Declining Detroit

I have a facination with the city of Detroit. I lived in a suburb for five years from 1995-2000 and have visited many times since then. It is a example we use in our Year 9 unit on the American Dream, I also discuss the city in the A2 ‘World Cities’ Option.

Last year the United States carried out its census. Like the United Kingdom the United States carries out a census every 10 years. The US Census Bureau is now beginning to release the data from their 2010 census.

The population of Detroit has now fallen to 713,700. However the major of detroit is disputing this stating that city has a population of at least 750,000. This is an important distinction because a substantial portion of Detroit’s funding is from a city income tax; however the state law only allows cities with populations over 750,000 to collect a income tax [the law was written to in practise only allow Detroit to collect an income tax]. This will likely result in a change in state law rather than a removal of the income tax. In 1960 Detroit made up 44% of the population of the Metro Detroit area, now it makes up just 16%. This works out as one person leaving every 22 minutes. In addition Michigan is the only state whose population has declined between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

This population decline is not new and just a coninuation of an existing trend. In my opinion although there are a lot of factors that have lead to the decline of the City of Detroit a key factor is the lack of green belt planning regulations in the United States. Urban Sprawl has cause the suburbs of Detroit to grow unchecked while the core rots.

Population of Detroit

1900 – 285,704

1950 – 1,849,568 (peak)

2000 – 951,270

2010 – 713,700


More Information from News Sources

PBS News Hour

Detroit News

Detroit Free Press

Wall Street Journal