates)
  • Per Capita Income – This option displays bar charts that show each council district’s per capita income compared against the citywide per capita income. (source: ACS 5-Year Estimates)

Select the ‘Hide Charts’ button to hide any applied visualizations


Visualization Tooltips


Hovering on a wedge or bar in a visualization’s chart will display a tooltip that provides additional information.


Hovering over the legend will display all tooltips for all the wedges or bars associated with that category.

We hope  these tools and resources are useful to you throughout the upcoming election seasons. Again, check back often for updates! If you are not able to answer your data related question from what we have provided, you can always Ask Kurt.


3 responses to “Elections 2013: Exploring the City Council by Districts”

  1. Stephanie says:

    This is a tremendous resource that will help citizens make well informed decisions this election year. Thank you for your commitment to providing accurate and critical information for Detroit.

  2. Tim Kiska says:

    Great research…Way to go.

  3. I read this piece of writing fully concerning the resemblance of newest and preceding technologies, it’s awesome article.

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