What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Detroit?

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by Upgraded Home Team

Detroit offers many unique experiences and has a storied history and a bright future. That doesn’t mean, however, that it is not without its flaws. Before you contact that moving company, be sure it’s the right fit. Those thinking about moving to Detroit, like living anywhere, should stop to consider the pros and cons.

The affordable cost of living is one of many pros of living in Detroit, and undoubtedly a major selling point too. It also doesn’t hurt being the home of Motown or being recognized as the Motor City. Detroit’s diversity, amazing cuisine, and automotive industry only add to the list of great things about Detroit. A few of the cons of living in Detroit include the state’s reputation and its frigid winters.

Beyond the Detroit often betrayed in movies and through television mediums, is a Detroit that only those who live there know. While many people know Detroit to be an automotive industry leader, how many are aware that it is a leading tech hub too? And that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discovering Detroit.

Another lesser-known gem about living in Detroit is its eclectic music scene. Many people know about Detroit’s deep roots and ties to Mowtown. And many accounts of this relationship have been betrayed in countless programs and movies. What many people may not know, however, is the city’s love of country music. Detroit is also home to Downtown Hoedown, one of the largest free country music events in the world.

Is Detroit a city you could consider calling home? Here are the pros and cons of living in Detroit and perhaps the answer to that question.

Related Guide: Safest Neighborhoods In Detroit

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What Are the Pros of Living in Detroit?

Moving to Detroit could be a great decision for many people. This is a quick look at the pros of living in the Motor City. Weighing the pros and cons is a good way to decide if Detroit is the right move for you.

Still The Motor City

The days of the Model-T (born in Detroit), and the muscle cars of old have long since passed. Detroit, however, still leads the automotive industry in the U.S. Today, more than 70% of automotive research and development happens here.

While the manufacturing sector in Detroit isn’t what it once was, the automotive industry still provides plenty of employment and career opportunities. That also leads us to the next pro for living in Detroit, and one of those aforementioned lesser-known facts.

Leader in Innovation

The recognition as a top ten technology hub is also an impetus behind the development of Detroit’s automotive technology sector. This was not only a natural fit with the city’s automotive history, but it has also led to a boom in technology startups.

Like the automotive research and development growth in Detroit, this growth in the tech-based sector has also led to more employment and career opportunities. Detroit is about more than automobiles, innovation, technology, and jobs, however, this city is also about fun.

Famous for Music and Entertainment

Detroit and Motown made history, but that is only a very small part of the music scene in this music-loving city. In addition to the aforementioned country festival, Detroit also hosts two other popular music events.

The Movement Electronic Festival along with the Detroit Jazz Festival are two more popular events. People from across the country come to these music genre venues. This is only a small part of the music and entertainment options offered in Detroit. Few things go with great music like great food.

There are many attractions and that’s one of the pros of living in Ann Arbor, Michigan as well. Detroit doesn’t disappoint either when it comes to great cuisine.

Authentic Cuisine from Many Cultures

Few cities offer the richness and diversity in cultures like Detroit does. All across the city are neighborhoods of Italian, African, Asian, and of many other cultural influences. Known for its diversity, it can be tasted in the array of authentic cuisines around the city.

There is much to discover about Detroit and many pros for choosing to live in Detroit. Offering a rich history, a bright future, and an abundance of culture, music, and food, it is easy to see why so many call Detroit home. One of the biggest reasons people choose to live in Detroit though is much more practical.

Low Cost of Living

Unquestionably, one of the biggest pros for living in Detroit is affordability. The cost of living in Detroit is among the lowest in the nation makes this city an attractive place to live. That affordability is evident across the board.

  • Median cost of homes is 80% lower than the national average
  • State income tax is only 4.25%
  • Cost of living 27% below the national average
  • Sales tax in the city is 6%

These numbers and the cost of living for a city of this size make Detroit unique and a special place to live. The affordable cost of living combined with the growing economy is a promising sign for thinking about living here.


The design of the city is ideal for foot traffic, bikers, and those wanting to explore Detroit. Many new walking paths, lighted and maintained bike paths, and other features make Detroit highly accessible.

Made up of typically tight-knit neighborhoods, in a city of nearly 700,000, sometimes travel is easier by foot or bicycle. In case you are driving though, Detroit is among the leaders in lowest commute times versus other comparable metro areas. Although this sounds like a great place to live, it doesn’t mean it’s a great place to live for everyone. Every town and city has its pros – and its cons.

What Are the Cons of Living in Detroit?

Detroit is often highly ranked in terms of livability, but that doesn’t mean there are some concerns to be considered too. Here are the cons of living in Detroit.

Bad Reputation

If there was ever a city that felt like a jilted lover, Detroit would be it. From a history of race riots and violence from an era now past, this wonderful city has never fully recovered. Also, a darling for movies and television, Detroit is a city that loves to be portrayed on screen. Unfortunately, those portrayals typically cast this leading actor metropolis in a less-than-flattering light.

The truth is that Detroit, like every densely populated major city, has higher than average crime rates. It is also true, that there are areas of the city that have lower than average crime rates. Overall, this amazing city typically has somewhat higher crime rates. Make no mistake though because this isn’t Hollywood, and Detroit is no Gotham.

Poor Public Transportation

Ranking as one of the greatest aggravations and biggest complaints among residents is Detroit’s lacking public transit system. From a shortage of buses, bike rentals, or subway systems, there is a need for better public transportation systems and options.

The good news is the problem isn’t being ignored. With newer transit systems and services like the Q Line and the People Mover, improvement is on the horizon.

High Poverty Rate

Another one of the more pressing issues in Detroit is the issue of poverty. This is undoubtedly a cause for concern with statistics reporting attention-grabbing numbers. Base on reports the national poverty rate for cities ranges from 10 to 14 percent. Detroit’s poverty rate is 31 percent.

Much like the public transportation issue, this problem isn’t being ignored either. Thousands of dollars every year are being invested in programs and services for the underprivileged and homeless in the city. Hopefully, this is a problem that improves, but it remains a con and a concern for those considering living in Detroit.

Harsh Winters

Living anywhere in the state of Michigan means being subjected to potentially harsh and frigid winters. In Detroit that can look like heavy snowfall accumulations, icy roads, and plummeting temperatures. If a mild winter climate is a high priority for you, then Detroit may not be the best fit.

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Related Questions

What Is the Housing Situation Like in Detroit?

In many typical big cities, apartments inundate the landscape. In particular, in dense metro areas, high-rise buildings and cluttered sidewalks are common trademarks. Another factor that makes Detroit unique is that it has more houses than apartments.In Detroit, single-family structures are the prevalent housing found across the city. Some newer hybrid or mixed-use developments are appearing in the city, but aren’t expected to alter the balance much. Even in the smaller and tighter communities, houses line the streets everywhere.Those homes are generally filled with residents of the city who are more than happy to welcome new neighbors. That brings up the question about the reported hospitality and friendliness found in Detroit.

Are the Reports About the Residents of Detroit Being Friendly True?

The reports of Detroit being a friendly place is arguably one of the most unique features of this thriving city. Many big cities with dense populations are driven by a fast-paced, dog-eat-dog, get out of my way mentality. That frantic hustle and bustle of the big city life often leave people curt or short.Detroit is infamous for its residents being helpful, taking the time to say hello, or offer a smile. Before you pack your bags and prepare to move, weigh the pros and cons, and be sure it is a good move for you.

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