Any visitor to Detroit can tell the city is wasting away, with vast swaths of empty lots and dilapidated houses across the once-proud metropolis. But new data from the 2010 Census makes it official: The population of the Motor City has plummeted to its lowest point in 100 years. The city lost one-fourth of its residents, about 237,500 people, in the last 10 years — which amounts to about one person every 22 minutes. At this astonishing rate of decline, can Detroit really hope to exist for much longer?
Detroit is doomed: How can Detroit hope to recover from this? asks Douglas A. MacIntyre at 24/7 Wall St. It has almost no tax base, few social services, a threadbare infrastructure, and "no enticements to bring new businesses back to town." It would cost "tens of billions of dollars" to help Detroit — money that the federal government is unable and unwilling to spend. "The city's wastelands will never go away." In time, they may be all that's left.
"As Detroit dies, solutions disappear"
Detroit can survive as a smaller city: There is a solution to Detroit's plight, says an editorial in the Detroit Free Press. We must convince residents to move to areas "that still have solid population bases," produce a "credible plan to abandon the infrastructure in other areas," and give them up to farmland. We are a "fundamentally changed city" now. Time to start acting like one.
"A smaller, stronger Detroit"
Other cities have recovered from disaster: Look on the bright side, says Laura Parker at AOL News. Although Detroit's recovery may "face long odds," cities have bounced back before. Pittsburgh, for example, has reinvented itself as a "healthcare and high technology hub" since the steel industry collapsed. If it can attract a replacement to the depleted auto industry, Detroit could have a future yet.
"Can anything be done to help cities like Detroit?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- 10 things you need to know today: August 29, 2014
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
Subscribe to the Week