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Ferndale, Michigan
City of Ferndale
City Hall
City Hall
Location within Oakland County
Location within Oakland County
Ferndale, Michigan is located in Michigan
Ferndale, Michigan
Ferndale, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
County Oakland
Incorporated 1918 (village)
1927 (city)
 • Type Council–manager
 • City 3.88 sq mi (10.04 km2)
 • Land 3.88 sq mi (10.04 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
646 ft (197 m)
 • City 19,190
 • Density 4,945.88/sq mi (1,911.35/km2)
 • Metro
4,392,041 (Metro Detroit)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s) 248
FIPS code 26-27880
GNIS feature ID 0625911

Ferndale is a city in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It forms part of the Detroit metropolitan area. As of the 2020 census, the city population was 19,190. Ferndale is well known in the Detroit area for its LGBT population and progressive policies.


Native Americans were early inhabitants of the area now known as the City of Ferndale. In the 1800s farmers began cultivating the land. After the invention of the automobile and the development of the automotive assembly line, the population of Ferndale increased rapidly.

Ferndale was incorporated into a village in 1918. It was then incorporated into a city on March 7, 1927, by vote of the citizens of the village. It became a bedroom community for Detroit workers, with most of its growth in housing from 1920-1951. Through the early 1950s there were trolley (interurban railroad) lines in the median strip of Woodward Avenue from downtown Detroit to Pontiac. These helped the northern suburbs of Detroit grow as bedroom communities as people could take the trolley to shop or work in Detroit.

In the 1970s, the Ferndale suburban community emerged as a place for families to raise children during the "Baby Boom" era, with its elementary schools, a downtown, city parks, active churches and civic groups. Ferndale High was completed in 1958.

Ferndale's downtown shopping area, 9 Mile Road, featured many busy, popular stores in the 1940s to 1960s, but later went into decline, and many business closed. In recent decades, the downtown area has revitalized. Ferndale's downtown is formed by two major thoroughfares, Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue. Circa 1997 the city made the downtown more pedestrian-friendly by narrowing West Nine Mile Road, the heart of the downtown, to one lane in each direction and adding on-street parking. The result has been a return of pedestrian traffic and an influx of new stores and restaurants. The city has continued to make itself more accessible to people by reducing traffic lanes on Hilton Road and Pinecrest Road, two major local north/south streets, and adding bicycle lanes.


Ferndale is located at 42°27′40″N 83°7′44″W / 42.46111°N 83.12889°W / 42.46111; -83.12889.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.88 square miles (10.05 km2), all land.

Ferndale is adjacent to the cities of Detroit to the south, Oak Park to the west, Hazel Park to the east, Pleasant Ridge to the north, Royal Oak Township to the southwest, and Royal Oak to the north.

Ferndale is bordered to the south by 8 Mile Road, to the north (west of Woodward Avenue) by Oakridge Street, and (east of Woodward Avenue) by 10 Mile Road. To the west it is bordered by Republic Street (south of Nine Mile Road), and Hyland Street (north of Nine Mile). To the east it is bordered by West End, Pilgrim Street, and Lennox Street.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 2,640
1930 20,855 690.0%
1940 22,523 8.0%
1950 29,675 31.8%
1960 31,347 5.6%
1970 30,850 −1.6%
1980 26,227 −15.0%
1990 25,084 −4.4%
2000 22,105 −11.9%
2010 19,900 −10.0%
2020 19,190 −3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 19,900 people, 9,559 households, and 4,349 families living in the city. The population density was 5,128.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,980.3/km2). There were 10,477 housing units at an average density of 2,700.3 per square mile (1,042.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.7% White, 9.6% African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 2.8% of the population.

There were 9,559 households, of which 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.3% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 54.5% were non-families. 39.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.85.

The median age in the city was 35.6 years. 16.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 41.2% were from 25 to 44; 25.2% were from 45 to 64; and 8.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.9% male and 50.1% female.

LGBT population

The 1980s and 1990s saw the growth of the LGBT population in Ferndale, coinciding with a migration from neighborhoods in Detroit to communities north along Woodward Avenue, including Royal Oak, Pleasant Ridge and others. In 1999 a proposed non-discrimination ordinance was introduced in Ferndale, but was defeated. The Motor City Pride festival moved to Ferndale from Royal Oak in 2001. In 2006 the city passed an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and business, with 70% in favor and 30% in opposition. Affirmations, a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) LGBT community center in Downtown Ferndale, opened its new, expanded building on Sunday June 3, 2007, the same year the city elected the first openly gay mayor in Michigan. In 2011, Motor City Pride moved to Detroit's Hart Plaza. Ferndale Pride was started that year.


Ferndale has its own school district, Ferndale Public Schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools. Ferndale High School and University High School are both part of Ferndale Public Schools.

A portion of Ferndale is instead zoned to Hazel Park Schools.

Notable people

  • James Blanchard, Governor of Michigan 1983–91 and U.S. Ambassador to Canada
  • Joseph Bruce (a.k.a. Violent J), member of Insane Clown Posse
  • Ron Carter, jazz musician
  • David Coulter, Oakland County Executive
  • Craig Covey, first openly gay mayor (2007–10) elected by voters in Michigan
  • Dana Elcar, actor best known for film The Sting and role as Peter Thornton on TV series MacGyver
  • Elena Ford, heiress
  • Frank Hagel, painter and sculptor
  • Josh Malerman, novelist and singer-songwriter
  • Rashad Phillips, professional basketball player; played for Ferndale High School (1992–96)
  • Ken Rowe, MLB pitcher and coach; born in Ferndale
  • Bob Welch, MLB pitcher, 1990 Cy Young Award winner, two-time All-Star, three-time World Series champion; lived in Ferndale, attended school in Hazel Park
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