Detroit, the most populous city in Michigan and the Metro Detroit area, serves as a vital port connecting the Great Lakes to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Detroit is also known as the traditional automotive center of the world, and its name is synonymous for the US auto industry, as well as its musical legacies, which have earned it the nicknames Motor City and Motown. Detroit's population in 2000 was 951,270, which dropped to only 713,777 by 2010.
Detroit's population has been declining for more than 60 years, and its 2016 estimated population of 677,116 represents a 0.94% decrease from its 2010 population. The urban area of Detroit is home to an estimated 3.7 million, while its metropolitan area has a population of 4.275 million. The Combined Statistical Area has a population of 5.2 million.
In 1950, Detroit was the 4th largest city in the country, but its population has been in decline for the past 60 years with the second largest population decline in the country (second only to St. Louis).
Because of this decline, Detroit now has a large number of abandoned buildings and homes and the area is dealing with urban decay.
Detroit has been going through an economic decline for many years, in part due to urban decay, in which young, educated people move away from the city for better options. Other causes of Detroit's decline include segregation, politics, and of course, the collapse of the auto industry, which the city has relied on for many years.
Between 1947 and 1963, the city lost over 140,000 manufacturing jobs. In the next decade, Japanese car imports took up a greater share of the United States market, which took even more jobs from the region. Unfortunately, Detroit became dependent on a single industry -- automobiles -- and the city's population dropped by over 40% from 1970 to 2006.
Between 2000 and 2010, Detroit's population fell an astounding 25%, dropping the city from the 10th largest city in the country to the 18th. In 2010, Detroit's population was 713,000, a 60% decrease from its peak population of 1.8 million in 1950.
Detroit is an extreme case of what has affected other major, old industrial cities in the country. As the industrial cities in the United States declined, only Detroit hit rock bottom with $20 billion in unpaid bills in 2013 that led to the single largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.
Along with its population problem, Detroit also has a demographics problem with a wide age distribution. 31.1% of its population is under 18, 9.7% are 18-24, 29.5% are 25-44, 19.3% are 45-64 and 10.4% are 65 or older. The median age in Detroit is 31, and for every 100 females aged 18, there are 83 males.
Detroit is also one of the poorest major cities in the United States, and poverty is a real problem. The median household income dropped from $29,526 in 2000 to $26,098 in 2009. A year later, it had fallen further to $25,787. nIn In 2010, the mean income is below the US average by thousands. 1 in 3 residents in the city are in poverty.
Oakland County, a part of Metro Detroit, was once one of the wealthiest counties in the US, but it is no longer in the top 25.
In 1940, non-Hispanic whites accounted for 90.4% of Detroit's population, but there has been a significant shift in its population to the suburbs since the 1950s. In 1910, only 6,000 black people lived in the city, which grew to 120,000 by 1930.
Detroit is still one of the most racially segregated cities in the country. While black people moved to Detroit from the 40s through the 70s to escape Jim Crow laws elsewhere, they encountered exclusion from white areas, sometimes through economic discrimination or even violence. The traditional boundary between white and black regions of the city is Eight Mile Road.
Blacks and African Americans makeup only 13% of the state's population as a whole but account for 82% of Detroit's population.
Detroit Population Growth
Detroit's population decline is expected to continue for some time. The city owes creditors $18 billion, and its bankruptcy case was approved in 2014. As of 2016, the future for the city remains unknown.
Even if Detroit comes up with a feasible plan, it doesn't answer the question of what will happen in the future. Detroit's revenues do not match its expenses, and it's dealing with a rapidly declining population, and thus lower tax revenues.
According to the US Census Bureau, Detroit's population decline is finally slowing, which means its 25% drop over the last ten years may have bottomed out. This doesn't say the slump is over, however, or that the city is rebounding.
It's currently estimated that Detroit's population will fall to just 610,000 people by 2030, down from 2013's 701,475. Demographer Kurt Metzger, however, adds that he believes the population will as low as 600,000 before stabilizing.