Dearborn is a city in the State of Michigan. It is located in Wayne County and is part of the Detroit metropolitan area. Dearborn is the eighth largest city in the State of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 98,153 and is home to the largest Muslim population in the United States. First settled in the late 18th century by ethnic French farmers in a series of ribbon farms along the Rouge River and the Sauk Trail, the community grew in the 19th century with the establishment of the Detroit Arsenal on the Chicago Road linking Detroit and Chicago. In the 20th century, it developed as a major manufacturing hub for the automotive industry.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.5 square miles (63 km), of which 24.4 square miles (63 km) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km) (0.37%) is water. The city developed on both sides of the Rouge River. An artificial waterfall/low head dam was constructed by Henry Ford on his estate to power its powerhouse. The Upper, Middle, and Lower Branches of the river come together in Dearborn. The river is widened and channeled near the Rouge Plant to allow lake freighter access.
Fordson Island (42°17′38″N 83°08′52″W / 42.29389°N 83.14778°W / 42.29389; -83.14778) is an 8.4 acres (3.4 hectares) island about three miles (5 km) upriver on the River Rouge from its confluence with the Detroit River. Fordson Island is the only major island in a tributary to the Detroit River. The island was created in 1922 when engineers dug a secondary trench to reroute the River Rouge to increase navigability for shipping purposes; businesses needed it to be navigable by the large lake freighters. The island is privately owned, and public access is prohibited. The island is part of the city of Dearborn, which has no frontage along the Detroit River.
Dearborn is among a small number of municipalities that own property in other cities. It owns the 626-acre (2.53 km) Camp Dearborn in Milford, Michigan, which is located 35 miles (56 km) from Dearborn. Dearborn was among an even smaller number of cities that hold property in another state: for a time the city owned the “Dearborn Towers” apartment complex in Clearwater, Florida, but this has been sold. Camp Dearborn is considered part of the city of Dearborn. Revenues generated by camp admissions are incorporated into the city’s budget.
As of the 2010 census, the population of Dearborn was 98,153. The racial and ethnic composition was 89.1% Whites, 4.0% black or African-American, 0.2% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.2% Non-Hispanics of some other race, 4.0% reporting two or more races and 3.4% Hispanic or Latino. 41.7% were of Arab ancestry (categorized as “White” in Census collection data).
Dearborn has a large community of descendants of ethnic Europeans who arrived as immigrants from the mid-19th into the 20th centuries. Their ancestors generally first settled in Detroit: Irish, German, Italians, and Polish. It is also a center of Maltese American settlement, from the Mediterranean island of Malta. Also attracted to jobs in the auto industry, some were among immigrant Maltese who first settled in Corktown.
The city has a small African American population, many of whose ancestors came to the area from the rural South during the Great Migration of the early twentieth century.
In Census 2000, 61.9% spoke only English, while 29.3% spoke Arabic, 1.9% Spanish, and 1.5% Polish as first languages. There were 36,770 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.42.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,560, and the median income for a family was $53,060. Males had a median income of $45,114 versus $33,872 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,488. About 12.2% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 and over.
As of the 2012 estimate, Dearborn’s population was thought to have fallen to 96,474, a decrease of 1.7% since 2010. Over the same period, though, SEMCOG, the local statistics agency of Metro Detroit Council of Governments, has estimated the city to have grown to 99,001, or an increase of 1.2% since 2000. SEMCOG’s July 2014 estimate listed Dearborn with a population of 102,566.
The city’s population includes 40,000 Arab Americans. Since the late 20th century, there has been growth in immigration from new areas of the Middle East, such as Syria. Arab Americans own many shops and businesses, offering services in both English and Arabic.
Per the 2000 census, Arab Americans totaled 29,181 or 29.85% of Dearborn’s population; many are descendants of families who have been in the city since the early 20th century. The city has the largest proportion of Arab Americans in the United States. As of 2006 Dearborn has the largest Lebanese American population in the United States.
The first Arab immigrants came in the early-to-mid-20th century to work in the automotive industry and were chiefly Lebanese Christians (Maronites). Other immigrants from the Mideast (Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs) have also immigrated to the area.
Since then, Arab immigrants from Yemen, Iraq and Palestine, most of whom are Muslim, have joined them. Lebanese Americans comprise the largest group of ethnic Arabs.
The Arab Muslim community has built the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in North America, and the Dearborn Mosque. More Iraqi refugees have come, fleeing the continued war in their country since 2003.
Warren Avenue has become the commercial center of the Arab-American community. The Arab American National Museum is located in Dearborn. The museum was opened in January 2005 to celebrate the Arab American community’s history, culture and contributions to the United States.