Detroit's nearly 1 million residents have seen their share of changes over the years, although the automotive industry remains the Motor City's claim to fame. It is the nation's 11th largest city, and Michigan's largest. Grand Rapids is the second largest city (195,601), with Warren the next largest (136,016), and Sterling Heights (126,182), Flint (120,292), Lansing (118,379), and Ann Arbor (114,498) following.
The "Big Three" have made their US home here (GM, Ford, Chrysler) and their presence has given the Motor City its name (and its reputation). Despite its long history as the location for automakers' headquarters, Detroit still boasts some of the most state-of-the-art auto assembly plants. Its economy ran into crisis in the 1980s when auto manufacturing began to globalize, and 39% of the metropolitan area's jobs were lost. Now the auto industry has diversified:
- Auto parts suppliers such as Delphi and Guardian still remain, providing thousands of jobs and keeping the Motor City's namesake alive.
- More than 75% of Detroit's area's auto jobs are dedicated to research and development, and questions of energy conservative vehicles.
- Robot technology is also growing in Detroit in tandem with the other industries.
The average income in Detroit is $36,650 per capita, lower than in Ann Arbor ($39,528), and higher than Flint ($28,130). Ann Arbor still draws thousands of new residents each year to University of Michigan, and Flint is still the site of the GM plant. Many universities offer automotive technician and executive training programs, providing industry-specific instruction and even job placement after graduation.
For more information on colleges and universities in Michigan, explore our Michigan state page.