|City of Detroit|
Images from top to bottom, left to right: Downtown Detroit skyline, the Spirit of Detroit, Greektown, Ambassador Bridge, Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Fox Theatre, and Comerica Park.
|Nickname(s): The Motor City, Motown, Renaissance City, City of the Straits, The D, Hockeytown, The Automotive Capital of the World, Rock City, The 313|
|Motto: Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus
(Latin: We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes)
Location in Wayne County and the state of Michigan
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|• Body||Detroit City Council|
|• Mayor||Mike Duggan (D)|
|• Emergency Manager||Kevyn Orr|
|• City Council|
|• City||142.87 sq mi (370.03 km2)|
|• Land||138.75 sq mi (359.36 km2)|
|• Water||4.12 sq mi (10.67 km2)|
|• Urban||1,295 sq mi (3,350 km2)|
|• Metro||3,913 sq mi (10,130 km2)|
|Elevation||600 ft (200 m)|
|• Rank||US: 18th|
|• Density||5,142/sq mi (1,985/km2)|
|• Urban||3,734,090 (US: 11th)|
|• Metro||4,292,060 (US: 14th)|
|• CSA||5,311,449 (US: 12th)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC−5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC−4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1617959|
Detroit // is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the largest city on the United States-Canada border. It is the seat of Wayne County, the most populous county in the state. It is a primary business, cultural, financial and transportation center in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people, and serves as a major port on the Detroit River connecting the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It was founded on July 24, 1701, by the French explorer and adventurer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac.
The Detroit area emerged as a significant metropolitan region within the United States as construction of a regional freeway system was completed in the 1950s and 1960s. With these commuting ties allowing social and economic integration across a larger area, the Detroit name sometimes refers to the three-county Urban Area (population 3,734,090, area of 1,337 square miles (3,460 km2), as of the 2010 United States Census), the six-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (2010 Census population of 4,296,250, area of 3,913 square miles [10,130 km2]), or the nine-county Combined Statistical Area (2010 Census population of 5,218,852, area of 5,814 square miles [15,060 km2]). The Detroit–Windsor area, a commercial link straddling the Canada–U.S. border, has a total population of about 5,700,000. The Detroit metropolitan region currently holds roughly one-half of the state's population. "Detroit" is a metonym for the American automobile industry and an important source of popular music legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, the Motor City and Motown. Other nicknames arose in the 20th century, including City of Champions beginning in the 1930s for its successes in individual and team sport, The D, Hockeytown (a trademark owned by the city's NHL club, the Red Wings), Rock City (after the Kiss song "Detroit Rock City"), and The 313 (its telephone area code). Detroit's auto industry was an important element of the American "Arsenal of Democracy" supporting the Allied powers during World War II.
Between 2000 and 2010 the city's population fell by 25 percent, changing its ranking from the nation's 10th largest city to 18th. In 2010, the city had a population of 713,777, more than a 60 percent drop down from a peak population of over 1.8 million at the 1950 census, indicating a serious and long-running decline of Detroit's economic strength. Commensurate with the shift of population and jobs to its suburbs or other states, the city has had to adjust its role within the larger metropolitan area. Downtown Detroit has seen an increased role as an entertainment hub in the 21st century, with the opening of three casinos, new stadiums, and a riverfront revitalization project. However, many neighborhoods remain distressed.
The state governor declared a financial emergency in March 2013, appointing an emergency manager. On July 18, 2013, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history. It was declared bankrupt by Judge Steven W. Rhodes of the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on December 3, who cited its $18.5 billion debt and declared that negotiations with its thousands of creditors were unfeasible.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Culture and contemporary life
- 6 Sports
- 7 Law and government
- 8 Education
- 9 Media
- 10 Infrastructure
- 11 Notable people
- 12 Sister cities
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
The city's name originates from the Detroit River (French: le détroit du lac Érié, meaning the strait of Lake Erie), linking Lake Huron and Lake Erie; in the historical context, the strait included the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.
On the shores of the strait, in 1701, the French officer Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac, along with fifty-one additional French people and French-Canadians, founded a settlement called Fort Ponchartrain du Détroit, naming it after the comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV, making Detroit the first European settlement above tidewater in North America. France offered free land in an effort to attract families to Detroit, which grew to 800 people in 1765, the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans. By 1773, the population of Detroit was 1,400. By 1778, its population was up to 2,144 and it was the third largest city in the Province of Quebec.
During the French and Indian War (1760), the North American front of the Seven Years' War between Britain and France, British troops gained control of the settlement and shortened the name to Detroit. Several Native American tribes launched Pontiac's Rebellion (1763), and conducted a siege of Fort Detroit, but failed to capture it.
Following the American Revolutionary War, Britain ceded Detroit along with other territory to the United States under the Jay Treaty (1796). In 1805, fire destroyed most of the settlement. A river warehouse and brick chimneys of the wooden homes were the sole structures to survive.
From 1805 to 1847, Detroit was the capital of Michigan. As the city expanded, a geometric street layout plan developed by Augustus B. Woodward was followed. Detroit surrendered without a fight to British troops during the War of 1812 in the Siege of Detroit, was recaptured by the United States in 1813 and incorporated as a city in 1815.
Prior to the American Civil War, the city's access to the Canadian border made it a key stop along the Underground Railroad. Many Detroiters volunteered to fight during the American Civil War, including the 24th Michigan Infantry Regiment (part of the legendary Iron Brigade) which fought with distinction and suffered 82% casualties at Gettysburg in 1863. At the arrival of the First Volunteer Infantry Regiment in Washington, Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying "Thank God for Michigan!" George Armstrong Custer led the Michigan Brigade during the American Civil War and called them the Wolverines.
During the late 19th century, several Gilded Age mansions were built east and west of the current downtown. Most notable among them was the David Whitney House located at 4421 Woodward Avenue. During this period some referred to Detroit as the Paris of the West for its architecture, and for Washington Boulevard, recently electrified by Thomas Edison. The city had grown steadily from the 1830s with the rise of shipping, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries. Strategically located along the Great Lakes waterway, Detroit emerged as a major transportation hub. In 1896, a thriving carriage trade prompted Henry Ford to build his first automobile in a rented workshop on Mack Avenue. During this period, Detroit was allowed to expand its borders annexing all or part of several surrounding villages and townships.
In 1903 Ford founded the Ford Motor Company. Ford's manufacturing—and those of automotive pioneers William C. Durant, the Dodge brothers, Packard, and Walter Chrysler—reinforced Detroit's status as the world's automotive capital; it also served to encourage truck manufacturers such as Rapid and Grabowsky.
With the factories came high-profile labor unions such as the American Federation of Labor and the United Auto Workers, which initiated strikes and other tactics in support of such things as the 8-hour day/40-hour work week, healthcare benefits, pensions, increased wages and improved working conditions. The labor activism during those years increased influence of union leaders in the city such as Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters and Walter Reuther of the autoworkers.
Detroit, like many places in the United States had a long history of racial conflict and discrimination. "By the 1920s the city had become a stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization committed to white supremacy." Strained racial relations were evident at the 1925 trial of Dr. Ossian Sweet, an African American Detroit physician, his wife, and other family members who were acquitted of murder. A man died when shots were fired from Dr. Sweet's house into a threatening white mob who gathered to try to force him and his family out of a predominantly white neighborhood. The Black Legion also was active in the Detroit area.
The 1940s saw the construction of the world's "first urban depressed freeway" ever built, the Davison, and the wartime retooling of the American automobile industry in support of the Allied powers during World War II which led to Detroit's key role as an element of the American Arsenal of Democracy. There have been six ships of the United States Navy named after the city, including USS Detroit (LCS-7).
Industry spurred growth during the first half of the 20th century as the city drew tens of thousands of new residents, particularly workers from the Southern United States, to become the United States' fourth largest.
Social tensions rose with the rapid pace of growth and racism continued to be a major problem in the United States. On January 20, 1942, with a cross burning nearby, 1,200 whites tried to prevent black families from moving into a new housing development in an all-white area of the city. Later in June 1943, Packard Motor Car Company promoted three blacks to work next to whites in their assembly lines. In response, 25,000 whites walked off the job, effectively slowing down the critical war production. It was clear that whites who worked with blacks in the same plant nevertheless refused to work side-by-side with them. During the protest, a voice with a southern accent shouted in the loudspeaker, "I'd rather see Hitler and Hirohito win than work next to a nigger." The Detroit Race Riot of 1943 occurred three weeks after the Packard Motor Car incident. Over the course of three days, 34 people were killed. Of them, 25 were African–American, and approximately 600 were injured.
Mergers in the 1950s, especially in the automobile sector increased oligopoly in the American auto industry. Detroit auto manufacturers such as Packard and Hudson merged into other companies and eventually disappeared.
As in other major American cities, an extensive freeway system constructed in the 1950s, '60s, '70s, and '80s encouraged auto commuting. In 1956, Detroit's last heavily used electric streetcar line along the length of Woodward Avenue was ripped out and replaced with gas powered buses. It was the last line of what had once been a 534 miles network of electric streetcars. In 1941, a streetcar had once run on Woodward Avenue every 60 seconds at peak times. All of these changes in the area's transportation system favored low density auto oriented development over high density urban development and were factors that contributed to the metro Detroit area becoming the most sprawling job market in the United States, though other American cities also experienced suburbanization In 1950, before the area shut down its last electric streetcar lines, the city held about one-third of the state's population. Over the next sixty years, the city's population gradually decreased to less than 10 percent of the state's population. During the same time period, the sprawling Detroit metropolitan area which surrounds and includes the city grew to contain more than half of Michigan's population. Commensurate with the shift of population and jobs to suburbs and other American cities, Detroit's tax base eroded.
In June 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a major speech in Detroit that foreshadowed his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C. two months later. During the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Detroit witnessed growing confrontations between the police and inner city black youth, culminating in the Twelfth Street riot in July 1967. Governor George W. Romney ordered the Michigan National Guard into Detroit, and President Johnson sent in U.S. Army troops. The result was 43 dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed. Thousands of small businesses closed permanently or relocated to safer neighborhoods, and the affected district lay in ruins for decades.
On August 18, 1970, the NAACP filed suit against Michigan state officials, including Governor William Milliken. The original trial began April 6, 1971, and lasted 41 days. The NAACP argued that although schools were not officially segregated, the city of Detroit and its surrounding counties had enacted policies to maintain racial segregation in schools. The NAACP also suggested a direct relationship between unfair housing practices (such as redlining) and educational segregation.
District Judge Steven J. Roth held all levels of government accountable for the segregation. The Sixth Circuit Court affirmed some of the decision, withholding judgment on the relationship of housing inequality with education. The court specified that it was the state's responsibility to integrate across the segregated metropolitan area.
The governor and other accused officials appealed to the Supreme Court, which took up the case February 27, 1974. The subsequent Milliken v. Bradley decision would come to have enormous national impact. According to Gary Orfield and Susan E. Eaton in their 1996 book Dismantling Desegregation, the "Supreme Court's failure to examine the housing underpinnings of metropolitan segregation" in Milliken made desegregation "almost impossible" in northern metropolitan areas. "Suburbs were protected from desegregation by the courts ignoring the origin of their racially segregated housing patterns." "Milliken was perhaps the greatest missed opportunity of that period," said Myron Orfield, professor of law and director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota, "Had that gone the other way, it would have opened the door to fixing nearly all of Detroit's current problems." John Mogk, a professor of law and an expert in urban planning at Wayne State University in Detroit, says, "Everybody thinks that it was the riots [in 1967] that caused the white families to leave. Some people were leaving at that time but, really, it was after Milliken that you saw mass flight to the suburbs. If the case had gone the other way, it is likely that Detroit would not have experienced the steep decline in its tax base that has occurred since then."
Supreme Justice William O. Douglas' dissenting opinion in Miliken held that "there is, so far as the school cases go, no constitutional difference between de facto and de jure segregation. Each school board performs state action for Fourteenth Amendment purposes when it draws the lines that confine it to a given area, when it builds schools at particular sites, or when it allocates students. The creation of the school districts in Metropolitan Detroit either maintained existing segregation or caused additional segregation. Restrictive covenants maintained by state action or inaction build black ghettos ... the task of equity is to provide a unitary system for the affected area where, as here, the State washes its hands of its own creations."
In 1974, the city elected Coleman A. Young to be its first black mayor.
Renaissance has been a common theme among city leaders, reinforced by the construction of the Renaissance Center in the late 1970s. This complex of skyscrapers, designed as a city within a city, together with other developments, slowed and eventually began to reverse the trend of businesses leaving Downtown Detroit by the late 1990s.
During the 1980s, vacant and occupied structures were demolished to make way for new development and revitalization. Mayor Young and automobile executives controversially championed the use of eminent domain to build two large new auto assembly plants in the city: the General Motors Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly Plant, also known as the "Poletown Plant", and the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant. Also, various large developments such as Riverfront Condominiums, the Millender Center Apartments, Harbortown, and 150 West Jefferson were built on or near the Detroit's waterfront.
In the 1990s, the city continued to see new developments centered in the Downtown, Midtown and New Center areas. One Detroit Center (1993) arose on the city skyline. New downtown stadiums were constructed for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions in 2000 and 2002, respectively; this put the Lions' home stadium in the city proper for the first time since 1974. In the ensuing years, three large casinos opened: MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino and Greektown Casino, which debuted as resort hotels in 2007–08. The city also saw the historic Book Cadillac Hotel and the Fort Shelby Hotel reopen for the first time in more than 20 years.
The city hosted the 2005 MLB All-Star Game, 2006 Super Bowl XL, 2006 and 2012 World Series, WrestleMania 23 in 2007, and the NCAA Final Four in April 2009 all of which prompted many improvements to the downtown area. In 2011, Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System substantially increased investments in medical research facilities and hospitals in the city's Midtown and New Center.
The city's riverfront is the focus of much development following the example of Windsor, Canada, which began its waterfront parkland conversion in the 1990s. In 2001, the first portion (stretching from Joe Louis Arena through Hart Plaza) of the International Riverfront was completed as a part of the city's 300th anniversary celebration. In succeeding years, the waterfront gained miles of parks and fountains. In 2011, the Port Authority Passenger Terminal opened with the river walk connecting Hart Plaza to the Renaissance Center. This development is a mainstay in the city's plan to enhance its economy through tourism.
Long a major population center and major engine of worldwide automobile manufacturing, Detroit has gone through a continuing economic decline. Like many American cities, Detroit reached its population peak in the 1950 census. The peak population was 1.8 million people, and as of the 2010 census had less than 40 percent of that number at just over 700,000 residents. The city has declined in population with each subsequent census since 1950.
Frank J. Popper, a professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers University and the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University compares the Great Plains decline with Detroit's. During the 20th century many rural counties have seen the same or higher population declines than Detroit. Popper says the Great Plains is experiencing rural decline while Detroit is the foremost example of urban decline. They suggest solutions for "smart decline" such as combining rural counties to eliminate some administrative overhead, and for Detroit they suggest a concentration of population, land banking the unsalvageable neighborhoods.
The ongoing decline has left its mark on the city, most notably in severe urban decay and thousands of empty homes, apartment buildings and commercial buildings around the city. Some parts of Detroit are sparsely populated resulting in the city having difficulty providing municipal services. The city has sought and considered various solutions such as demolition of abandoned homes and buildings; removal of street lighting from large portions of the city; and encouraging the small population in certain areas to move to more populated locations as there may not be a quick response for city services such as police in depopulated areas.
More than half of the owners of Detroit's 305,000 properties failed to pay their 2011 tax bills, exacerbating the city's financial crisis. According to the Detroit News, 47 percent of the city's taxable parcels are delinquent on their 2011 tax bills, resulting in about $246 million in taxes and fees going uncollected, nearly half of which was due to Detroit. The rest of the money would have been earmarked for Wayne County, Detroit Public Schools and the library system. The review also found 77 blocks in Detroit had only one owner who paid taxes in 2011.
High unemployment was compounded by white and middle-class flight to the suburbs and further afield, and the city was left with a reduced tax base, depressed property values, abandoned buildings, abandoned neighborhoods, high crime rates and a pronounced demographic imbalance. There are many stray dogs in the city's derelict areas. Their numbers are estimated at 20,000. Fifty-nine Detroit postal workers were attacked by stray dogs in 2010, according to a Detroit postmaster.
The crisis resulted in the state of Michigan taking over administrative control of the city. The state governor declared a financial emergency in March 2013, appointing an emergency manager. On July 18, 2013, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, awaiting approval by a judge. It was declared bankrupt by U.S. judge Stephen Rhodes on December 3, with its $18.5 billion debt he said in accepting the city's contention that it is broke and that negotiations with its thousands of creditors were infeasible.
Seen in panorama, Detroit's waterfront shows a variety of architectural styles. The post modern neogothic spires of the One Detroit Center (1993) were designed to blend with the city's Art Deco skyscrapers. Together with the Renaissance Center, they form a distinctive and recognizable skyline. Examples of the Art Deco style include the Guardian Building and Penobscot Building downtown, as well as the Fisher Building and Cadillac Place in the New Center area near Wayne State University. Among the city's prominent structures are United States' largest Fox Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
While the Downtown and New Center areas contain high-rise buildings, the majority of the surrounding city consists of low-rise structures and single-family homes. Outside of the city's core, residential high-rises are found in neighborhoods such as the East Riverfront extending toward Grosse Pointe and the Palmer Park neighborhood just west of Woodward. The University Commons-Palmer Park district in northwest Detroit is near the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College which anchors historic neighborhoods including Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, and the University District.
The National Register of Historic Places lists several area neighborhoods and districts. Neighborhoods constructed prior to World War II feature the architecture of the times, with wood-frame and brick houses in the working-class neighborhoods, larger brick homes in middle-class neighborhoods, and ornate mansions in upper-class neighborhoods such as Brush Park, Woodbridge, Indian Village, Palmer Woods, Boston-Edison, and others.
Some of the oldest neighborhoods are along the Woodward and East Jefferson corridors. Some newer residential construction may also be found along the Woodward corridor, the far west, and northeast. Some of the oldest extant neighborhoods include West Canfield and Brush Park, which have both seen multi-million dollar restorations and construction of new homes and condominiums.
Many of the city's architecturally significant buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places and the city has one of United States' largest surviving collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century buildings. There are a number of architecturally significant churches and cathedrals throughout the city including St. Joseph's, Old St. Mary's, the Sweetest Heart of Mary, and the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
The city has substantial activity in urban design, historic preservation, and architecture. A number of downtown redevelopment projects—of which Campus Martius Park is one of the most notable—have revitalized parts of the city. Grand Circus Park stands near the city's theater district, Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, and Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. Other projects include the demolition of the Ford Auditorium off of Jefferson St.
The Detroit International Riverfront includes a partially completed three and one-half mile riverfront promenade with a combination of parks, residential buildings, and commercial areas from Hart Plaza to the MacArthur Bridge accessing Belle Isle Park (the largest island park in a U.S. city). The riverfront includes Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor, Michigan's first urban state park. The second phase is a two-mile (3 km) extension from Hart Plaza to the Ambassador Bridge for a total of five miles (8 km) of parkway from bridge to bridge. Civic planners envision that the riverfront properties condemned under eminent domain, with their pedestrian parks, will spur more residential development. Other major parks include Palmer (north of Highland Park), River Rouge (in the southwest side), and Chene Park (on the east river downtown).
Detroit has a variety of neighborhood types. The revitalized Downtown, Midtown, and New Center areas feature many historic buildings and are high density, while further out, particularly in the northeast and on the fringes, high vacancy levels are problematic, for which a number of solutions have been proposed. In 2007, Downtown Detroit was recognized as a best city neighborhood in which to retire among the United States' largest metro areas by CNN Money Magazine editors.
Lafayette Park is a revitalized neighborhood on the city's east side, part of the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe residential district. The 78-acre (32 ha) development was originally called the Gratiot Park. Planned by Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Hilberseimer and Alfred Caldwell it includes a landscaped, 19-acre (7.7 ha) park with no through traffic, in which these and other low-rise apartment buildings are situated. Immigrants have contributed to the city's neighborhood revitalization, especially in southwest Detroit. Southwest Detroit has experienced a thriving economy in recent years, as evidenced by new housing, increased business openings and the recently opened Mexicantown International Welcome Center.
The city has numerous neighborhoods consisting of vacant properties resulting in low inhabited density in those areas, stretching city services and infrastructure. These neighborhoods are concentrated in the northeast and on the city's fringes. A 2009 parcel survey found about a quarter of residential lots in the city to be undeveloped or vacant, and about 10% of the city's housing to be unoccupied. The survey also reported that most (86%) of the city's homes are in good condition with a minority (9%) in fair condition needing only minor repairs.
To deal with vacancy issues, the city has begun demolishing the derelict houses, razing 3,000 of the total 10,000 in 2010, but the resulting low density creates a strain on the city's infrastructure. To remedy this, a number of solutions have been proposed including resident relocation from more sparsely populated neighborhoods and converting unused space to urban agricultural use, including Hantz Woodlands, though the city expects to be in the planning stages for up to another two years.
Public funding and private investment have also been made with promises to rehabilitate neighborhoods. In April 2008, the city announced a $300-million stimulus plan to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods, financed by city bonds and paid for by earmarking about 15% of the wagering tax. The city's working plans for neighborhood revitalizations include 7-Mile/Livernois, Brightmoor, East English Village, Grand River/Greenfield, North End, and Osborn. Private organizations have pledged substantial funding to the efforts. Additionally, the city has cleared a 1,200-acre (490 ha) section of land for large-scale neighborhood construction, which the city is calling the Far Eastside Plan. In 2011, Mayor Bing announced a plan to categorize neighborhoods by their needs and prioritize the most needed services for those neighborhoods.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 142.87 square miles (370.03 km2), of which, 138.75 square miles (359.36 km2) of it is land and 4.12 square miles (10.67 km2) is water. Detroit is the principal city in Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan situated in the Midwestern United States and the Great Lakes region.
The city slopes gently from the northwest to southeast on a till plain composed largely of glacial and lake clay. The most notable topographical feature in the city is the Detroit Moraine, a broad clay ridge on which the older portions of Detroit and Windsor sit atop, rising approximately 62 feet (19 m) above the river at its highest point. The highest elevation in the city is located directly north of Gorham Playground on the northwest side approximately three blocks south of 8 Mile Road, sitting at a height of 675 to 680 feet (206 to 207 m). Detroit's lowest elevation is on the Detroit River, sitting at a surface height of 572 feet (174 m).
Belle Isle Park is a 982-acre (1.534 sq mi; 397 ha) island park in the Detroit River, between the Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. It is connected to the mainland by the MacArthur Bridge in Detroit. Belle Isle Park contains many sites of interest including the James Scott Memorial Fountain, the Belle Isle Conservatory, the Detroit Yacht Club on an adjacent island, a half-mile (800 m) beach, a golf course, a nature center, monuments, and gardens. The city skyline may be viewed from the island.
Three road systems cross the city: the original French template, radial avenues from a Washington, D.C.-inspired system, and true north–south roads from the Northwest Ordinance township system. The city is north of Windsor, Ontario. Detroit is the only major city along the U.S.–Canadian border in which one travels south in order to cross into Canada.
Detroit has four border crossings: the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit–Windsor Tunnel provide motor vehicle thoroughfares, with the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel providing railroad access to and from Canada. The fourth border crossing is the Detroit–Windsor Truck Ferry, located near the Windsor Salt Mine and Zug Island. Near Zug Island, the southwest part of the city sits atop a 1,500-acre (610 ha) salt mine that is 1,100 feet (340 m) below the surface. The Detroit Salt Company mine has over 100 miles (160 km) of roads within.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Detroit and the rest of southeastern Michigan have a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa) which is influenced by the Great Lakes; the city and close-in suburbs are part of USDA Hardiness zone 6b, with farther-out northern and western suburbs generally falling in zone 6a. Winters are cold, with moderate snowfall and temperatures not rising above freezing on an average 44 days annually, while dropping to or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on an average 4.4 days a year; summers are warm to hot with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) on 12 days. The warm season runs from May to September. The monthly daily mean temperature ranges from 25.6 °F (−3.6 °C) in January to 73.6 °F (23.1 °C) in July. Official temperature extremes range from 105 °F (41 °C) on July 24, 1934 down to −21 °F (−29 °C) on January 21, 1984; the record low maximum is −4 °F (−20 °C) on January 19, 1994, while, conversely the record high minimum is 80 °F (27 °C) on August 1, 2006, the most recent of five occurrences. A decade or two may pass between readings of 100 °F (38 °C) or higher, which last occurred July 17, 2012. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 20 thru April 22, allowing a growing season of 180 days.
Precipitation is moderate and somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, although the warmer months such as May and June average more, averaging 33.5 inches (850 mm) annually, but historically ranging from 20.49 in (520 mm) in 1963 to 47.70 in (1,212 mm) in 2011. Snowfall, which typically falls in measurable amounts between November 15 through April 4 (occasionally in October and very rarely in May), averages 42.5 inches (108 cm) per season, although historically ranging from 11.5 in (29 cm) in 1881−82 to 94.9 in (241 cm) in 2013−14. A thick snowpack is not often seen, with an average of only 27.5 days with 3 in (7.6 cm) or more of snow cover. Occasionally, severe thunderstorms can strike the Detroit area. These usually occur during spring and summer and can bring hail, strong winds and sometimes tornadoes.
|Climate data for Detroit (DTW), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1874–present[a]|
|Record high °F (°C)||67
|Average high °F (°C)||32.0
|Average low °F (°C)||19.1
|Record low °F (°C)||−21
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.96
|Snowfall inches (cm)||12.5
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||13.1||10.6||11.7||12.2||12.1||10.2||10.4||9.6||9.5||9.8||11.6||13.7||134.5|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||10.4||8.3||5.4||1.6||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||2.3||8.5||36.7|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||119.9||138.3||184.9||217.0||275.9||301.8||317.0||283.5||227.6||176.0||106.3||87.7||2,435.9|
|Percent possible sunshine||41||47||50||54||61||66||69||66||61||51||36||31||55|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)|
Metro: Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Region: Combined Statistical Area (CSA)
At its peak population of 1,849,568, in the 1950 Census, the city was the 5th-largest in the United States, after only New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Of the large shrinking cities of the United States, Detroit has had the most dramatic decline in population of the past 60 years (down 1,135,971) and the second largest percentage decline (down 61.4%, second only to St. Louis, Missouri's 62.7%). While the decline in Detroit's population has been ongoing since 1950, the most dramatic period was the significant 25% decline between the 2000 and 2010 Census.
Detroit's 713,777 residents represent 269,445 households, and 162,924 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,144.3 people per square mile (1,895/km²). There were 349,170 housing units at an average density of 2,516.5 units per square mile (971.6/km²). Housing density has declined as thousands of Detroit's abandoned houses have been demolished, resulting in urban prairie where gaps in the previously urban environment have emerged.
Of the 269,445 households, 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 21.5% were married couples living together, 31.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 39.5% were non-families, 34.0% were made up of individuals, and 3.9% had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. Average household size was 2.59, and average family size was 3.36.
There is a wide distribution of age in the city, with 31.1% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.
Metro Detroit is a six-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with a population of 4,296,250—making it the 13th-largest MSA in the United States as enumerated by the 2010 United States Census (2010 Census).
The Detroit region is a nine-county Combined Statistical Area (CSA) with a population of 5,218,852—making it the 12th-largest CSA in the United States as enumerated by the 2010 Census. The Detroit-Windsor area, a commercial link straddling the Canada-U.S. border, has a total population of about 5,700,000.
Income and employment
Poverty is an ongoing problem in the city proper. From 2000 to 2009 the city's estimated median household income fell from $29,526 to $26,098. As of 2010 the mean income of Detroit is below the overall U.S. average by several thousand dollars. Of every three Detroit residents, one lives in poverty. Luke Bergmann, author of Getting Ghost: Two Young Lives and the Struggle for the Soul of an American City, said in 2010, "Detroit is now one of the poorest big cities in the country."
For the 2010 American Community Survey, median household income in the city was $25,787, and the median income for a family was $31,011. The per capita income for the city was $14,118. 32.3% of families had income at or below the federally defined poverty level. Out of the total population, 53.6% of those under the age of 18 and 19.8% of those 65 and older had income at or below the federally defined poverty line.
Oakland County in Metro Detroit, once rated amongst the wealthiest US counties per household, is no longer shown in the top 25 listing of Forbes magazine. Internal county statistical methods – measuring on a per capita income for counties with more than one million residents – show that Oakland has slipped from the 4th-most affluent such county in the U.S. in 2004 to 11th-most affluent in 2009.  Detroit's own Wayne County has an average household income of about $38,000, compared to Oakland County's $62,000.
Race and ethnicity
As of the 2010 Census, the racial composition of the city was:
- 82.7% Black or African American;
- 10.6% White (7.8% non-Hispanic whites, 2.8% Hispanic whites);
- 3% from other races;
- 1.1% Asian;
- 2.2% from two or more races;
- 0.4% American Indian;
- 0.02% Pacific Islander.
The city's population increased more than sixfold during the first half of the 20th century, fed largely by an influx of European, Middle Eastern (Lebanese, Assyrian/Chaldean), and Southern migrants to work in the burgeoning automobile industry. In 1940, Whites were 90.4% of the city's population. Since 1950 the city has seen a major shift in its population to the suburbs. In 1910, fewer than 6,000 blacks called the city home; in 1930 more than 120,000 blacks lived in Detroit. The thousands of African Americans who came to Detroit were part of the Great Migration of the 20th century.
Detroit remains one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States. From the 1940s to the 1970s a second wave of Blacks moved to Detroit to escape Jim Crow laws in the south and find jobs. However, they soon found themselves excluded from white areas of the city—through violence, laws, and economic discrimination (e.g., redlining). White residents attacked black homes: breaking windows, starting fires, and exploding bombs. The pattern of segregation was later magnified by white migration to the suburbs.
According to the 2010 Census, segregation in Detroit has decreased in absolute and in relative terms. The number of integrated neighborhoods has increased from 100 in 2000 to 204 in 2010. The city has also moved down the ranking, from number one most segregated to number four.
A 2011 op-ed in The New York Times attributed the decreased segregation rating to the overall exodus from the city, cautioning that these areas may soon become more segregated. This pattern already happened in the 1970s, when apparent integration was actually a precursor to white flight and resegregation.
While Blacks/African-Americans comprised only 13 percent of Michigan's population in 2010, they made up nearly 82 percent of Detroit's population. The next largest population groups were Whites, at 10 percent, and Hispanic, at 6 percent.
Over a 60-year period, White flight occurred in the city. According to an estimate of the Michigan Metropolitan Information Center, from 2008 to 2009 the percentage of non-Hispanic White residents increased from 8.4% to 13.3%. Some empty nesters and many younger White people moved into the city while many African Americans moved to the suburbs.
Detroit has a Mexican-American population. In the early 20th century thousands of Mexicans came to Detroit to work in agricultural, automotive, and steel jobs. During the Mexican Repatriation of the 1930s many Mexicans in Detroit were willingly repatriated or forced to repatriate. By the 1940s the Mexican community began to settle what is now Mexicantown. The population significantly increased in the 1990s due to immigration from Jalisco. In 2010 Detroit had 48,679 Hispanics, including 36,452 Mexicans. The number of Hispanics was a 70% increase from the number in 1990.
After World War II, many people from Appalachia settled in Detroit. Appalachians formed communities and their children acquired southern accents. Many Lithuanians settled in Detroit during the World War II era, especially on the city's Southwest side in the West Vernor area, where the renovated Lithuanian Hall reopened in 2006.
And last, Native Americans form a small but present community in Detroit with a Native American cultural center in nearby Redford Township. In the 1930s and early 40s, thousands of Creek (Muscogee) and Cherokee from Oklahoma settled in Detroit.
Asians and Asian Americans
As of 2002, of all of the municipalities in the Wayne County-Oakland County-Macomb County area, Detroit had the second largest Asian population. As of that year Detroit's percentage of Asians was 1%, far lower than the 13.3% of Troy. By 2000 Troy had the largest Asian American population in the tricounty area, surpassing Detroit.
As of 2002 there are four areas in Detroit with significant Asian and Asian American populations. Northeast Detroit has population of Hmong with a smaller group of Lao people. A portion of Detroit next to eastern Hamtramck includes Bangladeshi Americans, Indian Americans, and Pakistani Americans; nearly all of the Bangladeshi population in Detroit lives in that area. Many of those residents own small businesses or work in blue collar jobs, and the population in that area is mostly Muslim. The area north of Downtown Detroit; including the region around the Henry Ford Hospital, the Detroit Medical Center, and Wayne State University; has transient Asian national origin residents who are university students or hospital workers. Few of them have permanent residency after schooling ends. They are mostly Chinese and Indian but the population also includes Filipinos, Koreans, and Pakistanis. In Southwest Detroit and western Detroit there are smaller, scattered Asian communities including an area in the westside adjacent to Dearborn and Redford Township that has a mostly Indian Asian population, and a community of Vietnamese and Laotians in Southwest Detroit.
As of 2006 the city has one of the U.S.'s largest concentrations of Hmong Americans. In 2006, the city had about 4,000 Hmong and other Asian immigrant families. Most Hmong live on residential streets east of Coleman Young Airport in proximity to Conner Avenue, Gratiot Avenue, and McNichols Avenue. Their social activities include family functions and activities offered at Osborn High School. Hmong immigrant families generally have lower incomes than those of suburban Asian families. Michelle Lin, the coordinator of the Detroit Asian Youth (DAY) Project, said, "They think of themselves as Hmong. They think of themselves as Asian. 'Asian-American' is something more intangible that they can't really grasp."
By 2001 many Bangladeshi Americans had moved from New York City, particularly Astoria, Queens, to the east side of Detroit and Hamtramck. Many moved because of lower costs of living, larger amounts of space, work available in small factories, and the large Muslim community in Metro Detroit. Many Bangladeshi Americans who moved into Queens, and then onwards to Metro Detroit had origins in Sylhet. In 2002 over 80% of the Bangladeshi population within Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties lived in Hamtramck and some surrounding neighborhoods in Detroit. That area overall had almost 1,500 ethnic Bangladeshis, almost 75% of Bangladeshis in the entire State of Michigan.
About 80,500 people work in downtown Detroit, comprising one-fifth of the city's employment base. A number of major corporations are based downtown, including General Motors, Quicken Loans, and Ally Financial. Downtown Detroit's corporate residents also include major technology, insurance, energy, advertising, architecture, and law firms, such as Compuware, Blue Cross Blue Shield, DTE Energy, Lowe Campbell Ewald, Rossetti Architects, and several prominent law firms. Downtown also contains large offices for all of the major nationwide consulting firms-- Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, and Ernst & Young—as well as large offices for corporations officially based outside the city, like Chrysler, Comerica, and several other banks. In sum, Detroit has a highly concentrated base of financial, automotive, and technology firms, accented by a full range of professional services firms.
Thousands more employers work a few miles north of downtown in Detroit's Midtown. Midtown's anchors are the Detroit Medical Center, the city's largest single employer, Wayne State University, and Henry Ford Health System. Midtown is also home to watchmaker Shinola—its headquarters, factory and flagship store—and an array of small and/or startup company's, with a recent uptick in retailing activity.
A number of the city's downtown employers are relatively new, as there has been a marked trend of companies moving from satellite suburbs around Metropolitan Detroit into the downtown core. Compuware completed its world headquarters in downtown Detroit in 2003. OnStar, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and HP Enterprise Services have located at the Renaissance Center. PricewaterhouseCoopers Plaza offices are adjacent to Ford Field, and Ernst & Young completed its office building at One Kennedy Square in 2006. Perhaps most prominently, in 2010, Quicken Loans, one of the largest mortgage lenders, relocated its world headquarters and 4,000 employees to downtown Detroit, consolidating its suburban offices, a move that its outspoken CEO Dan Gilbert intended to help revive the historic downtown area. In July 2013, prominent advertising firm Lowe Campbell Ewald announced their move from Warren to Downtown Detroit to a building located adjacent to Ford Field.
In April 2014, the Department of Labor reported the city's unemployment rate at 14.5%.
The city of Detroit has made efforts to lure the region's growth by creating a wireless Internet zone, offering many business tax incentives, creating recreational spaces such as the Detroit RiverWalk along the entire Detroit International Riverfront, Campus Martius Park, and greenways such as the Dequindre Cut, and facilitating the building and renovation of residential high-rises in the center city.
The city has cleared sections of land while retaining a number of historically significant vacant buildings in order to spur redevelopment; though the city has struggled with finances, it issued bonds in 2008 to provide funding for ongoing work to demolish blighted properties. In 2006, downtown Detroit reported $1.3 billion in restorations and new developments which increased the number of construction jobs in the city. In the decade prior to 2006, downtown Detroit gained more than $15 billion in new investment from private and public sectors.
Despite Detroit's recent financial issues, many developers remain unfazed by the city's problems. Midtown Detroit is one of the most successful areas of Detroit with a residential occupancy rate of 96%. Numerous developments are currently in various stages of construction, including an $82 million reconstruction of the David Whitney Building in downtown Detroit & the Woodward Garden Block Development in Detroit's midtown area.
Downtown Detroit's population of young professionals is growing and retail is expanding. A number of luxury high rises have been built, including Riverfront Towers. The east river development plans include the newly renovated historic Alden Park Towers, and more apartment and condominium developments. This dynamic is luring many younger residents to the city's Downtown, along with Corktown, and the revitalized Midtown and New Center areas. A 2007 study found that Detroit's new downtown residents are predominantly young professionals (57 percent are ages 25–34, 45 percent have bachelor's degrees, 34 percent have a master's or professional degree).
In July 2012, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office opened its Elijah J. McCoy Satellite Office in Detroit's Rivertown/Warehouse District as its first location outside Metropolitan Washington, DC.
On June 5, 2013, Whole Foods Market opened a new 10 million dollar, 21,000-square-foot market at Woodward and Mack avenues in Midtown, its first store in the city of Detroit. Eight weeks later the CEO of Whole Foods said that the store was exceeding its wildest expectations. On July 25, 2013, Meijer, a midwestern retail chain, opened its first supercenter store in the city of Detroit, a 20 million dollar, 190,000-square-foot store at 8 Mile Road and Woodward in the northern part of the city that is the centerpiece of a new 72 million dollar shopping center named Gateway Plaza. On June 30, 2014, Meijer started construction on its second supercenter store in Detroit.
On May 21, 2014 JPMorgan Chase said it was injecting $100 million over five years into the Detroit economy to kick-start projects and provide development funding for employment, residential-development and other community-related programs. It is the largest commitment made to any one city by the nation's biggest bank. Of the $100 million, $50 million will go toward development projects, $25 million will go toward city blight removal, $12.5 million for job training, $7 million for small businesses in the city and, $5.5 million will go toward the M-1 light rail project.
Detroit and the surrounding region constitute a major center of commerce and global trade, most notably as home to America's 'Big Three' automobile companies, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. Detroit's six county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a population of about 4.3 million and a workforce of about 2.1 million. In May 2012, the Department of Labor reported metropolitan Detroit's unemployment rate at 9.9%. The Detroit MSA had a Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) of $197.7 billion in 2010.
|Top City Employers
Source: Crain's Detroit Business
|1||Detroit Medical Center||11,497|
|2||City of Detroit||9,591|
|4||Henry Ford Health System||8,807|
|5||Detroit Public Schools||6,586|
|7||Wayne State University||6,023|
|9||Blue Cross Blue Shield||5,415|
|11||State of Michigan||3,911|
|13||St. John Providence Health System||3,566|
|14||U.S. Postal Service||2,643|
|16||MGM Grand Detroit||2,551|
Labor force distribution in Detroit by category:
Trade, transportation, utilities
Professional and business services
Education and health services
Leisure and hospitality
Metro Detroit area is one of the leading health care economies in the U.S. according to a 2003 study measuring health care industry components, with the region's hospital sector ranked fourth in the nation.
Casino gaming plays an important economic role, with Detroit the largest city in the United States to offer casino resort hotels. Caesars Windsor, Canada's largest, complements the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino in Detroit. The casino hotels contribute significant tax revenue along with thousands of jobs for residents. Gaming revenues have grown steadily, with Detroit ranked as the fifth largest gambling market in the United States for 2007. When Casino Windsor is included, Detroit's gambling market ranks third or fourth.
There are about four thousand factories in the area. The domestic auto industry is primarily headquartered in Metro Detroit.
The area is also an important source of engineering job opportunities. A 2004 Border Transportation Partnership study showed that 150,000 jobs in the Windsor-Detroit region and $13 billion in annual production depend on the City of Detroit's international border crossing.
In addition to property taxes, residents pay an income tax rate of 2.50%.
Detroit automakers and local manufacturers have made significant restructurings in response to market competition. GM made its initial public offering (IPO) of stock in 2010, after bankruptcy, bailout, and restructuring by the federal government. Domestic automakers reported significant 2010 profits, interpreted by some analysts as indicating the beginning of an industry rebound and an economic recovery for the Detroit area.
Culture and contemporary life
Downtown Detroit's population of young professionals is growing and retail is expanding. A number of luxury high rises have been built. The east river development plans include more luxury condominium developments. This dynamic is luring many younger residents to the city's Downtown along with the revitalized Midtown and New Center areas. A 2007 study found that Detroit's new downtown residents are predominantly young professionals (57 percent are ages 25–34, 45 percent have bachelor's degrees, 34 percent have a master's or professional degree).
A desire to be closer to the urban scene has also attracted some young professionals to take up residence among the mansions of Grosse Pointe just outside the city. Detroit's proximity to Windsor, Ontario, provides for views and nightlife, along with Ontario's minimum drinking age of 19. A 2011 study by Walk Score recognized Detroit for its above average walkability among large U.S. cities. About two-thirds of suburban residents occasionally dine and attend cultural events or take in professional games in the city of Detroit.
Entertainment and performing arts
Live music has been a prominent feature of Detroit's nightlife since the late 1940s, bringing the city recognition under the nickname 'Motown'. The metropolitan area has many nationally prominent live music venues. Concerts hosted by Live Nation perform throughout the Detroit area. Large concerts are held at DTE Energy Music Theatre and The Palace of Auburn Hills. The city's theatre venue circuit is the United States' second largest and hosts Broadway performances.
Major theaters include the Fox Theatre (5,174 seats), Music Hall (1,770 seats), the Gem Theatre (451 seats), Masonic Temple Theatre (4,404 seats), the Detroit Opera House (2,765 seats), the Fisher Theatre (2,089 seats), The Fillmore Detroit (2,200 seats), St. Andrews Hall, the Majestic Theatre, and Orchestra Hall (2,286 seats) which hosts the renowned Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The Nederlander Organization, the largest controller of Broadway productions in New York City, originated with the purchase of the Detroit Opera House in 1922 by the Nederlander family.
Motown Motion Picture Studios with 535,000 square feet (49,700 m2) produces movies in Detroit and the surrounding area based at the Pontiac Centerpoint Business Campus for a film industry expected to employ over 4,000 people in the metro area.
The city of Detroit has a rich musical heritage and has contributed to a number of different genres over the decades leading into the new millennium. Important music events in the city include: the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, the Motor City Music Conference (MC2), the Urban Organic Music Conference, the Concert of Colors, and the hip-hop Summer Jamz festival.
In the 1940s, Detroit blues artist John Lee Hooker became a long-term resident in the city's southwest Delray neighborhood. Hooker, among other important blues musicians migrated from his home in Mississippi bringing the Delta Blues to northern cities like Detroit. Hooker recorded for Fortune Records, the biggest pre-Motown blues/soul label. During the 1950s, the city became a center for jazz, with stars performing in the Black Bottom neighborhood. Prominent emerging Jazz musicians of the 1960s included: trumpet player Donald Byrd who attended Cass Tech and performed with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers early in his career and Saxophonist Pepper Adams who enjoyed a solo career and accompanied Byrd on several albums. The Graystone International Jazz Museum documents jazz in Detroit.
Other, prominent Motor City R&B stars in the 1950s and early 1960s was Nolan Strong, Andre Williams and Nathaniel Mayer – who all scored local and national hits on the Fortune Records label. According to Smokey Robinson, Strong was a primary influence on his voice as a teenager. The Fortune label was a family-operated label located on Third Avenue in Detroit, and was owned by the husband and wife team of Jack Brown and Devora Brown. Fortune, which also released country, gospel and rockabilly LPs and 45s, laid the groundwork for Motown, which became Detroit's most legendary record label.
Berry Gordy, Jr. founded Motown Records which rose to prominence during the 1960s and early 1970s with acts such as Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, the Jackson 5, Martha and the Vandellas, The Spinners, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Marvin Gaye. Artists were backed by the Funk Brothers, the Motown house band that was featured in Paul Justman's 2002 documentary film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, based on Allan Slutsky's book of the same name.
The Motown Sound played an important role in the crossover appeal with popular music, since it was the first African American owned record label to primarily feature African-American artists. Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles in 1972 to pursue film production, but the company has since returned to Detroit. Aretha Franklin, another Detroit R&B star, carried the Motown Sound; however, she did not record with Berry's Motown Label.
Local artists and bands rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s including: the MC5, The Stooges, Bob Seger, Amboy Dukes featuring Ted Nugent, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, Rare Earth, Alice Cooper, and Suzi Quatro. The group Kiss emphasized the city's connection with rock in the song Detroit Rock City and the movie produced in 1999. In the 1980s, Detroit was an important center of the hardcore punk rock underground with many nationally known bands coming out of the city and its suburbs, such as The Necros, The Meatmen, and Negative Approach.
In the 1990s and the new millennium, the city has produced a number of influential hip hop artists, including Eminem, the hip-hop artist with the highest cumulative sales, hip-hop producer J Dilla, rapper and producer Esham and hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse. The city is also home to rappers Big Sean and Danny Brown. Detroit is cited as the birthplace of techno music. Prominent Detroit techno artists include Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson. The band Sponge toured and produced music, with artists such as Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker. The city also has an active garage rock genre that has generated national attention with acts such as: The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, The Dirtbombs, Electric Six, and The Hard Lessons.
Many of the area's prominent museums are located in the historic cultural center neighborhood around Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies. These museums include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Science Center, as well as the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. Other cultural highlights include Motown Historical Museum, the Pewabic Pottery studio and school, the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Fort Wayne, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID), and the Belle Isle Conservatory.
In 2010, the G.R. N'Namdi Gallery opened in a 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) complex in Midtown. Important history of America and the Detroit area are exhibited at The Henry Ford, the United States' largest indoor-outdoor museum complex. The Detroit Historical Society provides information about tours of area churches, skyscrapers, and mansions. Inside Detroit, meanwhile, hosts tours, educational programming, and a downtown welcome center. Other sites of interest are the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle, and Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills.
The city's Greektown and three downtown casino resort hotels serve as part of an entertainment hub. The Eastern Market farmer's distribution center is the largest open-air flowerbed market in the United States and has more than 150 foods and specialty businesses. On Saturdays, about 45,000 people shop the city's historic Eastern Market. The Midtown and the New Center area are centered on Wayne State University and Henry Ford Hospital. Midtown has about 50,000 residents and attracts millions of visitors each year to its museums and cultural centers; for example, the Detroit Festival of the Arts in Midtown draws about 350,000 people.
Annual summer events include the Electronic Music Festival, International Jazz Festival, the Woodward Dream Cruise, the African World Festival, the country music Hoedown, Noel Night, and Dally in the Alley. Within downtown, Campus Martius Park hosts large events, including the annual Motown Winter Blast. As the world's traditional automotive center, the city hosts the North American International Auto Show. Held since 1924, America's Thanksgiving Parade is one of the nation's largest. River Days, a five-day summer festival on the International Riverfront lead up to the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival fireworks, which draw super sized-crowds ranging from hundreds of thousands to over three million people.
An important civic sculpture in Detroit is "Spirit of Detroit" by Marshall Fredericks at the Coleman Young Municipal Center. The image is often used as a symbol of Detroit and the statue itself is occasionally dressed in sports jerseys to celebrate when a Detroit team is doing well. A memorial to Joe Louis at the intersection of Jefferson and Woodward Avenues was dedicated on October 16, 1986. The sculpture, commissioned by Sports Illustrated and executed by Robert Graham, is a 24-foot (7.3 m) long arm with a fisted hand suspended by a pyramidal framework.
Artist Tyree Guyton created the controversial street art exhibit known as the Heidelberg Project in 1986, using found objects including cars, clothing and shoes found in the neighborhood near and on Heidelberg Street on the near East Side of Detroit. Guyton continues to work with neighborhood residents and tourists in constantly evolving the neighborhood-wide art installation.
Detroit is one of 12 American metropolitan areas that are home to professional teams representing the four major sports in North America. All these teams but one play within the city of Detroit itself (the NBA's Detroit Pistons play in suburban Auburn Hills at The Palace of Auburn Hills). There are three active major sports venues within the city: Comerica Park (home of the Major League Baseball team Detroit Tigers), Ford Field (home of the NFL's Detroit Lions), and Joe Louis Arena (home of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings). A 1996 marketing campaign promoted the nickname "Hockeytown".
In college sports, Detroit's central location within the Mid-American Conference has made it a frequent site for the league's championship events. While the MAC Basketball Tournament moved permanently to Cleveland starting in 2000, the MAC Football Championship Game has been played at Ford Field in Detroit since 2004, and annually attracts 25,000 to 30,000 fans. The University of Detroit Mercy has a NCAA Division I program, and Wayne State University has both NCAA Division I and II programs. The NCAA football Little Caesars Pizza Bowl is held at Ford Field each December.
In 2012, a group of residents of Detroit founded a soccer team called the Detroit City Football Club. The team was created to promote the community. The team plays in the Midwestern Division of the National Premier Soccer League, and its nickname is Le Rouge.
Sailboat racing is a major sport in the Detroit area. Lake Saint Clair is home to many yacht clubs which host regattas. Bayview Yacht Club, the Detroit Yacht Club, Crescent Sail Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, The Windsor Yacht Club, and the Edison Boat Club each participate in and are governed by the Detroit Regional Yacht-Racing Association or DRYA. Detroit is home to many One-Design fleets including, but not limited to, North American 40s, Cal 25s, Cuthbertson and Cassian 35s, Crescent Sailboats, Express 27s, J 120s, J 105, Flying Scots, and many more.
Since 1916, the city has been home to Unlimited Hydroplane racing, held annually (with exceptions) on the Detroit River near Belle Isle. Often, the hydroplane boat race is for the APBA Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the Gold Cup (first awarded in 1904, created by Tiffany) which is the oldest active motorsport trophy in the world.
The city hosted the Detroit Indy Grand Prix on Belle Isle Park from 1989 to 2001, 2007 to 2008, and 2012 and beyond. The event generated about $53 million in economic impact for the area. In 2007, open-wheel racing returned to Belle Isle with both Indy Racing League and American Le Mans Series Racing.
In the years following the mid-1930s, Detroit was referred to as the "City of Champions" after the Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings captured all three major professional sports championships in a seven-month period of time (the Tigers won the World Series in October, 1935; the Lions won the NFL championship in December, 1935; the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in April, 1936). With the Pistons' first of three NBA titles in 1989, the city of Detroit was the fourth city (after New York, Chicago and Philadelphia) to win titles in all four of the current major professional sports leagues. (Boston and Los Angeles have since joined this list, and depending on the definition of the status of the ABA, the city of Pittsburgh can claim to have done so as well.) Gar Wood (a native Detroiter) won the Harmsworth Trophy for unlimited powerboat racing on the Detroit River in 1931. In the next year, 1932, Eddie "The Midnight Express" Tolan, a black student from Detroit's Cass Technical High School, won the 100- and 200-meter races and two gold medals at the 1932 Summer Olympics.
Joe Louis won the heavyweight championship of the world in 1937. Also, in 1935 the Detroit Lions won the NFL championship. The Detroit Tigers have won eleven American League pennants (The most recent being in 2012) and four World Series titles. In 1984, the Detroit Tigers' World Series championship, after which crowds had left three dead and millions of dollars in property damage. The Detroit Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cups (the most by an American NHL Franchise), the Detroit Pistons have won three NBA titles, and the Detroit Shock have won three WNBA titles.
Detroit has the distinction of being the city which has made the most bids to host the Summer Olympics without ever being awarded the games: seven unsuccessful bids for the 1944, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972 games. It came as high as second place in the balloting two times, losing the 1964 games to Tokyo and the 1968 games to Mexico City.
Detroit hosts many WWE events such as the 2007 WWE's WrestleMania 23 which attracted 80,103 fans to Ford Field; the event marking the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania III which drew a reported 93,173 to the Pontiac Silverdome in nearby Pontiac in 1987. The city hosted the Red Bull Air Race in 2008 on the International Riverfront.
Law and government
The city is governed pursuant to the Home Rule Charter of the City of Detroit. The city government is run by a mayor and a nine-member city council and clerk elected on an at-large nonpartisan ballot. Since voters approved the city's charter in 1974, Detroit has had a "strong mayoral" system, with the mayor approving departmental appointments. The council approves budgets but the mayor is not obligated to adhere to any earmarking. City ordinances and substantially large contracts must be approved by the council. The Detroit City Code is the codification of Detroit's local ordinances.
The city clerk supervises elections and is formally charged with the maintenance of municipal records. Municipal elections for mayor, city council and city clerk are held at four-year intervals, in the year after presidential elections. Following a November 2009 referendum, seven council members will be elected from districts beginning in 2013 while two will continue to be elected at-large.
Detroit's courts are state-administered and elections are nonpartisan. The Probate Court for Wayne County is located in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in downtown Detroit. The Circuit Court is located across Gratiot Ave. in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, in downtown Detroit. The city is home to the Thirty-Sixth District Court, as well as the First District of the Michigan Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The city provides law enforcement through the Detroit Police Department and emergency services through the Detroit Fire Department.
Detroit has several sister cities, including Chongqing (People's Republic of China), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Kitwe (Zambia), Minsk (Belarus), Nassau, Bahamas, Toyota (Japan), and Turin (Italy).
Detroit has serious problems with crime, having the sixth highest total rate of violent crime and the highest per capita rate of violent crime among the 25 largest U.S. cities in 2007. Nearly two-thirds of all murders in Michigan in 2011 occurred in Detroit. Although the rate of violent crime dropped 11 percent in 2008, violent crime in Detroit has not declined as much as the national average from 2007 to 2011. The violent crime rate is one of the highest in the United States. Neighborhoodscout.com reported a crime rate of 62.18 per 1,000 residents for property crimes, and 16.73 per 1,000 for violent crimes (compared to national figures of 32 per 1,000 for property crimes and 5 per 1,000 for violent crime in 2008).
The city's downtown typically has lower crime than national and state averages. According to a 2007 analysis, Detroit officials note that about 65 to 70 percent of homicides in the city were drug related, with the rate of unsolved murders roughly 70%.
According to Forbes Magazine, Detroit was the most dangerous city in the United States in 2012 for the fourth year. Forbes did not include cities with a population below 200,000 people in their list. They say the rate of violent crime in Detroit fell by 10% in 2012. Forbes compiled its list of "most dangerous" cities by using the uniform crime reports database from the FBI, even though they acknowledge that the FBI warns against using their data to compare one city with another because of such things as "differences in police reporting standards." Despite their conclusion that Detroit is the most dangerous city in the United States, they point out that New Orleans, Louisiana, not Detroit has the highest murder rate in the United States and that even in its own state of Michigan, it is Flint, Michigan not Detroit that has the highest murder rate in the state.
Beginning with its incorporation in 1802, Detroit has had a total of 74 mayors. Detroit's last mayor from the Republican Party was Louis Miriani who served from 1957 to 1962. In 1973, the city elected its first black mayor, Coleman Young. Despite development efforts, his combative style during his five terms in office was not well received by many suburban residents. Mayor Dennis Archer, a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, refocused the city's attention on redevelopment with a plan to permit three casinos downtown. By 2008, three major casino resort hotels established operations in the city.
In 2000, the City requested an investigation by the United States Justice Department into the Detroit Police Department which was concluded in 2003 over allegations regarding its use of force and civil rights violations. The city proceeded with a major reorganization of the Detroit Police Department.
In March 2013, Governor Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency in the city, stating that the city has a $327 million budget deficit and faces more than $14 billion in long-term debt. It has been making ends meet on a month-to-month basis with the help of bond money held in a state escrow account and has instituted mandatory unpaid days off for many city workers. Those troubles, along with underfunded city services, such as police and fire departments, and ineffective turnaround plans from Bing and the City Council led the state of Michigan to appoint an emergency manager for Detroit on March 14, 2013. On June 14, 2013 Detroit defaulted on $2.5 billion of debt by withholding $39.7 million in interest payments, while Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr met with bondholders and other creditors in an attempt to restructure the city's $18.5 billion debt and avoid bankruptcy. On July 18, 2013, the City of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. It was declared bankrupt by U.S. judge Stephen Rhodes on December 3, with its $18.5 billion debt he said in accepting the city's contention that it is broke and that negotiations with its thousands of creditors were infeasible.
Colleges and universities
Detroit is home to several institutions of higher learning including Wayne State University, a national research university with medical and law schools in the Midtown area offering hundreds of academic degrees and programs. The University of Detroit Mercy, located in Northwest Detroit in the University District, is a prominent Roman Catholic co-educational university affiliated with the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy. The University of Detroit Mercy offers more than a hundred academic degrees and programs of study including business, dentistry, law, engineering, architecture, nursing and allied health professions. The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is located Downtown across from the Renaissance Center.
Sacred Heart Major Seminary, originally founded in 1919, is affiliated with Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome and offers pontifical degrees as well as civil undergraduate and graduate degrees. Sacred Heart Major Seminary offers a variety of academic programs for both clerical and lay students. Other institutions in the city include the College for Creative Studies, Lewis College of Business, Marygrove College and Wayne County Community College. In June 2009, the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine which is based in East Lansing opened a satellite campus located at the Detroit Medical Center. The University of Michigan was established in 1817 in Detroit and later moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. In 1959, University of Michigan–Dearborn was established in neighboring Dearborn.
Primary and secondary schools
Public schools and charter schools
With about 66,000 public school students (2011–12), the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district is the largest school district in Michigan. Detroit has an additional 56,000 charter school students for a combined enrollment of about 122,000 students. As of 2009 there are about as many students in charter schools as there are in district schools.
In 1999, the Michigan Legislature removed the locally elected board of education amid allegations of mismanagement and replaced it with a reform board appointed by the mayor and governor. The elected board of education was re-established following a city referendum in 2005. The first election of the new 11-member board of education occurred on November 8, 2005.
Due to growing Detroit charter schools enrollment as well as a continued exodus of population, the city planned to close many public schools. State officials report a 68% graduation rate for Detroit's public schools adjusted for those who change schools.
Public and charter school students in the city have performed poorly on standardized tests. While Detroit public schools scored a record low on national tests, the publicly funded charter schools did even worse than the public schools.
Detroit is served by various private schools, as well as parochial Roman Catholic schools operated by the Archdiocese of Detroit. As of 2013 there are four Catholic grade schools and three Catholic high schools in the City of Detroit, with all of them in the city's west side. The Archdiocese of Detroit lists a number of primary and secondary schools in the metro area as Catholic education has emigrated to the suburbs. Of the three Catholic high schools in the city, two are operated by the Society of Jesus and the third is co-sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Congregation of St. Basil.
In the 1964-1965 school year there were about 110 Catholic grade schools in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park and 55 Catholic high schools in those three cities. The Catholic school population in Detroit has decreased due to the increase of charter schools, increasing tuition at Catholic schools, the small number of African-American Catholics, White Catholics moving to suburbs, and the decreased number of teaching nuns.
The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are the major daily newspapers, both broadsheet publications published together under a joint operating agreement. Media philanthropy includes the Detroit Free Press high school journalism program and the Old Newsboys' Goodfellow Fund of Detroit. In December, 2008, the Detroit Media Partnership announced that the two papers would reduce home delivery to three days a week, print reduced newsstand issues of the papers on non-delivery days and focus resources on Internet-based news delivery. These changes went into effect in March, 2009. Founded in 1980, the Metro Times is a weekly publication, covering news, arts & entertainment.
Also founded in 1935 and based in Detroit the Michigan Chronicle is one of the oldest and most respected African-American weekly newspapers in America. Covering politics, entertainment, sports and community events. The Detroit television market is the 11th largest in the United States; according to estimates that do not include audiences located in large areas of Ontario, Canada (Windsor and its surrounding area on broadcast and cable TV, as well as several other cable markets in Ontario, such as the city of Ottawa) which receive and watch Detroit television stations.
Within the city of Detroit, there are over a dozen major hospitals which include the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), Henry Ford Health System, St. John Health System, and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center. The DMC, a regional Level I trauma center, consists of Detroit Receiving Hospital and University Health Center, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Harper University Hospital, Hutzel Women's Hospital, Kresge Eye Institute, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Sinai-Grace Hospital, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. The DMC has more than 2,000 licensed beds and 3,000 affiliated physicians. It is the largest private employer in the City of Detroit. The center is staffed by physicians from the Wayne State University School of Medicine, the largest single-campus medical school in the United States, and the United States' fourth largest medical school overall.
Detroit Medical Center formally became a part of Vanguard Health Systems on December 30, 2010, as a for profit corporation. Vanguard has agreed to invest nearly $1.5 B in the Detroit Medical Center complex which will include $417 M to retire debts, at least $350 M in capital expenditures and an additional $500 M for new capital investment. Vanguard has agreed to assume all debts and pension obligations. In 2010, Henry Ford Health System in the New Center also announced a $500 M expansion in Detroit with plans for a biomedical research center. The metro area has many other hospitals including William Beaumont Hospital, St. Joseph's, and University of Michigan Medical Center.
With its proximity to Canada and its facilities, ports, major highways, rail connections and international airports, Detroit is an important transportation hub. The city has three international border crossings, the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. The Ambassador Bridge is the single busiest border crossing in North America, carrying 27% of the total trade between the U.S. and Canada.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), the area's principal airport, is located in nearby Romulus and is a primary hub for Delta Air Lines and a secondary hub for Spirit Airlines. Bishop International Airport (FNT) in Flint, Michigan is the second busiest commercial airport in the region. Coleman A. Young International Airport (DET), previously called Detroit City Airport, is on Detroit's northeast side. Although Southwest Airlines once flew from the airport, the airport now maintains only charter service and general aviation. Willow Run Airport, in far-western Wayne County near Ypsilanti, is a general aviation and cargo airport.
Mass transit in the region is provided by bus services. The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) provides service to the outer edges of the city. From there, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) provides service to the suburbs. Cross border service between the downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit is provided by Transit Windsor via the Tunnel Bus. It is also possible for those who cross to Detroit on the tunnel bus to use a Transit Windsor transfer for transfers onto Detroit Smart buses, allowing for travel around Metro Detroit from a single fare.
An elevated rail system known as the People Mover, completed in 1987, provides daily service around a 2.9 miles (4.7 km) loop downtown. A proposed bus rapid transit may serve as a link between the Detroit People Mover and SEMCOG Commuter Rail which extends from Detroit's New Center area to The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbor.
The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was established by an act of the Michigan legislation in December 2012 to oversee and coordinate all existing regional mass transit operations, and to develop new transit services in the region. The M-1 Rail Line is expected to open in 2016, running along Woodward Avenue from downtown to the New Center area.
Amtrak provides service to Detroit, operating its Wolverine service between Chicago and Pontiac. Baggage cannot be checked at this location; however, up to two suitcases in addition to any "personal items" such as briefcases, purses, laptop bags, and infant equipment are allowed on board as carry-ons. The Amtrak station is located in the New Center area north of downtown. The J.W. Westcott II, which delivers mail to lake freighters on the Detroit River, is the world's only floating post office.
Metro Detroit has an extensive toll-free network of freeways administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Four major Interstate Highways surround the city. Detroit is connected via Interstate 75 (I-75) and I-96 to Kings Highway 401 and to major Southern Ontario cities such as London, Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area. I-75 (Chrysler and Fisher freeways) is the region's main north–south route, serving Flint, Pontiac, Troy, and Detroit, before continuing south (as the Detroit–Toledo and Seaway Freeways) to serve many of the communities along the shore of Lake Erie.
I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway) runs east–west through Detroit and serves Ann Arbor to the west (where it continues to Chicago) and Port Huron to the northeast. The stretch of the current I-94 freeway from Ypsilanti to Detroit was one of America's earlier limited-access highways. Henry Ford built it to link the factories at Willow Run and Dearborn during World War II. A portion was known as the Willow Run Expressway. The I-96 freeway runs northwest–southeast through Livingston, Oakland and Wayne counties and (as the Jeffries Freeway through Wayne County) has its eastern terminus in downtown Detroit.
I-275 runs north–south from I-75 in the south to the junction of I-96 and I-696 in the north, providing a bypass through the western suburbs of Detroit. I-375 is a short spur route in downtown Detroit, an extension of the Chrysler Freeway. I-696 (Reuther Freeway) runs east–west from the junction of I-96 and I-275, providing a route through the northern suburbs of Detroit. Taken together, I-275 and I-696 form a semicircle around Detroit. Michigan state highways designated with the letter M serve to connect major freeways.
- Chongqing, China
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Kitwe, Zambia
- Minsk, Belarus
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
- Turin, Italy
- Chernihiv, Ukraine
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Historical research and current events
- Detroit Entertainment District
- Detroit Historical Museums & Society
- Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
- Experience Detroit
- Virtual Motor City Collection at Wayne State University Library, contains over 30,000 images of Detroit from 1890 to 1980
Municipal government and local Chamber of Commerce
- City of Detroit official website
- Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Detroit Regional Chamber
- City of Detroit at the Wayback Machine (archived June 23, 2003)
- City of Detroit at the Wayback Machine (archived December 12, 1998)