Nicknamed the “Motor City” and the “Paris of the Midwest,” Detroit is known for its rich automotive industry history and rich cultural scene.
The skyline boasts towering skyscrapers and a waterfront overlooking the Detroit River. However, Detroit has also faced numerous challenges recently, including a declining population, high crime rates, and economic struggles.
As with any city, living in Detroit has both pros and cons. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of living in Detroit to help you determine if it’s the right place for you.
Pros of Living In Detroit
Besides its industrial heritage, Detroit has many upsides that make it a city worth living in. Here are the key pros of living in Detroit:
Culture and Entertainment
Detroit boasts a rich cultural and entertainment scene that caters to everyone’s interests. The city has many art galleries and museums, including the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Motown Museum.
Detroit hosts numerous cultural festivals throughout the year, such as the Movement Electronic Music Festival, Detroit River Days, and the Detroit Jazz Festival.
For sports enthusiasts, there are four major league teams: the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Pistons, and the Detroit Red Wings.
Reasonable Cost of Living
Detroit is one of the most affordable cities in the United States regarding the cost of living. Housing expenses are significantly lower than in major U.S. cities like New York and Los Angeles.
For instance, a single couple spends about $1100 monthly, excluding rent. Low cost of living makes it a popular destination for students and young professionals, who can save more money in Detroit than in other cities.
While Detroit’s economy has undergone significant changes, the city remains a hub for various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, and technology.
Some of the top employers in Detroit include Ford Motor Company, General Motors, the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Health System.
Recently, Detroit has seen a rise in entrepreneurs within its borders, as it has a growing ecosystem that enables startups to thrive. As such, Detroit presents various job opportunities for its residents.
Access to Nature
Detroit may be known as a highly urbanized city, but it is filled with parks, recreational centers, and other outdoor spaces. It is home to Belle Isle Park, a 982-acre park that offers access to nature, housing diverse species of plants and animals.
There is a growing network of bike lanes, making it easier for individuals to bike to their destinations and enjoy the outdoors. This way, Detroit residents can get ample exercise and stay healthy.
Detroit has a unique transportation system that makes it easy to commute around the city. The QLine streetcar runs along Woodward Avenue, one of the city’s main roads, enabling residents to commute from downtown Detroit to Midtown.
Let’s not forget on Detroit People Mover, an elevated rail system that circles downtown Detroit and has 13 stops, making it easy for residents to move around the city center.
Sense of Community
Detroit residents are known for being tight-knit and supportive of each other, creating a sense of community that makes living in the city more comfortable.
Whether it’s through volunteer opportunities, attending community events, or joining local neighborhood watch groups, there are various ways to immerse yourself in the city’s culture and grow connections with people around you.
Cons of Living In Detroit
While the city has experienced a revitalization in recent years, it still faces numerous challenges. Here are some drawbacks of living in Detroit:
High Crime Rates
Detroit consistently ranks among the most dangerous cities in the United States, with violent crime rates well above the national average.
While recent statistics from the Detroit Police Department, published in January 2023, point to a promising 11% reduction in violent crime in 2022 compared to the previous year, this doesn’t mean Detroit is free from significant crime rates.
Poor Public Education System
Despite efforts to improve the situation, Detroit’s public school system continues to face severe challenges that have deep-rooted historical causes.
The performance metrics are disheartening, with test scores and graduation rates consistently falling below national averages. Many students in the system struggle academically, with a significant percentage unable to meet the benchmarks set for key subjects like math and reading.
Beyond academic performance, the physical state of the schools themselves is another area of concern. Many facilities are aging and not adequately maintained, leading to environments that are not conducive to learning. Instances of leaky roofs, outdated technology, insufficient heating, and overcrowded classrooms are not uncommon.
The state of these facilities not only hinders effective teaching and learning but can also negatively impact the morale of students and staff. It becomes a vicious cycle, with these conditions contributing to the poor performance, which in turn, perpetuates the negative image of Detroit’s public schools.
Detroit has a struggling economy due to the decline of the automotive industry. The city was known as the motor city, once a center of automobile manufacturing in America.
However, many jobs were lost due to the decline, and other industries could not replace them. The unemployment rate in Detroit is higher than the national average, which makes it difficult for residents to make ends meet.
Harsh Weather Conditions
Michigan has cold and harsh winter weather, and Detroit is no exception. During winter, temperatures drop below freezing, and snowfall can be significant.
The city experiences lake-effect snow, meaning it can snow heavily for days. The frigid weather can make commuting challenging, and snow removal can be a problem for residents.
In Detroit you will find many abandoned buildings, often in the heart of the city. An estimated 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit can be an eyesore and an invitation for crime.
Abandoned homes are often stripped of copper fittings, sold for metal scrap, and left to ruin.
Living in Detroit carries the financial burden of substantial car insurance costs.
Ranking third nationally, residents of metro Detroit typically spend about $3,067 annually on car insurance premiums, falling behind only Miami and Tampa.
This expense is particularly stark when you consider that it’s nearly five times the national average car insurance cost of $622 per year.
Detroit, Michigan is a once-thriving city that has experienced its fair share of ups and downs.
While there are many cons associated with living in this city, it is difficult to deny the rich cultural heritage and history found here.