Marcus & Millichap

Some 4.3 million residents call the Detroit metro home, and despite its well-publicized economic travails, the city of Detroit has a can-do spirit and belief that it will bounce back.
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The Detroit metro is a 3,951-square-mile region comprised of six counties: Wayne, Macomb, Lapeer, Oakland, St. Clair and Livingston. Across the Detroit River lies the city of Windsor, Ontario.

The Detroit metro contains 4.3 million residents in 98 cities, villages and townships. Detroit is the largest city, with a population of more than 703,000 people. Warren and Sterling Heights are the only other cities with more than 100,000 citizens. Wayne is the most populated county followed by Oakland County.

The Detroit metro economy is one of the largest in the nation and is heavily dependent on the automotive sector. Three American automotive companies — General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC — are headquartered in the area. Additionally, over half of the world’s top auto suppliers are housed in the region, and a significant portion of all automotive research and development takes place in Detroit. In total, there are 13 Fortune 500 corporations are based in the metro, including CMS Energy, DTE Energy, Pulte Homes and Kelly Services.

The Detroit economy is gradually emerging from a period of contraction. While uncertainty still persists, long-term projections for the local economy remain positive. Civic leaders and officials are making strides to create an economy based on knowledge, in addition to manufacturing and automotive industries. The Detroit economy is diversifying, moving more into the healthcare and technology sectors. The strength of Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and area technical institutions helps place graduates throughout the metro, which has one of the highest clusters of engineers in the country.

The New Economy Initiative, created by civic leaders in 2008 to increase entrepreneurial activity and create a knowledge-based economy, continues to award grants to companies. Additionally, efforts are under way to revitalize downtown Detroit in order to produce economic vitality and improve the quality of life.