Population in Urban Area, now
- World: 137th
- North America: 17th
- United States: 12th
Population in City Area, mid 2021
- World: 566th
- North America: 46th
- United States: 25th
Detroit Population Graphs
- Urban Area
- City Area
Detroit Population Review
The largest city in Michigan, Detroit is home 3.5 million people in the Detroit Metropolitan Area and 668,000 in the city area. This makes it the second largest city in the Midwest, after Chicago, and the fourteenth largest in the United States. Detroit is known for its contributions to music, art, architecture, and design and is a major port on the Detroit River—one of the four major straits that connect the Great Lakes to the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
The Detroit Metropolitan Area anchors the second-largest regional economy in the Midwest and the thirteenth largest economy in the entire country. Detroit is best known as the center of the automobile industry in the United States and General Motors, Fort and Fiat Chrysler are all headquartered in Detroit.
A close tie to Canada
Detroit is separated from the Canadian city of Windsor, Ontario by the Detroit River and has extremely close ties with the Canadian city. There are three roadway systems that cross the river, including a highway tunnel, a railway tunnel, and the Ambassador Bridge. It is the second-busiest international crossing in North America, after Tijuana.
The Detroit-Windsor connection is an international transborder agglomeration and is a critical link between the two countries. The two metropolitan areas share workforces that cross the border on a daily basis to commute to jobs on the other side of the border. The area is also a key border crossing for goods making their way into Canada or from Canada and into the United States.
A falling population
Detroit has had a rocky history when it comes to population growth. From 1950 to 1970, the city’s population grew by 1.2 million people. From 1970 to 1990, the population then declined by around 200,000 people, before slowly rising again 3.8 million by the year 2000. Since then, Detroit has seen a steady decline in its population, dropping to its current population of 3.5 million.
While the population of Detroit is predicted to rise in the coming years and estimates say that it will again reach 3.8 million residents by 2035, Detroit’s decline was historic. The city has one of the most dramatic declines in population in the past 60 years out of all major cities in the United States. This was heavily influenced by the collapse of the city’s economy. Following suburbanization, heavy industrial restructuring and the loss of thousands of jobs, Detroit has seen hundreds of thousands of residents leave the city seeking work or more affordable housing in the suburbs.
A poverty rate that dwarfs the national average
Detroit has a poverty rate that’s almost three times that of the national average—around 35%. The child poverty rate in the city is even higher, at over 50%. The unemployment rate in the city is around 8.4% and the city has some of the highest crime rates in the United States, with a rate of 62.18 per 1,000 residents when it came to property crimes, and 16.73 per 1,000 for violent crimes. Compare this to the national average 32 per 1,000 for property crimes and 5 per 1,000 for violent crime as of 2008, and Detroit’s issues are clearly visible.
The city also has a debilitating drug problem that contributes heavily to its dramatic homicide rate. In fact, almost 70% of homicides in the city were considered drug-related and the rate of unsolved murders in Detroit sits at almost 70%.
A resurgence on the horizon
There is hope that Detroit will make a comeback, with evidence of Detroit’s resurgence most readily found in the Midtown and Central Business District. These areas have attracted multiple high level investors.
There is some argument that the influx of private investors to the downtown area is changing the socio-economic character of the city. Fears of displacement due to increase in rent and that city government will become less responsive to their needs if they are too heavily influenced by outside investors.