Detroit - Demographics

Demographics

See also: Demographic history profile of Detroit

In 2010, the city had 713,777 residents. The name Detroit sometimes refers to Metro Detroit, a six-county area with a population of 4,296,250 for the Metropolitan Statistical Area, making it the United States' twelfth-largest, and a population of 5,218,852 for the nine-county Combined Statistical Area as of the 2010 Census Bureau estimates. The Detroit-Windsor area, a critical commercial link straddling the Canada-U.S. border, has a total population of about 5,700,000. Immigration continues to play a role in the region's projected growth. Oakland County in Metro Detroit is among the more affluent counties in the U.S. with more than one million people.

Poverty has been a continued problem in the city proper. 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.

Historical populations
Census City Metro Region
1810 1,650 N/A N/A
1820 1,422 N/A N/A
1830 2,222 N/A N/A
1840 9,102 N/A N/A
1850 21,019 N/A N/A
1860 45,619 N/A N/A
1870 79,577 N/A N/A
1880 116,340 N/A N/A
1890 205,877 N/A N/A
1900 285,704 542,452 664,771
1910 465,766 725,064 867,250
1920 993,678 1,426,704 1,639,006
1930 1,568,662 2,325,739 2,655,395
1940 1,623,452 2,544,287 2,911,681
1950 1,849,568 3,219,256 3,700,490
1960 1,670,144 4,012,607 4,660,480
1970 1,514,063 4,490,902 5,289,766
1980 1,203,368 4,387,783 5,203,269
1990 1,027,974 4,266,654 5,095,695
2000 951,270 4,441,551 5,357,538
2010 713,777 4,296,250 5,218,852
*Estimates

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, non-Hispanic whites were 90.4% of the city's population. However, 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.

At its peak in 1950, the city was the fifth-largest in the United States, but has since seen a major shift in its population to the suburbs. The city population has dropped from 1,849,568 in 1950 to 713,777 in 2010. In the first decade of the 21st century, about two-thirds of the total black population in metropolitan area resided within the city limits of Detroit.

As of the 2010 Census, there were 713,777 people, 269,445 households, and 162,924 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,144.3 people per square mile (1,986.2/km²). There were 349,170 housing units at an average density of 2,516.5 units per square mile (971.6/km²). The census reported that the city had 82.7% African American, 10.6% White (7.8% non-Hispanic white), 1.1% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.0% other races, 2.2% two or more races. In addition, 6.8% of the population self-identified as Hispanic or Latino, of any race, mainly made up of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans.

There were 269,445 households out of which 34.4% have 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, and 39.5% were non-families, 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.9% had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.36.

There is a wide age distribution 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% who are 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.

Detroit remains one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States. Blacks moved to the city en masse to escape Jim Crow 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. This pattern was later magnified by white migration to the suburbs.

A traditional boundary between black and white is Eight Mile Road, which separates the city from whiter suburbs to the north.

One of the implications of racial segregation, which correlates with class segregation, may be overall worse health for some populations.

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.

De facto educational segregation in Detroit (and by extension elsewhere) was legally permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974).

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