Many of those surveyed for The Detroit News say the big problem is crime.
"There's an aura of fear that just pervades the whole neighborhood," Michael LaBlanc, who lives on the northeast side, told the newspaper. "It's almost like being in prison. We always like to have at least one person home for security sake."
Detroit's decline as a center of automobile and parts production as led to a dramatic loss in population from a peak of 1.85 million residents in 1950 to just over 700,000 last year.
The survey by the Glengarriff Group Inc. of Chicago found that 66 percent of Detroiters believe the embattled city is on the wrong track. More than half, 58 percent, called crime their biggest "daily challenge," with unemployment and economic problems a distant second at 12.8 percent.
Just over half, 50.9 percent, said they would like to live somewhere else, and 39.9 percent planned to act on that wish within five years. That suggests the city faces an exodus like the one documented in the 2010 Census, which found that 25 percent of residents had moved out in the previous 10 years.
Glengarriff polled 800 people by landline and cell phone between Sept. 22 and Sept. 25. The margin of error is 3.5 percent.