Detroit, Michigan


There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees. And there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living.
-Elmore Leonard

The Best Thing About Living in Detroit?

Culture and determination in the face of insurmountable odds.

One simple visit to Detroit will indicate its collective willpower. Best embodied by the iconic
sculpture of Joe Louis’ Fist, as well as the abundance of creative architecture, the speed boat
racing tradition, four beloved local sports teams in all four major American sport leagues, and a
musical heritage ranging from Motown to hip hop, few American cities have quite the same
sense of place and history as Detroit. In addition, its founding in 1701 makes it one of America’s
oldest and most significant cities, as does its position as the birthplace of the American
automotive industry. One cannot overstate Detroit’s place and impact in American history, and
its continued efforts at self-renewal and improvement have demonstrated its continued desire to
maintain that place and even expand on it.

Here's a local's pov on living here:
Detroit has been bashed since the riots half a century ago! Imagine healing from that and White flight taking a huge tax base away? We are a tough and creative lot and it was my dream to move to Indian Village, a historic neighborhood here, since college. I did and later bought a house for a really great price. It’s now worth six times what I paid. The neighborhood is mixed races, there are monthly parties, a newsletter, reasonable dues cover various maintenance and sidewalk plowing in winter. Neighborhoods like mine have expanded, old buildings are being repurposed, new neighborhoods and townhouses built, empty lots are gardens… the worry is of course gentrification. Great restaurants, parks, events, museums, cool work spaces, lots of entrepreneurs (Shinola’s owner is a neighbor.)

The Worst Thing About Living in Detroit?

The Schools

Tax base drives investment in public schools and the decline/collapse in population and business in Detroit for several decades gutted what was once an excellent public school system. As with any city there are excellent schools, like Renaissance High and Cass Tech, but many locals choose one of the charter or private schools if they don't feel they have a solid public choice.

Here are some cons from a local in a review: Its one of two municipalities in Michigan with an income tax 1.2% (non-resident) or 2.4% (resident) which having lived there does not have much to show for it as a result.

Lacking large grocery stores. There's Meijer at 8/Woodward or Fairlane Town Center for example which are not convenient but Whole Foods is right next to the DMC. Other than that you're looking at small markets which doesn't lend itself to better prices. Mass transit is practically non-existent, we have a bus system but your commute may be faster.

Lifestyle Of Detroit

The population of Detroit was severely impacted by deindustrialization, loss of jobs in the auto industry and the recession of 2008, as well as rapid suburbanization. The 2010s saw revitalization efforts ramp up and a new generation of people were moving to the city center. Residents have been trending younger in recent years, with both recent graduates from midwest schools as well as a population of young professionals who grew up in the city and are choosing to move out, but stay close to the city center. And you can’t forget about recently empty-nested suburbanites who once fled the city and are moving back downtown in search of nightlife that places like Troy, and other suburbs, definitely lack.

It might not have the largest population, but locals are often out enjoying the things that make Detroit unique. On top of the Riverwalk, you also have Eastern Market, the largest open-air market in North America, that features more than 250 independent vendors. You can get a great selection of fruit and veggies, fresh-cut flowers, specialty food products, and more. The city also features a huge pro-bicycle community. Detroit is home to the first paved road in America, Woodward Ave, and overall is pretty flat, making it easy to bike around. You won’t want to sleep on the incredible food scene in Detroit, either. It might be small and the restaurants you’ll go to might not have big investors behind them, but they can still find a place to open up in Detroit thanks to lower rent prices and the welcoming residents. Coupled with the large immigrant population, you can find big communities with great food you can’t find in the suburbs, like Bangladeshi food, or amazing Arab spots.

If you're curious about the weekend and year-long activities here check out the Detroit calendar of events:

Workstyle Of Detroit

Detroit has the second largest regional economy in the midwest. Famously known as the center of the US auto industry and the “Big Three” auto manufacturers (General Motors/GM, Ford, Stellantis North America), which are all headquartered in Detroit. Besides the auto industry, there are also a lot of great opportunities for high paying jobs if you're in tech, engineering, healthcare, or consulting. The top employers in the area are the Detroit Medical Center, the City of Detroit, and Quicken Loans. Other headquarters in Detroit include GM, Quicken Loans, Ally Financial, and Compuware. A large portion of the residents of Detroit work downtown, making up about ⅕ of the city’s employment. The other large chunk of residents work in midtown, where the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University, and Henry Ford health System are all located.

Why You Should Move to Detroit

Affordable housing in one of America's oldest cities.

The low cost of living is definitely a draw for most people as it is much lower than other large cities. Grads with college debt can still live here and thrive on decent paying jobs. In addition, it’s a popular spot for empty-nesters looking to celebrate being able to focus a little more on themselves and be a part of a great, energetic community. If you’re looking for affordability without sacrificing the culture and diversity of a big city, Detroit is for you.