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Detroit, Mich.

Mayor: Mike Duggan (to Jan. 2018)

2010 census population (rank): 713,777 (18); Male: 337,679 (47.3%); Female: 376,098 (52.7%); White: 75,758 (10.6%); Black: 590,226 (82.7%); American Indian and Alaska Native: 2,636 (0.4%); Asian: 7,559 (1.1%); Other race: 21,569 (3.5%); Two or more races: 15,900 (2.2%); Hispanic/Latino: 48,679 (6.8%). 2010 population 18 and over: 523,430; 65 and over: 81,925 (11.5%); Median age: 31.0.

2012 population estimate (rank): 701,475 (18)

See additional census data

Land area: 139 sq mi. (360 sq km);

Alt.: Highest, 685 ft.; lowest, 574 ft.

Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 24.7° F; July, 74.2° F

Churches1: Protestant, 1,165; Roman Catholic, 89; Jewish, 2;

City-owned parks: 56 parks (3,843 ac.); 393 sites (5,838 ac.);

Radio stations: AM, 27; FM, 30 (includes 3 in Windsor, Ont.);

Television stations: 82 (includes 1 in Windsor, Ont.)

Civilian Labor Force (PMSA) Sept. 2011: 2,038,0003;

Unemployed (Sept. 2011): 239,1003,

Percent: 11.73;

Per capita personal income (MSA) 2010: $15,3103

Chamber of Commerce: Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, One Woodward Avenue, P.O. Box 33840, Detroit MI 48232-0840

1. Six-county metropolitan area.
2. Within four counties of Metro Detroit.
3. Detroit–Warren–Livonia, Mich.

Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, is situated in the southeast part of the state on the Detroit River. The seat of Wayne County, Detroit was incorporated as a city in 1815 and reincorporated in 1824.

Detroit is the oldest city of any size west of the seaboard colonies, having been founded by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac on July 24, 1701, more than a century before Chicago was founded. The French were the first settlers, and they gave the city its name from their word meaning “strait,” referring to the 27-mile-long Detroit River, which connects Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. The river forms part of the international boundary, and marks the only point where Canada lies directly south of U.S. territory.

Because of its strategic location, Detroit was fought over by the French, the British, and the Indians during the French and Indian Wars. It was the headquarters for the British forces in the Northwest Territory during the American Revolutionary War.

The first steam vessel, the Walk-in-the-Water, made its appearance on the Great Lakes in 1818, and Detroit was the western terminus for most of its voyages from Buffalo. Its link to all the important cities on the Great Lakes made it a major exporting center.

Detroit is one of the largest manufacturing cities in the U.S. and is the center of the automobile manufacturing industry, which has experienced a decline due to foreign competition in the past decade. The health and medical care sector is important to the economy, and employment in the finance, insurance, and real-estate industries has inched up in the Detroit metropolitan area since the early 1990s.

Mayor Kwame Kirkpatrick won the November 2005 mayoral election. In 2008, he was indicted on eight felony charges including perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and misconduct in office steming from a past affair with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty.

In May 2009, David Bing was elected mayor in a special election. Previously, Bing was in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 12 years. He played for the Detroit Pistons from 1966–1975. In 1996, he was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all time. Bing won the regular mayoral election in November 2009.

Saddled with between $18 billion and $20 billion in debt, Detroit filed for bankruptcy in July 2013, becoming the largest U.S. city in history to do so. It was also the largest ever filing by a municipality.

See also Encyclopedia: Detroit .

Selected famous natives and residents:

  • Anita Baker singer;
  • Sonny Bono congressman and singer;
  • Ralph Bunche statesman;
  • Ellen Burstyn actress;
  • Francis Ford Coppola director;
  • Aretha Franklin singer;
  • Casey Kasem radio personality;
  • Charles Lindbergh aviator;
  • Madonna singer and actress;
  • John Mitchell former U.S. attorney general;
  • Harry Morgan actor;
  • Rosa Parks activist;
  • George Peppard actor;
  • Gilda Radner comedian;
  • Della Reese singer;
  • Smokey Robinson singer;
  • Sugar Ray Robinson boxer;
  • Diana Ross singer;
  • George C. Scott actor;
  • Tom Selleck actor;
  • Lily Tomlin comedian and actress;
  • Margaret Whiting singer.

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