Melvindale began as the unincorporated settlement of Oakwood Heights in the northwestern part of Ecorse Township in the early 1920s. The subdivision was designed to house workers from the nearby Ford River Rouge Plant in the city of Dearborn. The city was named after one of the original developers of the settlement, Melvin Wilkinson. The eastern part of Oakwood Heights was annexed by the city of Detroit in 1922, and the remainder was incorporated as the village of Melvindale the same year. In 1933, the village incorporated as a city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.76 square miles (7.15 km2), of which 2.72 square miles (7.04 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 10,715 people, 4,420 households, and 2,601 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,939.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,521.0/km2). There were 4,918 housing units at an average density of 1,808.1 per square mile (698.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 76.8% White (66.6% non-Hispanic white), 11.3% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 6.4% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.3% of the population.
There were 4,420 households of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.17.
The median age in the city was 36.5 years. 24.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.2% were from 25 to 44; 26.6% were from 45 to 64; and 11.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.1% male and 51.9% female.