Detroit’s pension problems, in one chart. By Brad Plumer By Brad Plumer July 19, 2013 The Detroit Free Press has a long, detailed breakdown of Detroit's pension woes.
Here's the key chart: Detroit currently owes $3.5 billion on its pension funds and writes checks to about 21,000 retired city employees and their widows, most of whom get around $1,600 per month. Detroit Bankrupt: To See Detroit's Decline, Look at 40 Years Of Federal Policy. In 1960, the richest per capita city in America, according to the U.S.
Census Bureau, was Detroit. Today Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, the largest American city to do so. This tragedy is a stark reminder of the unintended consequences of federal legislation that resulted in white flight and caused Detroit's current problems. Before we examine what truly caused the decimation of one the world’s richest cities, let us review just how rapidly the conditions in Detroit have declined.
Sixty percent (60%) of all of Detroit’s children are living in poverty. From the New York Times to the Washington Post and across the blue-to-red political spectrum, near universal agreement calls for “letting Detroit go bankrupt.” A major reason for Detroit’s economic woes is often cited from a review of U.S. 2010 Census data, which notes Michigan lost 48% of all its manufacturing jobs from 2000-2010. Detroit loses a staggering 25% of its population in a decade. Major city loses 25% of its population Detroit has lowest population since 1910 census countCity could lose millions in fundingCrime, migration and decline of auto industry are factors in losses (CNN) -- Detroit could probably use another Eminem boost following Tuesday's news that it lost 25% of its residents from 2000 to 2010.
You may remember the catchy Chrysler ad during January's Super Bowl. Root Causes of Detroit’s Decline Should Not Go Ignored. Recently Detroit, under orders from a state-appointed emergency manager, became the largest U.S. city to go bankrupt.
This stirred predictable media speculation about why the city, which at 1.8 million was once America’s 5th-largest, declined in the first place. Much of the coverage simply listed Detroit’s longtime problems rather than explaining their causes. For example a Huffington Post article asserted that it was because of “racial strife,” the loss of “good-paying [sic] assembly line jobs,” and a population who fled “to pursue new dreams in the suburbs.”
Paul Krugman, who has increasingly become America’s dean of misguided thinking, downplayed the city’s pension obligations, instead blaming “job sprawl” and “market forces.” The implication is that Detroit’s problem just arose organically from structural economic changes, and within decades somehow produced a city of abandoned homes and unlit streets. The foremost measure would be addressing taxes. Photo by Kate Sumbler. Anatomy of Detroit’s Decline - Interactive Feature. Mayor Coleman A. Young of Detroit at an event in 1980. Richard Sheinwald/Associated Press The financial crisis facing Detroit was decades in the making, caused in part by a trail of missteps, suspected corruption and inaction.
Here is a sampling of some city leaders who trimmed too little, too late and, rather than tackling problems head on, hoped that deep-rooted structural problems would turn out to be cyclical downturns. Charles E. Edward Jeffries, who served as mayor from 1940 to 1948, developed the Detroit Plan, which involved razing 100 blighted acres and preparing the land for redevelopment. Albert Cobo was considered a candidate of the wealthy and of the white during his tenure from 1950 to 1957. Coleman A. Kwame M. Detroit population rank is lowest since 1850.
For the first time since before the Civil War, Detroit is not among the nation’s 20 most populous cities.
Detroit’s population was 677,116 as of last summer, a loss of 3,107 residents from the previous year, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Whose Neighborhood Is It? - NYTimes.com. “In Milliken, the Supreme Court had in effect told whites that it was safe to flee and that it would protect them,” Myron Orfield, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota, writes in a 2015 U.C.L.A. law review article.
Since then, however, many of “these communities have faced a wave of migrants from neighborhoods far more troubled than they were in 1972, a wave that will grow as Detroit continues to depopulate.” These suburban Detroit communities provide a case study in what has come to be called the “tipping point,” the point at which whites begin to leave a residential locale en masse as African-Americans or other minorities move in. This phenomenon puzzled Thomas Schelling, a professor emeritus of economics at Harvard and a Nobel Laureate, who was struck by the lack of stable integrated communities. Schelling’s famous thesis has been carefully summarized by Junfu Zhang, an economist at Clark University. Zhang writes: The Downfall of Detroit: White Flight and the 1967 Race Riots.
The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan that began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967.
The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th (today Rosa Parks Boulevard) and Clairmount streets on the city’s Near West Side. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in United States history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit’s 1943 race riot, which occurred 24 years earlier. To help end the disturbance, Governor George Romney ordered the Michigan National Guard into Detroit, and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in Army troops. Research02 whiteflight.
Whites moving to Detroit, city that epitomized white flight. DETROIT — Whites are moving back to the American city that came to epitomize white flight, even as blacks continue to leave for the suburbs and the city’s overall population shrinks.
Detroit is the latest major city to see an influx of whites who may not find the suburbs as alluring as their parents and grandparents did in the last half of the 20th century. Unlike New York, San Francisco and many other cities that have seen the demographic shift, though, it is cheap housing and incentive programs that are partly fueling the regrowth of the Motor City’s white population. “For any individual who wants to build a company or contribute to the city, Detroit is the perfect place to be,” said Bruce Katz, co-director of the Global Cities Initiative at the Washington-based Brookings Institution. “You can come to Detroit and you can really make a difference.” “A young person can move here with $10,000 and start up a small flex space for artists or artists’ studios,” Seger said. Elizabeth St. St. Even a Half-Century Ago, Journalists Were Predicting Detroit Would Go Bust - The Atlantic.
News that Detroit has officially declared bankruptcy inspired me to dig into old newspaper and magazine stories to relive the city's glory years, and perhaps reread the stories of decline I remember from my childhood, when the nation was panicked about the Japanese taking over industry.
What I hadn't realized is how long there have been warning signs that all was not well in Motor City. Three examples are sufficient for purposes of illustration. Detroit, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? Thou wouldst fain destroy the temple!
If thou be Jesus, Son of the Father, now from the Cross descend thou, that we behold it and believe on thee when we behold it. If thou art King over Israel, save thyself then! God, My Father, why has thou forsaken me? All those who were my friends, all have now forsaken me. And he that hate me do now prevail against me, and he whom I cherished, he hath betrayed me. Detroit's gentrification won't give poor citizens reliable public services. For the past two years, I have taken postgraduate students in urban geography to Detroit, where a prosperous downtown is rising. The city’s transformation is being celebrated and seen as potential model for other places. But George Galster, professor of urban studies at Detroit’s Wayne State University told my students to imagine the city as a bathtub.
The new investments and activities are like water pouring into the tub. What became of Detroit? As Detroit approaches a new turn in its difficult journey over the past several decades, the imposition of an Emergency Financial Manager by the governor of Michigan (link), many people are asking a difficult question: how did we get to this point? The features that need explanation all fall within a general theme -- the decline of a once-great American city. The city's population is now roughly 40% of its peak of almost two million residents in 1950 (link); the tax revenues for city government fall far short of what is needed to support a decent level of crucial city services; the school system is failing perhaps half of the children it serves; and poverty seems a permanent condition for a large percentage of the city.
The decline is economic; it is political; it is demographic; it is fiscal; and it is of course a decline in the quality of life for the majority of the residents of the city. What about race and white flight? Another vicious circle in Detroit concerns schooling. Marilyn Salenger: ‘White flight’ and Detroit’s decline.
By Marilyn Salenger By Marilyn Salenger July 21, 2013 Marilyn Salenger is president of Strategic Communications Services and a former correspondent and news anchor for several CBS stations. An almost palpable sadness has swept across the country at the news that the city of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy. While the possibility of this had been discussed, the reality of what was once the fourth-largest city in the United States sinking to such depths is disheartening, a moment people will remember for years to come. To understand that the decline and bankruptcy represent so much more than dollars and cents requires a step back to a time that many would prefer to forget but remains unforgettable.