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Detroit’s population increased for first time in 66 years

But in recent years, Detroit has reached a milestone. There has been a flow of investment throughout the city, but particularly in the city center, where Art Deco buildings have been given new life as modern residences and office spaces. Detroit’s restaurant scene is also now one of the most vibrant in the country. And the city’s central services, many of which were deemed unreliable when Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July 2013, have improved.

The result? From July 2022 to July 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau says Detroit’s population increased by nearly 2,000 residents, bringing the city’s population to 633,218.

The estimate for 2023 means that for the first time since 1957, the city has grown, a monumental achievement for Detroit, which in the 1940s was one of the most prosperous and influential cities in the country.

With Detroit’s latest population figures, the city also moved from 29th to 26th largest city in the United States, surpassing Memphis, Louisville and Portland.

Detroit’s numbers are still a far cry from those of 1950, when the city’s population reached a peak of about 1.85 million. At the time, it was the fifth largest city in the United States, behind New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Detroit was hit hard by rapid suburbanization in the 1950s and 1960s and lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs. The Detroit riots of 1967 resulted in an unimaginable loss of life and the destruction of hundreds of buildings, reshaping the destiny of the city for generations.

White flight then prompted many Detroit businesses to flee the city, and later, much of the city’s middle-class black population also began decamping for the suburbs, frustrated by declining services. and the state of the public school system.

That Detroit is seeing such a population increase years after enduring some of its greatest challenges is the culmination of decades of public and private investment in Michigan’s largest city – a city that continues to serve as a link between the American automobile industry. And it also reflects Detroit’s relative affordability—having a lower cost of living than the coasts—while offering a climate with less extreme weather than many of its more populous Sun Belt counterparts.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, in office since 2014, has focused on reigning in the city’s scourge. Abandoned houses have become a source of crime in many outlying neighborhoods.

Duggan said last year that under his tenure, the city demolished about 25,000 abandoned homes. And thousands of homes have been renovated or should be.

“As we eliminate blight, more and more people are moving into good homes,” Duggan told the Associated Press. “Right now, it doesn’t look like we can build apartments fast enough.”


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