Bankrupt, Decaying And Nearly Dead: 24 Facts About The City Of Detroit That Will Shock You

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Top Tier Gear USA


If you want to know what the future of America is going to be like, just look at the city of Detroit.  Once upon a time it was a symbol of everything that America was doing right, but today it has been transformed into a rotting, decaying, post-apocalyptic hellhole.  Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and in 1960 Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.  It was the greatest manufacturing city the world had ever seen, and the rest of the globe looked at Detroit with a sense of awe and wonder.  But now the city of Detroit has become a bad joke to the rest of the world.  Unemployment is rampant, 60 percent of the children are living in poverty and the city government is on the verge of bankruptcy.  They say that Detroit is just a matter of “weeks or months” away from running out of cash, and when Detroit does declare bankruptcy it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States.  But don’t look down on Detroit, because the truth is that Detroit is really a metaphor for what is happening to America as a whole.  In the United States today, our manufacturing infrastructure has been gutted, poverty is absolutely exploding and we are rapidly approaching national bankruptcy.  Detroit may have gotten there first, but the rest of the country will follow soon enough.

Back during the boom years, Detroit was known for making great cars.  Today, it is known for scenes of desolation and decay.  It is full of vandalized homes, abandoned schools and empty factories.  The following description of what Detroit looks like at this point is from an article by Barry Yeoman

It’s hard to describe the city’s physical landscape without producing what Detroiters call “ruin porn.” Brick houses with bays and turrets sit windowless or boarded up. Whole blocks, even clusters of blocks, have been bulldozed. Retail strips have been reduced to a dollar store here, a storefront church there, and a whole lot of plywood in between. Not a single chain supermarket remains.

So what caused the downfall of one of the greatest cities on earth?

Well, here is a hint…

Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

When you are a manufacturing area, and you lose half of your manufacturing jobs over the course of a single decade, of course things are going to get really, really bad.

So just how bad have things gotten in Detroit?

The following are 24 facts about the city of Detroit that will shock you…

#1 Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and it was once home to close to 2 million people.  But over the last several decades people have been fleeing in droves.  According to the 2010 census, only 713,000 people now live in Detroit, and city officials admit that the population has probably slipped under 700,000 at this point.

#2 The population of Detroit has declined by about 25 percent over the past decade.  The last time the population of Detroit was this low was all the way back in 1910.

#3 Today, Detroit is only the 18th-largest city in America.  It is now smaller than Austin, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina.

#4 Back in 1960, the city of Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the United States.

#5 Today, the unemployment rate in Detroit is more than 18 percent, which is more than twice as high as the nation as a whole.

#6 According to a report that was just recently released, approximately60 percent of all children in Detroit live in poverty.

#7 Approximately one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles are either vacant or derelict.

#8 The city government of Detroit has closed dozens of schools and has decided to cut off public services to the “heavily blighted areas“.

#9 According to one estimate, there are 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant residential lots in the city of Detroit today.

#10 The median price of a home in Detroit is just $9,000, and there are some areas of Detroit where you can still buy a house for $100.

#11 There are more than 85,000 streetlights in Detroit, but thieves have stripped so much copper wiring out of the lights that more than half of them are not working.

#12 Mayor Bing has announced a plan to reduce the number of streetlights in the city of Detroit to just 46,000.

#13 According to one very shocking report, 47 percent of all people living in the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate at this point..

#14 The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.

#15 There were 377 homicides in Detroit in 2011.  In 2012, that number rose to 411.

#16 Justifiable homicide in Detroit rose by an astounding 79 percentduring 2011.

#17 In one recent year, the rate of self-defense killings in the city of Detroit was 2200% above the national average.

#18 Ten years ago, there were approximately 5,000 police officers in the city of Detroit.  Today, there are only about 2,500 and another 100 are scheduled to be eliminated from the force soon.

#19 Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

#20 Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

#21 At one point, 100 bus drivers in Detroit refused to drive their routes because they were afraid of being attacked out on the streets in broad daylight.  The head of the bus drivers union, Henry Gaffney, said that the drivers were literally “scared for their lives“….

“Our drivers are scared, they’re scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off, when one of my drivers was beat up by some teenagers down in the middle of Rosa Parks and it took the police almost 30 minutes to get there, in downtown Detroit,” said Gaffney.

#22 There have been reports that gangs of young men with AK-47s have been terrorizing gas stations all over Detroit.

#23 Detroit was once known for making some of the greatest cars in the world.  Now, it is known around the world as a dumping ground for the dead

From the street, the two decomposing bodies were nearly invisible, concealed in an overgrown lot alongside worn-out car tires and a moldy sofa. The teenagers had been shot, stripped to their underwear and left on a deserted block.

They were just the latest victims of foul play whose remains went undiscovered for days after being hidden deep inside Detroit’s vast urban wilderness — a crumbling wasteland rarely visited by outsiders and infrequently patrolled by police.

#24 Detroit’s public schools are an absolute nightmare.  The following is from one of my readers that actually attended one of the “best” public schools in Detroit…

The school was a new seven story building just a couple of years old. The bathrooms would often lack toilet paper & soap beyond the second floor (the main floor), the bathroom sinks would often not work. The water fountains on north side of the building on from the third floor & up did not work. The elevators would constantly break down. I even got stuck on the elevator before. I almost tripped down a half a flight of stairs because the elastic seal (it was the metal bar at the front of a treader of I don’t know the name of it.) the stairs was not properly installed.

Students would often have sex on the stairs & throughout the school. Parents actually called the school many times & reported kids having sex on the stairs because all of them had glass windows 270 degrees.

Even over in Europe they write stories about the dramatic decline of Detroit.  For example, the following is how one British reporter described his visit to Detroit

Much of Detroit is horribly dangerous for its own residents, who in many cases only stay because they have nowhere else to go. Property crime is double the American average, violent crime triple. The isolated, peeling homes, the flooded roads, the clunky, rusted old cars and the neglected front yards amid trees and groin-high grassland make you think you are in rural Alabama, not in one of the greatest industrial cities that ever existed.

For those that want to read even more about the horrifying downfall of Detroit, there are some amazing charts that graphically show the decline of Detroit right here.

So what is the solution?

How can we fix Detroit?

Well, why don’t we just build a monorail!  Of course that sounds ridiculous, but the federal government has actually committed $25 million to construct “a streetcar line” that nobody really wants and that very few people would probably actually use.  Perhaps they could be excused for wasting so much money on a bad idea if there had not already been 24 failed attempts to develop a successful public transit system in Detroit over the past four decades.

Well, why don’t we just build a bunch of theme parks instead?  After all, tourists would just flock to Detroit, right?

It has been suggested that Detroit would be ideal for an “automotive theme park”, and there is actually one group of investors that wants to turn some of the worst areas of Detroit into a “zombie theme park”.

What will they think of next?

Actually, a much better idea would have been to not allow millions of our good paying manufacturing jobs to be shipped to the other side of the world, but it is too late for that at this point.

But once again, please do not look down on the city of Detroit.  Instead, let the city of Detroit serve as a warning for the rest of us.

The truth is that the entire U.S. economy is in an advanced state of decline…

-The percentage of the civilian labor force in the United States that is employed has been steadily declining every single year since 2006.

-An astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

-Amazingly, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with either Master’s degrees or Ph.D.s that are enrolled in the food stamp program at this point.

We are a nation that consumes far more wealth than we produce, we are a nation that is constantly bleeding jobs, businesses and wealth, and we are a nation that is going deeper into debt with each passing day.

Yes, Detroit may have gone over the edge into economic oblivion first, but the rest of the nation is steamrolling down the exact same path that Detroit has gone.

Is it too late for us to change direction?

Please feel free to share your thoughts on that question by leaving a comment below…

Detroit - Photo by Albert duce

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Contributed by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse.

Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream , The Truth and Economic Collapse Blog.

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  • marshall clark

    I grew up in detroit in the 50’s. Everyone had a very good life, blacks, whites, everyone.

    You can owe the death of detroit to the corporations whose only duty is to make sure stock holders make money. they don’t care about the community, they don’t take pride in their workmanship, they care nothing about workers. they say they are like humans and should be treated as such. Except they can’t be arrested, they never are guilty of murder or fraud or lying, are anything. There is not enough rope in America to hang the people in america that defrauded the american people. Its been going on for 50 years. like the Roman empire, America has been destroyed from within.

  • Leon H

    We need to leverage our market to bring jobs INTO America by making it a Federal Law that any imports to the USA must be manufactured only by companies adhering to OSHA and our environmental laws when it comes to resources. We do that with rare woods already. While it would be a lot of paperwork for us, we have to certify each aspect of manufacture and resources collection. (Do you really think workers in other countries will mind?) These actions will increase the cost for goods here WHILE producing more jobs here. We may actually have to SAVE for somethings like our parents did and it will spawn more work in repairing many items and keep us less likely to be such a throw away society. That’s my 2 cents!

  • cindy

    One of my customer is a school teacher.She said its cheaper for her to have her son eat breakfast and lunch at school,than for her to buy food and prepare it at home.
    I’m seeing more customers couponing,buying only sale items,eating more fruits and vegetables and buying less junk food.

  • Chuck

    I remember when George HW Bush signed NAFTA. He and Reagan had been pushing for this for years! I said at the time this would be the downfall of our country. It gave the corporate crooks free reign to move everything to Mexico. Then when they followed up with the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the World Free Trade Agreement I knew our goose was cooked. The rational behind it was to, and I quote, “bring the world’s standard of living up to ours here in America!” Problem is it had the opposite effect. It brought our down to their level. This is exactly what the “banksters” at the World Bank want. They want to rape and pillage America just like they’ve been doing in Europe for decades! For God sakes, do some research people. Wake up and open your eyes! Join the Libertarian movement. We’ve woken up, you should too!

    • Herb

      Clinton signed NAFTA

  • ManCavePatriot

    The socialists of a century ago, who planned on “flipping” America, saw as their greatest obstacle the strong middle-class and our Constitution. I think they’ve overcome their obstacles. As Patrick Henry so passionately declared, ” Give Me LIBERTY or give me DEATH”.

  • H. Ross Perot was right wasn’t he! “you pass NAFTA and you will hear a giant sucking sound of our jobs leaving this country” He was right then and it still rings true today. I think it is too late for us now Wall street and big business has raped and pillaged this country to the point of welfare for everyone because you sure as hell can’t find a descent job anymore, If you do have one wait till they give it to some illegal immigrant who will work for less than you and your unemployment will run out. The inner city will become a disaster zone (like detroit)!

  • Russell

    I agree with Chuck, NAFTA was the beginning of the end. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Bill Clinton sign NAFTA? No matter who signed what the real problem is our government has allowed our middle class to be sold and the big corporations will never pay the same wages as before.

    • Herb

      your right it was Clinton , Bush really didn’t like it

  • Lowtolerance

    Brought to you in high definition by Traitors, Inc. Screenplay by Adam Smith and David Ricardo, published 1809-1821.

  • SKIP

    Even among awake posters here there is not a single mention of WHY people fled Detoilet and all the other bad things….I will say it since I have been up there a lot and also into most all of the big American cities…BLACKS are the cause of it, NOT lost jobs, NOT education, NOT opportunities, it is pure and simple black criminal pathology. Say it with me, BLACK CRIMINAL PATHOLOGY. I’m disappointed that Sheeple would post this clearly PC article when most all of us here, especially those of us who travel, KNOW the truth of what caused it.

  • Amen Skip, having worked there for ten years before 2008 I have seen the parts of that town that should be burned down. people that can should leave while they still have anything left. The whole Detroit proper is a shithole, watch the First 48 guess who commits 98% of the crimes, don’t take a rocket scientist to see it.

  • Former Sheeple

    Even Ross Perot got one thing right, with NAFTA , and other similar acts, you are going to hear a GIANT SUCKING SOUND of jobs leaving America.

    Corporations have bought the executive/legislative/judicial branches, and all state govt’s.

    CONgress represents the bankers.