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How Have the Economy and Crime Affected the Population of Detroit?

Detroit, Michigan, is world famous as the "Motor City" and the former home of Motown Records. But despite Detroit's iconic status in American history, "Hitsville U.S.A." has seen a declining population in the past few decades. Since 1950, the city has lost more than half its population, from a high of 1.8 million in 1950 to about 688,000 in 2015. This decline is frequently attributed to the loss of jobs, which has resulted in a depressed local economy and a high crime rate.

According to Forbes.com, the city currently has only 20,000 workers employed in manufacturing jobs, whereas in 1950, the number was closer to 200,000. Only two major factories remain in the city. Unfortunately, lower employment rates frequently result in higher crime, and Detroit has the highest violent crime rate of any major U.S. city. A recent citywide survey determined that about 70 percent of the city's crime is drug-related. Detroit's crime centers are also concentrated in specific areas, rather than being spread across town.

Other facts about Detroit:

  • The Detroit Institute of Arts has one of the most significant municipal art collections in the United States. Among the treasures in the collection are pieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

  • Detroit is one of the few large U.S. cities without any kind of light rail system. However, the city has received a $25 million federal grant to built a streetcar line.

  • In spite of the population downturn, Detroit's professional sports teams still see good attendance levels. The Detroit Tigers baseball team regularly sells over 90 percent of its seats for home games every season.

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