Hamtramck is a city in Wayne County of 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. Hamtramck is named for the French-Canadian soldier Jean François Hamtramck who was the first American commander of Fort Shelby, the fortification at Detroit.
Hamtramck was originally settled by German farmers, but Polish immigrants flooded into the area when the Dodge Brothers plant opened in 1914. Poles used to make up a large proportion of the population. It is sometimes confused with Poletown, a traditional Polish neighborhood, which used to lie mostly in the city of Detroit and includes a small part of Hamtramck. As of the 2010 American Community Survey, 14.5% of Hamtramck's population is of Polish origin; in 1970, it was 90% Polish.
Over the past thirty years, a large number of immigrants from the Middle East (especially Yemen), South Asia (especially Bangladesh), and Southeastern Europe (especially Bosnia and Herzegovina) have moved to the city. As of the 2010 American Community Survey, the city's foreign born population stood at 41.1%, making it Michigan's most internationally diverse city (see more at Demographics below). The population was 43,355 in the 1950 Census, and 18,372 in 1990.
Hamtramck is named after Jean Francois Hamtramck. Originally named Hamtramck Township, Hamtramck was primarily farmland, although the Detroit Stove Works employed 1,300 workers to manufacture stoves. In 1901, part of the township incorporated as a village to gain more control over the settlement's affairs, and by 1922 the village reincorporated as a city to fend off annexation attempts by the neighboring city of Detroit. By the mid-1920s, 78% of the residents of Hamtramck owned their own houses or were buying their houses. Around that time, the factory workers made up 85% of Hamtramck's heads of households. Of those factory workers, half were not skilled. In 1910, the newly founded Dodge Main assembly plant created jobs for thousands of workers and led to additional millions of dollars in the city. Dodge Main quickly expanded and became important to the Hamtramck. Before the construction of Dodge Main, Hamtramck was a largely rural town. With the Dodge Main assembly plant also came a large Polish population. The influx of Polish immigrants pushed the incumbent German politicians. It was at this point that Hamtramck was considered a Polish-American town.