Map: Languages Spoken in Detroit Homes 2014

language-home-map

Households in Detroit in general are homogeneous; the city ranks low on the diversity scale due to the 83% majority African-American population. However, the city has incredibly concentrated neighborhoods of cultural significance. Detroit remains a global city.

Southwest Detroit is most often referred to as Mexicantown due to the large Mexican-American population that can be traced back for decades in the city. There was a small, but growing Mexican foreign born population in the 1960s (map). The increase in Mexican immigration was due in large part to the industrial jobs offered by Henry Ford. Mexican-Americans are currently the largest single immigrant group in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

Warrendale, on the city’s lower Westside, neighbors Dearborn and has a similar history of Middle Eastern immigrants with the first coming in the 1870s. Various waves of immigration followed Middle Eastern conflict such as the Lebanese Civil War, the Gulf War in Iraq (2003), and even the current Syrian War. The area near 7 Mile and Woodward is known as “Chaldean Town” due to the large Iraqi Christian population, but Arabic is not the primary language spoken so the area does not highlight on the map.

Country of origin, heritage, and language are not always synonymous. In 2007, the Detroit City Council passed legislation that prohibited city employees and police from asking for someone’s immigration status unless directly related a suspected crime. Detroit has always been a city of innovative immigrants and should protect its status as a sanctuary for all who come seeking opportunity.

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