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Berkley is a suburb of Detroit located along the Woodward Corridor in southeastern Oakland County, Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the total population was 14,970.
Prior to settlement, the land which would become Berkley consisted largely of dense forests and some isolated pockets of swampland. Many in the region deemed the areas north and west of Detroit as uninhabitable or impassible due to the harshness of the swamps beyond Detroit, but as adventurers pushed out through the interminable swamp, they found beautiful scenery beyond the wet prairie of Northern Wayne County. As it became well known that there was "fine farming country" to the north and west of Detroit great excitement was raised and people began to flock to what was then all known as Royal Oak. Land in what would later become Berkley began being sold to farmers who cut down forests and otherwise prepared the land for farming. By the 1840's Berkley contained a great number of dairy farms. The 1910's brought significant growth to the area with the completion of the Highland Park Ford Plant. As farms were sold and turned into subdivisions, there was pressure to formally incorporate the land. In 1923, Berkley was incorporated as a village. At the time Elmer Cromie had named the road that ran through his farm Berkley and the "Berkley School" was then under construction, so the name Berkley was chosen for the village.
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought growth in Berkley to a halt. Roughly 90% of the 5,558 residents in Berkley lost their jobs when the market crashed. Within a year, the city's population was dropping and in 1932 voters chose to incorporate their Village into a City to gain more oversight over taxes and other issues facing the community. In the 1940s, suburbanization and the post-war boom economy drove significant development in the area. The current Berkley High School was built in 1949 and the city reached a population peak of 23,375, in the 1960.
Downtown Berkley stretches along 12 Mile Road between Greenfield Road and Coolidge Highway, and along Coolidge Highway between 12 Mile Road and 11 Mile Road. Downtown Berkley is home to many restaurants, boutiques, clothing stores, and retail shops. Berkley's municipal offices, public library, and public safety headquarters are located near the intersection of 12 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway. Downtown Berkley hosts an annual Art Bash, which drew roughly 10,000 people to the city's commercial sector in 2016. The art bash brings local artists from all over Michigan to sell art from photographs, garden art, jewelry and pottery to clothing accessories and paintings. Local stores and shops also participate in the festivities holding sidewalk sales. the city is an active participant in the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, a popular classic car showcase in the Metro Detroit area. Berkley hosts a classic car parade Downtown, called the Berkley CruiseFest. It holds the festivities one day before the official date of the Dream Cruise, and has done so every year since 1995.
In addition to the Downtown festivities the city holds an annual Summerfest and Winterfest through the city Parks and Recreation department, and partnerships with volunteers and community organizations. The City of Berkley is home to many neighborhood parks and a large central community center, which is located on Catalpa Drive, just east of Anderson Middle School. For decades Berkley Parks and Recreation operated an ice arena at their central facility, but this was closed in 2016 due to a coolant leak in the facility. As of June 2017 the city was investigating redevelopment options for the future of the facility which may include a pool or an ice arena, but not both.
The city of Berkley was planned and exists as an inner-ring suburb of Detroit. The majority of its streets connect on a grid pattern and typical lots are small by suburban standards. This is viewed by the residents as fostering a tight-knit community. This has led to the community becoming an increasingly popular suburb being among the healthiest housing markets in Michigan and the United States., but despite this Berkley is still considered affordable by Time Inc's Money Magazine, which rated Berkley as the 28th-best place to live for the money, in the United States due to its "small town feel" within Metro Detroit and its "easily walkable downtown".
Berkley lies within Southeastern Oakland County, bordered by Woodward Avenue on the east, Webster Road on the North, Greenfield Road on the west, and 11 Mile Road on the south. The southern border of the city is 3 miles north of the Detroit city limits, which are bounded by Eight Mile Road. Berkley is intersected by 12 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway, and though no Interstates run through the city, Interstate 75 and Interstate 696 are major thoroughfares near the city. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.62 square miles (6.79 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 14,970 people, 6,594 households, and 3,896 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,713.7 inhabitants per square mile (2,206.1/km2). There were 6,933 housing units at an average density of 2,646.2 per square mile (1,021.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.3% White, 3.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.
There were 6,594 households of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.9% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.95.
The median age in the city was 37.9 years. 21.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 33.7% were from 25 to 44; 27.3% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,531 people, 6,678 households, and 4,020 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,925.5 per square mile (2,288.8/km²). There were 6,833 housing units at an average density of 2,607.0 per square mile (1,007.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.09% White, 0.70% African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.03% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.31% of the population.
There were 6,678 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the city, the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 38.2% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $57,620, and the median income for a family was $66,968. Males had a median income of $50,276 versus $36,624 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,504. About 2.5% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.
The Berkley School District operates in almost all of Berkley, all of Huntington Woods, and the north section of Oak Park. The school district includes four elementary schools (Angell, Burton, Pattengill, and Rogers.), one Kindergarten-8th grade school (Norup International), one middle school (Anderson), and one high school (Berkley High School). From 2008 to 2016, Berkley High School has been named by Newsweek on its list of 1,000 Best High Schools in the nation. In 2008 it ranked among the top six in Michigan, and in 2017 the Washington Post rated it as one of the most challenging high schools in the nation, making it one of three Oakland County high schools to earn the distinction. Norup became an International Baccalaureate Candidate school this year implementing the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) for all students. Homeowners in the first block west of Woodward and in the first five streets north of Eleven Mile Road are serviced by the Royal Oak Public Schools.
A former elementary school, Avery, was converted into the school district office and is now known as Avery Center. Avery is one of three campuses (with Tyndall and Magnolia) housing the Berkley School District's Building Blocks program for infants through pre-school. The program is nationally accredited, one of among only 8% accredited centers in the country.
The city was the home of a Roman Catholic school named Our Lady of La Salette, which closed in 2013.
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