Hamtramck (/hæmˈtræmɪk/ ham-TRAM-ik) is a city in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 22,423. Hamtramck is surrounded by the city of Detroit except for a small portion of the western border that touches the similarly surrounded city of Highland Park.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.09 square miles (5.41 km), all land.
Hamtramck is mostly surrounded by Detroit except for its small common border with the city of Highland Park, which is in turn surrounded by Detroit. Hamtramck lies about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the center of Detroit. The I-75 freeway roughly runs along this city’s western border and I-94 runs near its southern border.
As of the census of 2010, there were 26,783 people, 8,897 households, and 5,115 families residing in the city. The population density was 12,753.8 inhabitants per square mile (4,924.3/km). There were 8,693 housing units at an average density of 4,159.3 per square mile (1,605.9/km). The racial makeup of the city was 69.0% White, 6.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 20.4% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 3.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.
There were 7,063 households of which 43.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 18.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.7% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.98.
The median age in the city was 28.8 years. 31.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.9% were from 25 to 44; 20.7% were from 45 to 64; and 7.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.6% male and 48.4% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 22,976 people, 8,033 households, and 4,851 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,900.5 per square mile (4,208.7/km), making it the most densely populated city in Michigan. There were 8,894 housing units at an average density of 4,219.6 per square mile (1,629.2/km). The racial makeup of the city was 60.96% white (which includes people of Middle Eastern ancestry), 15.12% African American, 0.43% Native American, 10.37% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 11.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.31% of the population.
In the 2000 census, major ancestry groups reported by Hamtramck residents were as follows:
3.1% of Hamtramck’s population reported Albanian ancestry. This made it the second most Albanian place in the United States by percentage of the population, second only to Fairview, North Carolina.
There were 8,033 households out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.59.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 10.8% 18 through 24, 31.9% 25 through 44, 17.7% 45 through 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 110.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,616, and the median income for a family was $30,496. Males had a median income of $29,368 versus $22,346 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,691. About 24.1% of families and 27.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.9% of those under age 18 and 18.1% of those age 65 or over.
From the 1990 Census to the 2000 Census the city’s population increased by 25%. Sally Howell, author of “Competing for Muslims: New Strategies for Urban Renewal in Detroit”, wrote that this was “overwhelmingly” due to immigration from majority Muslim countries.
From 1990 to 2000, of all of the municipalities in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, Hamtramck had the highest percentage growth in the Asian population. It had 222 Asians according to the 1990 U.S. Census and 2,382 according to the 2000 U.S. Census, an increase by 973%.
Historically Hamtramck received a lot of immigration from Eastern Europe. In the 20th century Hamtramck was mostly Polish. George Tysh of the Metro Times stated that “In the early days of the auto industry, Hamtramck’s population swelled with Poles, so much so that you were more likely to hear Polish spoken on Joseph Campau than any other tongue.” Later waves of immigration brought Albanians, Bosnians, Macedonians, Ukrainians, and Yemenis. By 2001 many Bangladeshis, Bosnians, and Iraqi Chaldeans were moving to Hamtramck. As of 2011 almost one in five Hamtramck residents was Asian (excluding those from South-west Asia). As of 2003, over 30 languages are spoken in Hamtramck and more than four religions are present. The four principal religions are, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism.
In June, 2013, the city’s Human Relations Commission facilitated the raising of flags of 18 countries from which Hamtramck residents emigrated. They are displayed on Joseph Campau Street, with an American flag flying at either end.
In the 1930s, the first group of Bangladeshi-Bengalis came to Detroit and Hamtramck. The first significant population of Bengalis began arriving in the late 1980s and the Bengalis became a large part of the city’s population in the 1990s. The largest growth occurred in the 1990s and 2000s. By 2001 many Bangladeshi Americans had moved from New York City, particularly Astoria, Queens, to Hamtramck and the east side of Detroit. Many moved because of lower costs of living, larger amounts of space, work available in small factories, and the large Muslim community in Metro Detroit. Many Bangladeshi Americans moved into Queens, and then onwards to Metro Detroit.
In 2002, over 80% of the Bangladeshi population within Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties lived in Hamtramck and some surrounding neighborhoods in Detroit. That area overall had almost 1,500 ethnic Bangladeshis. Almost 75% of Bangladeshi Michiganders live in Hamtramck.
By 2002, a Bengali business district formed along Conant Avenue and some residents called it “Little Bengal”. The district, along Caniff and Conant streets, included markets, stores, mosques, and bakeries owned by Bangladeshis, Indians, and Pakistanis. By 2008 the Bengali business district, between Davison and Harold Street, and partially within the city limits of Detroit, received the honorary title “Bangladesh Avenue” and was to be dedicated as such on November 8, 2008. Akikul H. Shamin, the president of the Bangladesh Association of Michigan, estimated that Bangladeshi people operate 80% of the buildings and businesses in the portion of Conant Avenue. As of February 2008 the city planned to erect signage reading “Bangladesh Town” in the business district.
In 2002, the estimate of Hamtramck inhabitants of origins from the South Asia was from 7,000 to 10,000. As of 2001, 900 registered students who spoke Bengali and Urdu attended Hamtramck Public Schools.
As of 2014, there are over 13 Bengali clothing shops in the city.
As of 2006, most of the Middle Eastern population in Hamtramck is Yemeni. Hakim Almasmari wrote in 2006 that “Several streets seem to be populated exclusively by Yemeni Americans, and Yemeni culture pervades the city’s social, business, and political life.” Many Yemeni restaurants are in Hamtramck, and the Yemeni community operates the Mu’ath bin Jabal Mosque (Arabic: مسجد معاذ بن جبل), which was established in 1976. In 2005 the mosque, located just outside the south eastern border of Hamtramck, was the largest mosque out of the ten within a three-mile radius. Sally Howell, author of “Competing for Muslims: New Strategies for Urban Renewal in Detroit”, wrote that the mosque “has been credited” by public officials and area Muslims “with having turned around one of Detroit’s roughest neighborhoods at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, making its streets safe, revitalizing a dormant housing market, attracting new business to the area, and laying the foundation for an ethnically mixed, highly visible Muslim population in Detroit and Hamtramck.”
According to Almasmari, some of the first Yemenis to have arrived in Hamtramck said that Yemeni people first arrived in Hamtramck in the 1960s. The “Building Islam in Detroit: Foundations/Forms/Futures” project of the University of Michigan stated that Yemenis began arriving in the 1970s.
In 2013 Dasic Fernandez, a Chilean artist, created a 90-foot (27 m) by 30-foot (9.1 m) mural on the Sheeba restaurant celebrating the Yemeni population. The mural depicts a girl in a veil decorated with the blue sky, a farmer wearing a turban, and a woman in a hijab. The Arab American and Chaldean Council and the coalition OneHamtramck commissioned the mural.
In the 2000s a Bengali mosque named the Al-Islah Jamee Masjid wanted permission to broadcast the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, from loudspeakers outside of the mosque and requested this permission from the city government. It was one of the newer mosques in Hamtramck. Sally Howell, author of “Competing for Muslims: New Strategies for Urban Renewal in Detroit”, wrote that the request “brought to a head simmering Islamophobic sentiments” in Hamtramck. Muslims and interfaith activists supported the mosque. Some anti-Muslim activists, including some from other states including Kentucky and Ohio, participated in the controversy. Howell added that the controversy, through an “international media storm”, gave “a cathartic test of the “freedoms” we were said to be “fighting for” in Afghanistan and Iraq” to the remainder of the United States. In 2004 the city council voted unanimously to allow mosques to broadcast the adhan on public streets, making it one of the few U.S. cities to allow this to occur. Some individuals had strongly objected to the allowing of the adhan, some continue to object. In 2015, some residents complained that they could hear the electronically amplified call to prayer inside their homes five times a day, with one of those daily times being at 6 A.M.