Detroit: Post-apocalyptic America
And you thought things were bad in rural South Carolina…
A story in The Week details the myriad woes of Detroit, and they are legion. They include:
- In July, the median Detroit home price was $7,000. “That’s not a typo,” the Week points out.
- The Detroit public school system today is so bad that it is under emergency control of the state.
- Detroit’s population in 1950 was 1.85 million. Today it is 770,000.
- Half of Detroit’s children live in poverty; one-quarter of the adult population didn’t graduate from high school.
- The median household income is about half the national average. This is a whole city that is poor, says Wayne State University professor Robin Boyle.
The article’s opening paragraph paints an ugly picture of a city, once the fourth-largest in the nation, in utter decline:
Outside the city’s downtown core of office buildings, Detroit looks like a post-apocalyptic nightmare. The collapse of the auto industry, political dysfunction, and epidemics of crime, drugs, and arson have battered Detroit like a slow-motion hurricane, leveling entire neighborhoods and causing a major chunk of the population to flee. Nearly 30 percent of the city, an area almost the size of San Francisco, has been abandoned to “urban prairie” — vast, depopulated stretches of high grass and shattered asphalt.
And, according to The Week, Detroit’s hopes for revitalization don’t look too rosy.
City officials are hoping that a trickle of homesteaders now moving in to take advantage of dirt-cheap housing will turn into full-scale gentrification, according to the article. They’re also hoping that a new generation of hybrid and electric cars will pump new life into the U.S. auto industry.
But the city faces a deficit of nearly $300 million and is so desperate for cash that it has sold the brass poles from some of its firehouses.
(Hat tip: On Hockey Blog)