Over the last 60 years or so, Detroit’s reputation has slowly (and, occasionally, not-so-slowly) deteriorated. Between 2000 and 2010, the city’s population fell by 25%, bumping it from America’s 10th largest city to the 18th. At the height of the latest recession, unemployment in the city peaked at 18.2% in July of 2009. When the city declared the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history on July 18th, 2013, it looked like Detroit was done.

Detroit’s motto, however, is “We hope for better things, it shall rise from the ashes.” And rise the city did. The city successfully left municipal bankruptcy at midnight of December 11th, 2014, and the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, ceremonially resigned, signaling an ideological end to the city’s financial emergency. Detroit’s story has caught the attention of the nation, along with the interest of both foreign and domestic investors.

We’ll take a look at what Detroit’s numbers really say.Here are 5 interesting statistics that show positive future growth for the city that only recently seemed to hit rock bottom:


Out of the 30 cities that lost the most residents from 2000 to 2010, Detroit had the second biggest rebound.

From 2000 to 2010, Detroit lost 161,000 residents, or 25% of its population. That loss represents the biggest exodus during that time of any city, except for New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. However, from 2010 to 2014, the population of Rock City rebounded, and added 3,600 residents. The difference between these two rates—losing 16,100 a year versus gaining 1,200 a year—represents the second biggest turnaround after New Orleans. While Detroit still has a long way to go to recuperate the population it lost, positive growth—and hope—begins to return.


50.1% of the population is younger than 35. That’s more young people than 25% of the cities in the top 20 metros.

Detroit, with a median age of 34.9, is poised to get younger in the coming years as novice entrepreneurs look to start businesses with good incentives and low rent. These young people look to capitalize on such incentives as low cost of living, relatively low rent, and some serious business perks to start companies. The city also provides a less crowded startup space than California’s Silicon Valley or New York City, so innovation can go farther.

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