Should I Stay or Should I Go? Experts Talk Cost of Living in Detroit

Even if Detroit’s population begins to rise, there are still real barriers to overcome: Taxes, tuition and job opportunities, among others.

A Detroit neighborhood

Detroit's population declined for the seventh straight decade, according to 2020 U.S. Census data.

Jake Neher/WDET

Is it realistic to expect many more people to live, raise families, or open businesses here in the city?

Mayor Mike Dugan once said that he considered population growth the sole measure of his success, and next year’s census will tell us, officially, whether the decades-long move away from Detroit has come to an end.

But to reignite Detroit’s population growth, there are real barriers to overcome. Insurance rates, taxes, tuition if you don’t send your kids to the public schools — it can be hard to make the case to a family, or a business, to live in Detroit.

On Detroit Today, Stephen Henderson speaks with a number of people who have thought a lot about these questions

Nailah Ellis-Brown is the founder of Ellis Island Tropical Tea and a mother of two. She talks about the opportunities and challenges of starting a business and raising a family in the city.

Melinda Billingsley is a Detroiter who is considering moving away from the city. She talks about the reasons young people like herself struggle with those decisions.

John Gallagher is a business columnist for the Detroit Free Press. He recently wrote a piece about how taxes work in downtown Detroit and who actually pays them.

Anika Goss is the executive director of Detroit Future City, which recently released a report titled Growing Detroit’s African-American Middle Class,  which looks at many of these issues.

Click on the audio player above to hear those conversations.


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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.