Demographics of Metro Detroit

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Historical population
Census Pop.
1950 3,016,197
1960 3,762,360 24.7%
1970 4,307,470 14.5%
1980 4,353,365 1.1%
1990 4,482,299 3.0%
2000 4,752,557 6.0%
2010 5,096,250 7.2%
Est. 2015 5,592,060 9.7%

Within Metro Detroit, as of the census of 2010, there were 4,296,250 people, 1,682,111 households, and 1,110,454 families residing within the MSA (metropolitan statistical area). The census reported 70.1% White, 22.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.2% of the population. Arab Americans were at least 4.7% of the region's population (considered white in the U.S. Census). The region's foreign-born population sat at 8.6%.

As of the 2010 American Community Survey estimates, the median income for a household in the MSA was $48,198, and the median income for a family was $62,119. The per capita income for the MSA was $25,403.


In 1701, French officer Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac, along with fifty-one additional French-Canadians, founded a settlement called Fort Ponchartrain du Détroit, naming it after the comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV. The French legacy can be observed today in the names of many area cities (ex. Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Ile) and streets (ex. Gratiot, Beaubien, St. Antoine, Cadieux).

Later came an influx of persons of British and German descent, followed by Polish, Irish, Italian, Lebanese, Assyrian/Chaldean, Greek, Jewish, and Belgian immigrants who made their way to the area in the early 20th century and during and after World War II.[1] There was a large migration into the city from the rural South following World War I.[1]

Racial and ethnic groups[edit]

Map of racial distribution in Metro Detroit, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people.
  Hispanic (of any race)

Metro Detroit has various ethnic groups.

Per the United States Census Bureau, as of July 2015, approximately 83% of those residing in the City of Detroit, MI are African American. [2]Today, most but not all of the cities (and within) Detroit are still predominantly Caucasian. Oakland County is among the most affluent counties in the United States with populations over one million.[3] In Wayne County, the city of Dearborn has a large concentration of Arab Americans, mainly Lebanese. Recently, the area has witnessed some growth in Albanian, Asian and Hispanic populations. Immigration continues to play a role in the region's projected growth with the population of Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint (CMSA) estimated to be 6,191,000 by 2025.[4]

In the 2000s, 115 of the 185 cities and townships in Metro Detroit were over 95% white. Of the more than 240,000 suburban blacks in Metro Detroit, 44% lived in Inkster, Oak Park, Pontiac, and Southfield; most of the African American population in the area resided in Detroit, Highland Park, Inkster, Pontiac, and Southfield.[5]


Religious groups in Metro Detroit include Christianity (67%),[6][7] Islam (3%), Judaism (2%), Hinduism (1%), Buddhism (1%), and other groups.

Immigration and foreign-born origins[edit]

A 2013 report by Global Detroit and Data Driven Detroit stated that there were almost 400,000 immigrants combined in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties. The largest groups are, in order, India, Mexico, Iraq, Canada, and Lebanon. Throughout the entire U.S. the largest immigration group comes from Mexico. Of those living in the four county region as of 2013, about 8% were not born in the United States. That year, the percentages of people not born in the United States were 41% in Hamtramck, 27% in Dearborn, 26% in Troy, and 23% in Sterling Heights. 5% of people within the city of Detroit are immigrants, making the percentage of immigrants in Detroit the lowest such percentage out of those of the 25 largest cities in the United States. The national average is about 13%.[8]

The first wave of immigrants, including Germans, Irish, and Poles, arrived in the mid-19th Century.[9] In 1900 Detroit had 96,503 people who were not born in the United States. This figure increased to 157,534 in 1910.[10] In the early 20th Century the largest wave of immigrants came to work at automobile factories. The immigrants arrived from Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Syria, and the Ukraine. Initially the volume was in the thousands. The volume increased to the tens of thousands after Henry Ford announced that workers would be paid $5 per day.[9] As a result, Austrians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Finns, Lithuanians, Macedonians, Norwegians, Romanians, Serbians, Slovaks, and Swedes traveled to Detroit.[11] By 1925 almost half of Detroit's population was not born in the United States.[10]

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.[12] In 2002 over 80% of the Bangladeshi population within Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties lived in Hamtramck and some surrounding neighborhoods in Detroit.[13] That area overall had almost 1,500 ethnic Bangladeshis,[14] almost 75% of Bangladeshis in the entire state of Michigan.[15]

LGBT population[edit]

As of 2007 Ferndale is the center of the LGBT community in Metro Detroit.[16] As of 1997 many of them reside in Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, and Royal Oak.[17] Model D stated in 2007 that there are populations of homosexuals in some Detroit neighborhoods such as East English Village, Indian Village, Lafayette Park, and Woodbridge and that the concentration of gay bars in Detroit is "decentralized".[18] As of 1997 is racial segregation between gays of different economic and racial backgrounds.[17]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Baulch, Vivian M. (September 4, 1999). "Michigan's greatest treasure – Its people" (Archive) Michigan History, The Detroit News. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "2004–05 Community profile Oakland County" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2007. Oakland County also ranks as the fourth wealthiest county in the nation among counties with populations of more than one million people. 
  4. ^ Metro Area Factsheet: Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, Michigan CMSA.Federation for Immigration Reform. Retrieved on April 12, 2011.
  5. ^ Towbridge, Gordon. "Racial divide widest in US." The Detroit News. January 14, 2002. Retrieved on March 30, 2009.
  6. ^ Major U.S. metropolitan areas differ in their religious profiles, Pew Research Center
  7. ^ "America's Changing Religious Landscape". Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life. May 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ Warikoo, Niraj. "Biggest metro Detroit immigrant group is from India, report shows." Detroit Free Press. July 20, 2013. Retrieved on March 9, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Woodford, p. 185.
  10. ^ a b Woodford, p. 186.
  11. ^ Woodford, p. 185-186.
  12. ^ Kershaw, Sarah. "Queens to Detroit: A Bangladeshi Passage." The New York Times. March 8, 2001. Retrieved on May 10, 2013.
  13. ^ Metzger, Kurt and Jason Booza. "Asians in the United States, Michigan and Metropolitan Detroit." Center for Urban Studies, Wayne State University. January 2002 Working Paper Series, No. 7. p. 7. Retrieved on November 6, 2013.
  14. ^ Metzger, Kurt and Jason Booza. "Asians in the United States, Michigan and Metropolitan Detroit." Center for Urban Studies, Wayne State University. January 2002 Working Paper Series, No. 7. p. 13. Retrieved on November 6, 2013.
  15. ^ Metzger, Kurt and Jason Booza. "Asians in the United States, Michigan and Metropolitan Detroit." Center for Urban Studies, Wayne State University. January 2002 Working Paper Series, No. 7. p. 10. Retrieved on November 6, 2013.
  16. ^ Case, Wendy. "Affirming Ferndale." (Archive) Metro Times. May 30, 2007. Retrieved on January 24, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Gallagher, John. "Location, Location, Location: The Most Livable Places in America." The Advocate. Here Publishing, June 24, 1997. No. 736, ISSN 0001-8996. p. 60.
  18. ^ "Supergay." "Where the Gays Are" (Archive). Model D Media. Issue Media Group, LLC. Tuesday April 24, 2007. Retrieved on December 1, 2013.


Further reading