As a city once known for being the heart of the automotive industry, Detroit has slowly dwindled into a state of poverty; many factors contribute to it being one of the most poorest cities in the nation. Detroit was once crowned as “Motor City” of America for its economic boom of the automobile industry during the 1900’s. Reasons for its decline in poverty can be factored with suburban housing, race, corruption and capital flight in the 1950’s, but nowadays Detroit has slowly been able to drop in poverty rate.
To understand how Detroit became in a state of constant poverty it is important to know how Detroit came to be. It started as a small town, but grew to be a powerhouse for the auto industry. Its rapid growth would stimulate a workforce that would impact the city’s future development. It become “home to the highest-paid blue-collar workers in the United States” (Jones 57).
When WWII started, the need for industrialized jobs skyrocketed giving African Americans and white people alike work. As more people came in, Detroit had reached its geographical limits pertaining all of its residents living in the suburbs. “Between 1947 and 1977, the manufacturing employment fell from 338,000 to 153,000 and the African American population rose from 300,000 in 1950 to 759,000 in 1980” (Jones 52).In the 1950’s, people lost their jobs because of technological automations, taxation policies, and a newly introduced highway system that cut through populated black neighborhoods. Factors such as “central city residence, race,and joblessness” (Jones 57) led to Detroit’s poverty.
As big as those factors may be, many other problems were met when looking at the decline of Detroit. Other factors that led to Detroit’s demise consisted of other minor things like neighborhoods and abandonment. The creation of the highway system made Detroit, “notable among large U.S. cities for having very poorly defined neighborhoods” (Saunders). After its subsequent loss of economic growth and stability, the number of businesses and houses fell as “Detroit had more than its share of abandoned ruins that negatively impact housing prices.
But it also has many more homes that simply do not generate the demand that higher quality housing would” (Saunders). Detroit’s decline has been going on for a while and its inability to establish a create a built environment is to blame. As it built an empire off the auto industry, political and business leaders took to using their power and let the booming economy take care of itself. Although it may seem as Detroit is completely lost, there is still chance for it function once more. As of today, the Detroit Poverty rate has gone down. The estimates done in a census show that “Detroit’s 2016 poverty rate of 35.
7 percent was down from nearly 40 percent the year before…” (Williams). The economy for Detroit is still bad, but is slowly becoming better as more jobs are becoming available. “A number of tech-based companies have moved operations and employees into Detroit’s resurgent downtown over the past few years. Hundreds of other jobs have been created by manufacturing firms” (Williams). The Urban Crisis of Detroit is still alive today and the remnants of a once booming city still remain. The efforts to rebuild Detroit are slow, but the research done shows that residents are making enough to get by. The mistakes of Detroit’s economy are of the past as employment is rising and economic tensions are down.