Urbanophile’s Aaron M. Renn has an interesting look at Detroit, a side which isn’t likely to make the nightly news. Below are some interesting facts which accompany the photo gallery
Detroit is Big. When you hear about Detroit, a mention of its population collapse can’t be far behind. Detroit’s population fell by 50% from its peak and it was the first city to fall below one million in population after first exceeding it. The region has fallen out of the top ten metro areas in size nationally. But the other side is that Detroit is still big (perhaps too big, but that’s for another day). The city of Detroit has 912,062 people, making even the city still the 11th largest in the United States. Detroit has 100,000 more people than San Francisco and is 50% bigger than Boston.
Detroit’s metro area has 4.4 million people, making it the 11th largest in the United States. That’s about the same size as Boston or Phoenix. But wait, there’s more. Nearby Ann Arbor is technically not part of the Detroit MSA, but probably soon will be. That’s another 350,000 people. And Detroit doesn’t include anything on the Canadian side of the river because it is in another country. The Windsor, Ontario area adds another 300,000+ people.
Detroit is Dense. You’ve seen the pictures. I’ve even posted some. The miles of empty streets and “urban prairie”. A recent comprehensive survey recently discovered that fully one third of Detroit’s lots are vacant. But despite this, the overall density of the city is far higher than you might expect.
The city of Detroit has 6,571 people per square mile. That’s almost 60% more dense than Portland, Oregon (4,152)! Detroit’s density is roughly comparable to Seattle (7,136) and Minneapolis (6,969). It’s more dense (sometimes much more dense) than Denver, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee, or St. Paul.
And if one third of Detroit is vacant, then localized densities must be much higher.