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Is there still a middle class in Detroit?


Dear Leader
Staff member
Buffalo still has a middle class and upper income presence living in the city, mostly in the Delaware District, North Buffalo, and parts of South Buffalo. St. Louis has its gentrifying inner city neighborhoods, and the Central West End, where the urban elite still live.

I'm curious about Detroit. Aside from scattered areas like Brush Park and Grayhaven, are there any parts of Detroit, inside the city limits, that have a solid, stable presence of middle class or more affluent residents?


Dan, Detroit still has solid middle class neighborhoods within its boundaries. I grew up on the northwest side of the city, where neighborhoods like Brightmoor, Strathmoor, Rosedale Park and Sherwood Forest are full of two-story brick colonials and bungalows that are still in pretty good condition. The northwest side is seeing some blight start to move in along its southeastern edges, but it has long been an attractive area for people wishing to escape blight in other areas of the city.

Palmer Woods and the Boston-Edison district are two large upper-middle class enclaves in the city. They are directly north of downtown and the New Center area and border Highland Park, a quite decayed (and bankrupt) independent city surrounded by Detroit. The contrast between these two areas and Highland Park is significant.

I'm less familiar with the east side of the city, but I do know that Indian Village is another upper-middle class enclave along the river. There has been a lot of development along the riverfront on the east side (like Lafayette Park and Rivertown, I believe), designed with urban pioneers in mind. East Siders might not like it when I say it, but much of the east side might be what outsiders may associate with decay in Detroit. There are equivalent areas on the near west side and the southwest side, but less so on the northwest side.


The neighborhoods that boarder Dearborn and the Gross Points are pretty nice also. Most of the city employees -who were required to live in the city until last year - live there. The City still has a problem keeping middle-class people in the city after they have kids, however. Palmer Woods is really nice - lots of gay people and city workers there too. Hamtramic - not in Detroit, but surrounded by it - is also drawing quite a few middle class people lately.

However, when judged by normal standards, I don't think there are many middle class neighborhoods in Detroit. The homes in certian neighborhoods look nice, but there is still no retail establishments except liquor stores and coney islands. Also, drive a few blocks away and the picture changes considerably. I really wouldn't consider the quality of life as high as in many other cities' middle class neighborhoods.


There are definite enclaves of middle class residents. Downtown is well on its way to becoming a middle-class area with lots of yuppies moving into new lofts. Indian Village is definitely the one neighborhood that comes to mind. It has somewhat isolated itself from the rest of the city. The East Jefferson area is also growing with several new residential developments including single-family homes and duplexes.