America The Fallen: 24 Signs That Our Once Proud Cities Are Turning Into Poverty-Stricken Hellholes

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

What is happening to you America?  Once upon a time, the United States was a place where free enterprise thrived and the greatest cities that the world had ever seen sprouted up from coast to coast.  Good jobs were plentiful and a manufacturing boom helped fuel the rise of the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the planet.  Cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Baltimore were all teeming with economic activity and the rest of the globe looked on our economic miracle with a mixture of wonder and envy.  But now look at us.  Our once proud cities are being transformed into poverty-stricken hellholes.

Did you know that the city of Detroit once actually had the highest per-capita income in the United States?  Looking at Detroit today, it is hard to imagine that it was once one of the most prosperous cities in the world.  In fact, as you will read about later in this article, tourists now travel to Detroit from all over the globe just to see the ruins of Detroit.  Sadly, the exact same thing that is happening to Detroit is happening to cities all over America.  Detroit is just ahead of the curve.

We are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that is eating away at us like cancer, and things are going to get a lot worse than this.  So if you still live in a prosperous area of the country, don't laugh at what is happening to others.  What is happening to them will be coming to your area soon enough.

The following are 24 signs that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes...

#1 According to the New York Times, there are now approximately 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit.

#2 At this point, approximately one-third of Detroit's 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.

#3 Back during the housing bubble, an acre of land in downtown Phoenix, Arizona sold for about $90 a square foot.  Today, an acre in downtown Phoenix sells for about $9 a square foot.

#4 The city of Chicago is so strapped for cash that it is planning to close 54 public schools.  It is being estimated that Chicago schools will run a budget deficit of about a billion dollars in 2013.

#5 The city of Baltimore is already facing unfunded liabilities of more than 3.2 billion dollars, but the city government continues to pile up more debt as if it was going out of style.

#6 Today, the murder rate in East St. Louis is 17 times higher than the national average.

#7 According to USA Today, the "share of jobs located in or near a downtown declined in 91 of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas" between 2000 and 2010.

#8 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.

#9 There are more than 85,000 streetlights in Detroit, but thieves have stripped so much copper wiring out of the lights that more than half of them are not working.

#10 The unemployment rate in El Centro, California is 24.2 percent, and the unemployment rate in Yuma, Arizona is an astounding 25.6 percent.

#11 It has been estimated that there are more than 1,000 homeless people living in the massive network of flood tunnels under the city of Las Vegas.

#12 Violent crime in the city of Oakland increased by 23 percent during 2012.

#13 If you can believe it, more than 11,000 homes, cars and businesses were burglarized in Oakland during 2012.  That breaks down to approximately 33 burglaries a day.

#14 As I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago's Gang Enforcement Unit to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

#15 The number of murders in Chicago last year was roughly equivalent to the number of murders in the entire country of Japan during 2012.

#16 The murder rate in Flint, Michigan is higher than the murder rate in Baghdad.

#17 If New Orleans was considered to be a separate nation, it would have the 2nd highest murder rate on the entire planet.

#18 According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center,  Mexican drug cartels were actively operating in 50 different U.S. cities in 2006.  By 2010, that number had skyrocketed to 1,286.

#19 Back in 2007, the number of New York City residents on food stamps was about 1 million.  It is now being projected that the number of New York City residents on food stamps will pass the 2 million mark this summer.

#20 The number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.

#21 As I noted yesterday, approximately one out of every three children in the United States currently lives in a home without a father.

#22 In Miami, 45 percent of the children are living in poverty.

#23 In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of the children are living in poverty.

#24 According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

As I mentioned at the top of this article, the decline of the city of Detroit has become so famous that it has actually become a tourist attraction.  The following is a short excerpt from an article in the New York Times...

But in Detroit, the tours go on, in an unofficial capacity. One afternoon at the ruins of the 3.5-million-square-foot Packard Plant, I ran into a family from Paris. The daughter said she read about the building in Lonely Planet; her father had a camcorder hanging around his neck. Another time, while conducting my own tour for a guest, a group of German college students drove up. When queried as to the appeal of Detroit, one of them gleefully exclaimed, “I came to see the end of the world!”

For much more on the shocking decline of one of America's greatest cities, please see my previous article entitled "Bankrupt, Decaying And Nearly Dead: 24 Facts About The City Of Detroit That Will Shock You".

So are there any areas of the country that are still thriving?

Well, yes, there are a few.  In particular, those areas that are sitting on top of energy resources tend to be doing quite well for now.

One example is Texas.  In recent years people have been absolutely flocking to the state.  There are lots of energy jobs, the cost of living is low and there is no state income tax.

But overall, things are really tough out there.  Over the past decade America has lost millions of good jobs to offshoring, advancements in technology and a declining economy.

Last year, the United States had a trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than half a trillion dollars.  Overall, the U.S. has run a trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than 8 trillion dollars since 1975.

All of that money could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.  In turn, taxes would have been paid on all of that income which could have helped keep our cities great.

But instead, our politicians have stood idly by as we have lost tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs.  If you can believe it, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have closed down permanently in the United States since 2001.

We have allowed our economic infrastructure to be absolutely gutted, and so we should not be surprised that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes.

And this is just the beginning.  The next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and when it strikes unemployment in this country will eventually rise to a level that is more than double what it is now.

When that happens, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near our rotting, decaying cities.

Railroad In Milwaukee

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SheepleLOVEcheddarbaybiscuits's picture

The conditions of roads in Cleveland are worse than Baghdad. If you doubt this, just go drive on them.

Manthong's picture

The best hellhole is a legislatively decreed ”gun-free” hellhole.

James_Cole's picture

Once upon a time, the United States was a place where free enterprise thrived and the greatest cities that the world had ever seen sprouted up from coast to coast.  Good jobs were plentiful and a manufacturing boom helped fuel the rise of the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the planet. 

Please directly cite this mysterious period of time so we can put it into context.

We have allowed our economic infrastructure to be absolutely gutted, and so we should not be surprised that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes.

Neo-liberalism at work. Why hire Americans (who have constitutional rights, some labour protections etc.) when you can hire Bangladeshi workers who are forced to slave away in collapsing hell holes?

Shocker's picture

Definitely several areas have been hit hard with the "recession"

Layoff/ Business Closing List


fourchan's picture

1-50 blacks

51-99 mexicans

Pure Evil's picture

So, instead of going to Rome to see the Colosseum, or Greece to see the Acropolis, they want to come to America to see the new ruins, specifically Detroit.

algol_dog's picture

Don't know why any of this is surprising. Cities are unholy & unnatural. A plague against nature and its cyclical laws.

Mr. Magoo's picture

Spot on algol, people were not meant to be crammed into a city like sardines

mofreedom's picture

and they're full of commies until they move to iowa, from chicago, from dc/baltimore/etc to virginia, from nyc/ct to nh, from cali to God knows everywhere.  libs are like locusts, they feast off the productive.  AND we will always defend texas vs the onset of locusts, AMEN.


edit...and in detroit, they stay there and do drugs.

white_guy's picture

TX is the last stronghold.....we need to build a fence and keep the statists out, they are like moths drawn to the light...

GeorgeHayduke's picture

That would be great. It also would be great if all of you texans stayed in texas instead of coming to Colorado in the summer to clog up the roads, talk loud and just be general pains in the ass. Feel free to stay in your stronghold. The rest of us will be quite happy if you do.

white_guy's picture

that's too bad...colorado is beautiful and i always enjoy my time there....but just as I can't keep you out of tx, you can't keep me out of co.....tolerance is a two way demand it of everyone else...your post isn't showing much of it

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Who started the intolerance on this thread with their blame of everything wrong on people who aren't texans and how they are the true righteous ones who will keep out the unrighteous in their stronghold? Spare me.

I've personally found decent people across the entire political spectrum, just as I've found assholes nearly everywhere. I don't demand tolerance of anyone. I appreciate it, as do most intelligent and sane people. Just because a person isn't a narrow-minded conservative, it doesn't mean they are your stereotypical liberal strawman.

I don't try to keep anyone out of Colorado, hence I won't call it a stronghold. However, it would be nice if the self-righteous assholes stayed wherever they are. We already have enough of those religious crazies over in Colorado Springs. So, if you're not an asshole, my complaint doesn't apply.

Weisshaupt's picture
  1. Oh man, what I wouldn't give for the days when Texans showing up to vacation is Colorado was the biggest problem here. Their vacations ended. They went home. The Locusts from California came, stayed, and  Californicated Colorado.  They mess up a place, realize  its messed up, leave and do it all over again, because they are too stupid and arrogant to ever consider their polices ARE THE REASON the place they left was messed up.  They even passed gun laws here that the Country Sherrifs are refusing to implement. They all crowded into the cities, when this finally erupts in a civil war, those cities will find themselves under siege.  


alien-IQ's picture

What are you a fucking gazelle? Or do you just not like "those people" being so close to you?

Human contact is an important part of Human development. And not just contact with others that are just like you.

Variety, it was once said, is the spice of life.

zorba THE GREEK's picture

Algo...Only city dwellers would give you a down vote

The rest of us understand the unnatural environment that cities create. 

Freddie's picture

The only thing positive about Detroit is it is slowly being bulldozed and being reclaimed by nature.  It may become a open meadow someday which would be a vast improvement.

Oddly, you can go to some towns in Europe especially in northern and north central Europe that are 800 + years old and they are quite nice.   It is the people versus vermin in these shitholes in the USA.  

laomei's picture

Generally you wait till the natives are long since dead before exploring ruins.  And American buildings have rather shitty ruin-value.  It all just falls apart to nothing.

Cast Iron Skillet's picture

that's why you gotta get to 'em while they're freshly decrepit.

Jack Burton's picture

That Bangladesh factory is an Ayn Rand utopia.the workers were FREE to leave at any time, so what is the bitch. Crying over the dead, when this happened to people freely entering there willingly seeking work? This is the model we should all aspire to. It is the future.

Neo-Liberals have dreamed of this race to the bottom with wages and work conditions, their dreams are coming true.

Antifaschistische's picture

In my unnamed city, I can drive on some new boondoggle freeways and spend my time in high income neighborhoods and feel like the world is wonderful.   However, if I ever become adventurous (and I have) and decide to do something like...take common city streets 20 miles from my place to the airport...

30% of what I drive through looks like once great neighborhoods now overcome by weeds (of the plant variety) and weeds of humanity.

50% doesn't even look like freakin looks like a trip to Tijuana or Laredo. (ps..I love Mexico so don't junk me for's just a real observation)

10% looks like some soon to be failed attempt at "revitalization"

10% is just given up on and leveled

by the way, my unnamed city is at the top of the economic growth list for the entire US of A.

Dyhana's picture

somewhere in Texas by any chance?

Pure Evil's picture

I don't know what everyone is bitchin' about.

If you live anywhere near the District of Columbia everything's fine. They're building new highways, extending the HOV down to Richmond, and putting up noise barriers on both sides along every stretch of the beltway.

There's new housing construction, apartments, shopping malls, and jobs galore. And, they just finished the new eight lane Woodrow Wilson bridge across the Potomac river.

If you're willing to bow down to you're new Luciferian masters, kiss his ring, you can have it all too.

(How do I know? I've driven through D.C. at least twice a year for the past ten years.)

insanelysane's picture

You forgot to mention they have special tax breaks too.

mofreedom's picture

Bettin on san antoine...commie mayor and lots of stinkies...all from the home of you can all go to hell, i goin to tx, AMEN.

Taint Boil's picture



I'm guessing Deeeetroit .... I live near by, and yes - a war zone. Use to be big money there - not any more  ...well the demographics has changed a bit (no need to comment further).

Antifaschistische's picture

lol...yah, of course it's Houston.  My only point was.. ...make my city #100 on the list below...and fill in #25 - #99 with all the other "hellholes" around the country.


24 Signs That Our Once Proud Cities Are Turning Into Poverty-Stricken Hellholes

kchrisc's picture

To all of you out there that have gulped the government and establishment's propaganda Kool-Aide on economics, here is the deal.

Money, real or currency represents a claim on real goods and services. i.e. money just better facilitates trade of your production for that of others.

As a country's productivity goes up money prices go down including wages, but the amount of goods that one can buy with any particular salary goes up. As a result, you and everyone else are able to produce more per unit of labor and therefore trade your production for more and more variety of goods and services--lifestyles increase and labor gets CHEAPER per unit of it used.

Manufactured money, currency, enables the foreign recipients of said currency to fund capital expansion cheaply and leverage it to increase the productivity of their EXPENSIVE (low productivity) labor. Ultimately the printing country's productivity advantage is destroyed and the people of said economy are left with a huge tab and little means to produce and eliminate the debt--game over.

Just amazes me how many people KNOW that the FedRes and their puppets in gov are responsible for the economic destruction of the American economy and its people but still blame foreign workers.

To paraphrase Carlin, "It's not the Kim or Juan, it's the printed money folks!" And the strangulation of American industry via extractive taxes and regulations have not helped matters either. hujel


The Second Rule's picture

What is happening to you America?

We grows tired of having to  make the same argument over and over.  Remember the peak oil crowd? Yeah, those guys. The ones of whom I am a proud card-carrying member. The ones who desparately tried to warn you that this was precisely what was going to happen once the black gold ran out. Remember those guys? Well I do. And I remember the Road Warrior....sorry drifted off there for a sec. I remember them telling you that western civilization would fall apart once the precious stopped flowing. So please, enough with the feigned ignorance. You're not fooling anyone.

BTW, that line from DUNE: "The spice must flow." Substitute oil for spice and it works just as well. Without it all the houses will fall.

zerozulu's picture

How long a country can thrive on stolen resources from defenseless Mideasterns on gunpoint?

PGR88's picture

Or, just bring the workers from their hell-holes to the United States, so they can work for less here.  Then subsidize corporations by giving these workers Foodstamps, welfare, tuition assistance, housing, etc...

Send the jobs overseas for low paid workers, or bring the low-paid workers here.

Either way, its off-shoring.

draug's picture

The Depression will not be televised.

Tango in the Blight's picture

No breadlines thanks to EBT cards.

SeattleBruce's picture

Nor will it be whispered about, or even thought about by anyone within TPTB or their mouthpieces.  In fact, quite the opposite, stories of a burgeoning and quickening economy, a housing 'recovery' and the 'who cares about debt loads' economic analyses from the likes of Paul Krugman and Jim Cramer will fill the airwaves and mainstream internet sites.  Our own version of Pravda, in all it's ignominy.

knukles's picture

Oh not to worry.
Our (and no leftie rightie arguments here, neither are worth a shit but one rules at the moment and thus catches the flack) Noble Leaders will Ensure that Events such as the In the Name of Social Justice for All, a New and Improved Immigration Policy will Ensure a Massive Wave of Newly Registered Democratic Voters so as to GuaranFuckingTee that the Socialist Redistributive Onerous Anti-social Policies which Created this fucking Mess Beginning with FDR and Forwarded in LBJ's times now Furthered in the Present will Accelerate Said Decline of Empire

The Great Redistribution of Squalor

And no, don't even get me going on the righties, the Fed, etc., etc., etc...

GeezerGeek's picture

As they once said back in the USSR, there is no Isvestia in Pravda.

KickIce's picture

Maybe even is not being televised?

The Second Rule's picture

Oh yeah it will. GSH was dead wrong about that. You'll be able to watch the riots, the diasporas, the wars LIVE on CNN. Fuck yes it will be televised.

Jeremy Roenick's picture

This looks like a job for....   Snake Plissken!




ThaBigPerm's picture

Bring an FJ Cruiser.  With a spare.

de3de8's picture

Only a Raptor would hold up.