Moving to Detroit: Everything You Need to Know

Moving to Detroit is a unique experience. Unlike other major cities across the country, Detroit almost feels tucked away. But what many out-of-towners overlook is all the neighborhoods that make up Detroit.

For instance, Detroit is home to amazing gastropubs, five-star restaurants, historical sites, great vintage shops, Belle Isle Park, the Riverwalk and more than one marina.

Keep on reading if you want to find out what the buzz is all about and why you’ll absolutely love living in this city.

detroit michigan

Detroit overview

You don’t need to ask a local to know that Detroit has a complicated past.

Founded in 1701 by French traders, this city gets its name from a French word meaning “strait.” Through much of the 18th century, Detroit was a trading post that was the subject of several conflicts including the French and Indian War (1756-1763), and years later with the British. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1800s that Detroit saw an influx of settlers and a somewhat conflict-free playing field.

Around the 19th century, Detroit finally became an industrial hub, and the city started to expand outward. Fast forward to the 1950s, civil rights, environmental racism, riots and gentrification came to the forefront, which the city struggled with well into the 1990s.

In many ways, Detroit is still recovering from its past. But it’s safe to say that today’s Detroit is revitalized, reimagined and its commerce spirit is renewed.

  • Population: 670,031
  • Population density (people per square mile): 5144.3
  • Median income: $31,283
  • Studio average monthly rent: $982
  • One-bedroom average monthly rent: $1,416
  • Two-bedroom average monthly rent: $1,876
  • Cost of Living Index: 104.2

detroit mi

Popular neighborhoods in Detroit

A list of top apartments for rent in Michigan, unsurprisingly, includes several Detroit apartment communities and complexes. That said, first-rate apartment homes are available throughout the 20+ neighborhoods that make up the city.

Thus, to assist you in your search, here are a few popular neighborhoods that you should definitely consider when looking for your next home.

  • Downtown: In the last five years, this neighborhood has completely transformed into a great Detroit destination. Here, you have easy access to Lafayette Park, Elwood Park, Rivertown and Greektown. As a result, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities, restaurants or entertainment.
  • Midtown: This part of town offers art, culture, higher learning, music and more. Here, you’ll find a bohemian vibe/atmosphere, Wayne State University, the DIA and Little Caesars Arena. This thriving neighborhood is also very walkable and family-friendly.
  • Corktown: This is the oldest neighborhood in the city and is rather affordable. People are drawn to this community’s somewhat hipster vibe and the wide range of available cuisine.
  • Eastern Market: Here, you’ll fall in love with one of the country’s largest open-air farmer’s markets. Besides having access to a secret garden of sorts, this district also offers an eclectic community, with nice housing, restaurants, bars and ample shopping.
  • Rivertown-Warehouse District: This up and coming area of Detroit has it all with waterfront apartments, restaurants, nearby casinos and indoor luxury shopping centers. Here, you can find some of the best views in the city.

The pros of moving to Detroit

There are more than a few advantages to moving to Detroit. As briefly mentioned, the city continues to transform itself. Moreover, with new construction and more businesses making their way downtown, Detroit is truly becoming one of the best cities around.

detroit theater


One obvious reason for moving to the D is the wealth of entertainment. Detroit has a lively nightlife, new restaurants, music venues, sports arenas and casinos. Plus, if you’ve never checked out Campus Martius Park, then you don’t know what you’ve been missing. This park is known as Detroit’s gathering place and offers beach bars with real sand, outdoor ice skating in the winter, live music and good eats.

Thriving economy

Detroit also has a thriving economy that’s projected to grow over the next couple of years. Thanks to the increase in commerce, start-up companies, restaurants and various entertainment venues, Detroit will expand. Plus, with continued efforts to revamp and improve less populated areas of the city, even in the face of a global pandemic, Detroit should have no trouble at all taking its economy to the next level.

Cost of living

As briefly touched upon, living in Detroit is affordable. In fact, in comparison to other major U.S. cities, you can’t beat Detroit’s cost of living. Most apartments are available for less than $2,000 a month, and the majority of residents’ everyday expenses are reasonably priced.

Overall, Michigan ranks as one of the best places to live if you’re looking for inexpensive housing and a lower cost of living, which is what Detroit is all about.

The cons of moving to Detroit

Of course, there are some drawbacks to living in Detroit. For one, the rate of auto insurance is higher than it is in other cities, which is an additional expense that many people are not looking forward to.

Besides paying more for insurance, there’s also a clear lack of public transportation, only a few nearby grocery stores and there are the winters.

detroit winter

Public transportation is lacking

When you live in most major urban cities, there’s usually ample public transportation like buses, bikes for rent, subway stations, streetcars, and more. But, here in the D, public transport is not as great as it could be. Despite the recently built Q line and the good old People Mover, there really isn’t much in the way of convenience or inexpensive public transit.

Lack of grocery stores

Yet another downside to moving to Detroit is you have to go out of your way for groceries. In order to correct this problem, a Whole Foods Market was built just a few years back. However, any organic food shopper will tell you that Whole Foods is not cheap. Thus, the city still needs to find ways to incorporate more affordable food options.

Winter, winter, winter and summer

Lastly, winter is a real problem in the entire state. Michigan seems to get more snow than it knows what to do with. This leads to icy roads, possible unplowed side streets, and months of cold snowy weather. Better still, you can expect to experience all four seasons in one day even in the springtime or fall.

How to get started on your move to Detroit

Ultimately, when you balance the pros and cons of living in the city, you’ll likely find that Detroit is a great place to put down some roots. So, if you need assistance, finding the apartment of your dreams in the D or just need help making the big move, then check out our Moving Center. Here, you’ll find free quotes and more information about planning out your move.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in December 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Population and income numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Cost of living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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