Located in the north of the United States on the border of Canada, Detroit is well positioned on the Detroit River, making it a major port on one of the four major straits that connect the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
It is the most populous city in the state of Michigan, and has earned a reputation as being an American cultural hub, producing iconic contributions to the country’s automotive, music, art and design scenes.
Detroit used to be a major economic player in the US thanks to its booming auto industry, and was even nicknamed the Motor City. But due to industrial restructuring, the loss of jobs in the auto industry and a few other factors, the city went into sharp decline resulting in the loss of a considerable portion of its population. This drain resulted in Detroit becoming the largest US city ever to file for bankruptcy a few years ago, but the city regained control of its finances and is pulling itself up by its proverbial bootstraps, once again attracting investment and people. In fact, the city's residents now proudly refer to it as the 'Comeback City'.
Detroit is still the cornerstone of the US automobile industry and home to the headquarters of manufacturing giants such as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Aside from this, other large sectors include general manufacturing, technology, finance and healthcare.
The city's cost of living is still exceedingly reasonable, and accommodation in particular is some of the most affordable in the US. Many newcomers choose to buy given the low property prices and the revitalisation of the city.
For students, the city has two large universities – the University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University – while there are many smaller colleges and higher-learning institutions dotted throughout the city.
Parents moving to Detroit will be happy to find a great selection of reputable schools available, including private and international institutions. Faith-based institutions are also present, as well as those that focus on Montessori and Waldorf teachings.
There's also no shortage of things to see and do. Known as a bastion of musical and cultural history, musos and culture buffs will certainly enjoy the lifestyle in Detroit – it is the birthplace of both Motown and techno, after all. The city boasts a host of great live music spots, and big artists never miss a chance to visit. Plus, the city's calendar is overloaded with fun festivals and other annual events that newcomers shouldn't miss out on.
Many museums in Detroit are found in the Cultural Centre Historic District, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Motown Historical Museum, the Henry Ford Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Perhaps the most poignant may be the stunning Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Detroit is slowly shaking off the shackles of a reputation of urban decay that has plagued it for years, and is now once again a buzzing metro with lively bars and eateries, plenty to see and do and a lively atmosphere of rebirth. It's no wonder the city is once again attracting new residents in their droves; it seems everyone wants to be part of Project Comeback.
►Check out our list of some of Detroit's best sights and attractions on the See and Do page
Are you an expat living in Detroit?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Detroit. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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