One of Michigan's medium-sized communities and situated in Washtenaw County, Ypsilanti had a population of about 22,000, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The city has the feel of a college town as it is home to Eastern Michigan University and neighbors Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan. An American trading village in the 19th century, Ypsilanti is now known mainly as a farm-trade center, with residential and commercial districts.
Although the majority of Ypsilanti's inhabitants are white, the city still possesses a mixture of ethnic groups, including African-American, Italian, Irish, Polish, English and German.
Ypsilanti is composed of some two dozen different neighborhoods, but the main city center lies between the intersection of the Huron River and Michigan Avenue, which links downtown Detroit with Chicago. The area immediately surrounding the university is the commercial and artistic center of the city.
Ypsilanti, along with many other Michigan towns, has ties to the automative industry. Beginning in the first quarter of the 20th century when Apex Motors first produced the "ACE" car, Ypsilanti's automobile industry has had a crucial impact on the city's economy. General Motors eventually purchased the plant that had been owned and operated by Henry J. Kaiser and Joseph W. Frazer and began production in the 1950s. The original plant was closed in 1993.
Today, professionals, service providers and office workers are the most common professions; office and administrative support jobs constitute almost 19 percent of the city's employees. Employees in sales constitute another 13 percent of the city's employees, while the food service industry accounts for at least 10 percent. Ypsilanti has a mix of both blue-collar and white-collar employment.
Ypsilanti possesses a lively underground arts scene and offers numerous activities throughout the year that celebrate the city's culture and history.
Ypsilanti also possesses a vibrant arts and music scene and claims an interesting musical history.
Ypsilanti has a large and lively historic district that encompasses the downtown area and spreads to the Depot Town area. This district features a variety of restaurants and stores, as well as a farmers' market. Other notable sites include:
Ypsilanti is considered to be a highly educated community compared with the rest of the nation, and more than 35 percent of adults possess a bachelor's degree or higher. Eastern Michigan University, founded in the mid-19th century, enrolls nearly 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students and contributes to the commercial district and the general economy of the city.
The popular North American fast-food chain Domino's Pizza was founded in Ypsilanti in 1960.
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