Demographic history of Detroit
From the early nineteenth century up to the Great Depression, the population of Detroit grew at an extremely rapid pace, increasing by more than 1,000 times between 1820 and 1930. This massive population increase was partially due to the auto industry expansion during the early twentieth century.
Detroit was founded in 1701 with a population of 100 French soldiers, farmers and merchants. The first women arrived in September. Native American settlements of various tribes around the fort soon far outnumbered the French. Detroit grew into the most important city between Montreal and New Orleans. Its European population was 800 people in 1765, with most or all of the Native Americans having long before left. By 1773, the population of Detroit was 1,400. By 1778, its population was up to 2,144 and the third largest city in the Province of Quebec.
The city became a magnet for immigrants, especially before World War I, when over one-third of its population was consistently composed of immigrants. From at least 1880 to the 1980s, the greatest number of immigrants living in Wayne County, Michigan (where Detroit is located) were from Central and Eastern Europe. After the passage of laws restricting immigration to the U.S. in the 1920s and the later internal migration out of Detroit, the percentage of immigrants among Detroit's total population consistently fell until 1990, by which point immigrants composed less than five percent of Detroit's total population. By contrast, the enclave city of Hamtramck had 43% foreign-born in 2010; a bordering city, Dearborn, had 25%.
In 1943, Detroit's population had grown by 350,000 people since the beginning of World War II. The booming defense industries brought in large numbers of people with high wages and very little available housing. 50,000 blacks had recently arrived along with 300,000 whites, mostly from rural Appalachia and Southern States. The population for the city peaked in 1950 and then decreased by about 60% by 2010 with migration to the suburbs. Detroit was in the top ten most populous cities in the United States between 1910 and the 2000-2009 decade, and it was the fourth most populous city in the United States between 1920 and 1950. Due to its population decrease between 2000 and 2010, the city became the 18th most populous city in the United States.
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.
The first and second Great Migrations of African Americans from the Southern United States between 1910 and 1980 increased Detroit's African American population by over 100 times. 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. The white population of the city peaked in 1950 and then steadily declined due to white flight, net outmigration through 2010. The white population has fallen 95% between the 1950 and 2010 censuses. However, in an apparent turn-around, the Detroit News reported in its September 17, 2015 edition that the white population of the city is now actually rising, with a reported nearly 8,000 increase in white residents just from 2013 to 2014—the first measurable increase in Detroit's white population since 1950 when the city was 84% white.
Also, 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.
The Hispanic population of Detroit rapidly increased after 1940, with the Hispanic population of Detroit being almost ten times higher in 2010 than it was in 1940. Since the 1980s, the largest overseas immigrant groups in Wayne County have been from Asia and the Middle East.
|Demographic history profile of Detroit, Michigan, Between 1820-2010|
"7.2 Sq Mi"; a 2013 report created by a coalition of Data Driven Detroit, Downtown Detroit Partnership, Midtown Detroit Inc., and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.; outlined the demographics of the following communities: Downtown, Corktown, Eastern Market, the eastern riverfront, Lafayette Park, Midtown, New Center, and Woodbridge, a total of 7.2 square miles (19 km2), according to the 2010 U.S. Census data. This central area is not as wealthy as comparable central areas in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and other similar cities, yet its residents have more ethnic diversity and are wealthier than other areas of Detroit. Eric Lacy of MLive wrote "Consider that data either proof downtown Detroit is on an upswing, other neighborhoods are deteriorating fast or a mixture of both."
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- Jacqueline Peterson, Jennifer S. H. Brown, Many roads to Red River (2001), p69
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- "Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990". U.S. Census Bureau.
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The thousands of African-Americans who flocked to Detroit were part of the "Great Migration" of the twentieth century.
- Reynolds Farley; Sheldon Danziger; Harry J. Holzer (2002). "The Evolution of Racial Segregation". Detroit divided. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. ISBN 978-0-87154-281-6.
- Sugrue, Thomas J. (March 26, 2011). "A Dream Still Deferred". New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
- Darden, Joe; Rahbar, Mohammad; Jezierski, Louise; Li, Min; Velie, Ellen (January 1, 2010). "The Measurement of Neighborhood Socioeconomic Characteristics and black and white Residential Segregation in Metropolitan Detroit: Implications for the Study of Social Disparities in Health". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 100 (1): 137–158. doi:10.1080/00045600903379042.
In 2000, metropolitan Detroit was the most racially segregated large metropolitan area in the United States (Darden, Stokes, and Thomas 2007). Accompanying such extreme racial residential segregation is extreme class segregation.
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- Gallagher, John. "Downtown Detroit has more wealth, diversity than city as whole, report says" (Archive). Detroit Free Press. February 18, 2013. Retrieved on June 14, 2015.
- Lacy, Eric. "Downtown Detroit (7.2 square miles) is more diverse, educated and wealthy than rest of city, report says" (Archive). MLive. February 18, 2013. Retrieved on June 14, 2015.
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- "7.2 SQ MI: Report on Greater Downtown Detroit" (original 2013 document)