Camden, New Jersey: One Of Hundreds Of U.S. Cities That Are Turning Into Rotting, Decaying Hellholes

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

All over America, formerly prosperous communities are being transformed into crime-infested wastelands of poverty and despair.  Of course the most famous example of this is Detroit.  At one time, Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city that the world had ever seen and it had the highest per capita income in the entire country.  But now it has become a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the planet laughs at.  And of course Detroit is far from alone.  There are hundreds of other U.S. cities that are suffering a similar fate.  In this article, the focus is going to be on Camden, New Jersey, but the truth is that there are lots of other "Detroits" and "Camdens" all over the nation.  Jobs and businesses are leaving our cities at a staggering rate, and what is being left behind is poverty, crime and extreme desperation.

Earlier this month, Rolling Stone published an article that took a hard look at the nightmare conditions that exist in Camden.  A city that once made Campbell's soup and some of this nation's most famous warships is now a national disgrace.  The following are six of the best quotes out of that article...

-"In September, its last supermarket closed, and the city has been declared a "food desert" by the USDA. The place is literally dying, its population having plummeted from above 120,000 in the Fifties to less than 80,000 today."


-"Their home is a city with thousands of abandoned houses but no money to demolish them, leaving whole blocks full of Ninth Ward-style wreckage to gather waste and rats."


-"With legal business mostly gone, illegal business took hold. Those hundreds of industries have been replaced by about 175 open-air drug markets, through which some quarter of a billion dollars in dope moves every year."


-"On January 18th, 2011, the city laid off 168 of its 368 police officers, kicking off a dramatic, years-long, cops-versus-locals, house-to-house battle over a few square miles of North American territory that should have been national news, but has not been, likely because it took place in an isolated black and Hispanic ghost town."


-"After the 2011 layoffs, police went into almost total retreat. Drug dealers cheerfully gave interviews to local reporters while slinging in broad daylight."


-"The carnage left Camden's crime rate on par with places like Haiti after its 2010 earthquake, and with other infamous Third World hot spots, as police officials later noticed to their dismay when they studied U.N. statistics."

You can read the rest of the article right here.  But as bad as things have become in Camden, this should not be a surprise to most of you.  The reality is that this kind of rot and decay is happening in communities all over the United States.

Over in Detroit, crime has gotten so bad that even the police are telling people to "enter Detroit at your own risk".  When you call the police in Detroit it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond, and more than 90 percent of the crimes committed in the city end up as unsolved mysteries.

At this point, 60 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty, and there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

For much more on all this, check out the statistics in this article, and you can find some great photos of the "ruins of Detroit" right here.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, there are lots of factors involved of course, but the biggest one is the lack of good jobs in these cities.

At one time, Detroit had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the entire nation.  But now those days are long gone.

And what is happening to Detroit is precisely what is happening to America as a whole.  Our good jobs are disappearing and the middle class is being systematically destroyed.

In order to have a middle class, you have got to have middle class jobs.

There is no way around that.

And right now, hordes of young people are graduating from college and discovering that the middle class jobs that they were promised simply are not there.

CNN recently profiled a 37-year-old college graduate named Bobby Bingham.  Because he cannot find a good job, he is forced to work four low paying jobs...

Bobby Bingham works four jobs in Kansas City, Missouri, yet he has very little to show for it.

Bingham is 37 years old and has a college degree, but like many Americans, is stuck working many hours in low wage, part-time jobs.

Each week, he works a total of about 60 hours in his jobs as a massage therapist, a waiter at a Mexican restaurant, a delivery man for sandwich chain Jimmy John's and a receptionist at his massage school.

Bingham makes approximately $400 a week, which works out to about $20,000 a year.  He has come to the conclusion that he may never be able to make enough to support a family...

"I've come to the point in my life where I wonder if I can ever support a family," he said. "I have no idea how that's ever going to logically happen."

That deeply saddened my heart when I read that.  Here is a young man that wants to get married, have a family and do all the right things, but the economy is so bad that he fears that this may never be possible for him.

As I have written about previously, the economic downturn that we are experiencing right now has hit men particularly hard.  The number of men in their prime working years that do not make enough money to support a family is rising with each passing year, and this is causing massive problems in this country.

And when our politicians proclaim that all we need is "more education", I feel like vomiting.  The U.S. population as a whole has more "education" today than it ever has had before.

If you think that "more education" is the answer, then check out the following excerpt from a recent interview with a law school graduate that is making about $40,000 a year and that has about $200,000 in law school debt...

Yes, it's extremely hard to get by. I can't afford rent or a car and can barely afford food. Anything extra like enjoying myself with friends, going to a movie, traveling, etc. — that's all out the window for the foreseeable future and possibly for the rest of my life thanks to law school. I live with my parents. I don't have a car. I don't go out to socialize. I don't date. I don't buy new clothes. I don't buy electronics. I don't buy much of anything. I spend my free time working other jobs to put more money toward my debt. I do contract work for other lawyers, but the pay is very low and payment is sporadic.

Why did this happen to him?  Well, the truth is that there are way, way too many law school graduates.  There are not nearly enough good jobs for all of them.  In fact, this particular law school graduate deeply regrets ever going to law school and considers it "an extraordinary waste of money"...

I consider law school a waste of my life and an extraordinary waste of money. I feel like I was duped and tricked. At the end of the day, it's my own fault for being a sucker and I learned an extremely hard lesson. Because I went to law school, I don't see myself having a family, earning a comfortable wage, or having an enjoyable lifestyle.

But at least he has a job.  There are millions of college graduates that do not.  And there are hundreds of thousands of other college graduates that are currently working as waiters and waitresses.  Large numbers are also working temp jobs or standing behind registers in retail stores.

Over the past decade, tens of thousands of businesses and millions of good jobs have left this country.  The quality of the jobs that remain continues to decline at a frightening pace, and most of the new jobs that are being "created" these days are part-time jobs.

But you won't hear the mainstream media or our most prominent politicians talk about these things much.  You won't hear them talk about the fact that median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row or about the fact that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

The middle class is dying.

Wake up America.

And even as millions of our jobs have been shipped to the other side of the planet, some of the most prominent "American companies" have been bought up by foreigners.  The following list comes from a recent Economy In Crisis article...


Here are some of America’s most famous brands currently held in foreign hands:

  • Budweiser, now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V., which is based in Leuven, Belgium
  • Alka-Seltzer, now owned by German company Bayer Schering Pharma AG
  • Ben & Jerrys, now owned by British-Dutch Unilever
  • AMC theaters, now owned by the Chinese
  • 7-Eleven, now owned by the Japanese company, Seven & I Holdings
  • Woman’s Day Magazine, now owned by the French company,  Hachette Filipacchi Médias, S.A
  • Purina, now owned by the Swiss company, Nestle
  • Gerber, now owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Novartis
  • Firestone, now owned by the Japanese Bridgestone Corporation
  • Citgo, now owned by the government of Venezuela
  • French’s Mustard, now owned by Reckitt Benckiser, a British conglomerate
  • Frigidaire, now owned by Sweden’s AB Electrolux
  • The Plaza Hotel in New York City, now owned by Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva’s El-Ad Group
  • Trader Joes, now owned by German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht
  • Dial soap, now owned by Henkel KGaA, based in Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Sunglass Hut, now owned by Italian eyewear seller Luxottica Group


Are you starting to get the picture?

Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted and more than 46 million Americans are now living in poverty.

And if you are waiting for the jokers in Washington D.C. to fix things, you are going to be waiting for a very, very long time.

Over the past several years, both the Democrats and the Republicans have proven again and again that they are basically completely and totally useless.  In fact, just about everything that they try to do actually makes our problems even worse.

In just a few days, Barack Obama leaves for a 17 day holiday vacation in Hawaii.  Many have criticized him and the members of Congress for taking so much time off, but perhaps that is the best thing that they can do at this point.  As long as they are away from Washington D.C., at least they won't be making things even worse for all the rest of us.

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algol_dog's picture

I have a solution for all who live in these fucked up locations. Just Move!

ACP's picture

The article didn't have to say Camden, New Jersey. Just New Jersey.

El Tuco's picture

We're going to send you to the worst fucking place imaginable!


Where Hell?


No a place even worse then that...New Jersey....


Stackers's picture

Fuck Bobby Bingham

he finally graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from University of Missouri, Kansas City.


Another moron with a degree in art history that took 12 years of being a "full time student" and now moans that he has no job skills to sell for decent wages

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Ya it's my dream job to go sit in the park and paint trees all day too, and make you pay me for them. Even though no one wants what I produce, you should still pay me for my work!!!! Because it's my dream!!!!!!!

Pig Circus's picture


Ya it's my dream job to go sit in the park and paint trees all day too,

That's subsidized by many governments. You want a laugh read this:

ACP's picture

Agreed. Basically he's saying "I fucked up and now I want someone else to pay for it."

AldousHuxley's picture

just like bankers took the comissions on Alt-A liar loan mortgages and university staff took the money and now blaming kids


kids are now paying the debt off, but what about the institutions that failed? 


Solution is to eliminate bottom half of "universities" which just suck up tax deductions and redistribute to middle of nowhere towns.


blackbeardz's picture

THATS A COMPLAINT, not a solution to the dwindling midle class bucko. nice try though, u must be a politician.


clymer's picture

Hey Michael - I just read your book on Kindle. Jeeesh, was that cheezy.

..just sayin


(love you man)

czardas's picture

Basically he's saying "I fucked up and now I want someone else to pay for it."   It's like the sub-prime folks who whined they had no idea that buying a home with 1% down and interest rates half of the going prime was anything out of the ordinary.   As one woman interviewe for our morning paper said, "We could afford it back then."  She and hubby had income in the "good six figure range" and had no savings so she lost her "dream" home. 

mkkby's picture

"So why is all of this happening?

Well, there are lots of factors involved of course, but the biggest one is the lack of good jobs in these cities."

Obviously one of those good jobs is being a cop.  58 minute response???  They don't even bother trying to put down the donut and help someone.

Lay off EVERY ONE OF THE FUCKERS and replace them with privatized cops.  Half the cost without the 20 year full pension scam, plus maybe they'll even try to help a person in distress.

mkkby's picture

Hello 911 -- I'm being raped. 

Answer -- Pour him a drink and tell him to stay for seconds...  We'll be there in an hour.

flacon's picture

I lived in New Jersey for 6 years, not too far from Camden. I'd say anything along Route 130 is a hell hole, Palmyra, Cinnaminson, Camden, Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, Pennsauken... it all sucks, but Camden definitely takes the cake. 

ToNYC's picture

" all sucks, but Camden definitely takes the cake. "

Urinal cake?

booboo's picture

a girl once asked me to kiss her where it stinks so I drove her to Camden.

flacon's picture

Not a bad choice. The other one is 'Fishtown' Philadelphia across from the septic plant. 

NoDebt's picture

Flacon- you hit the nail on the head with the towns along Rt. 130.  They're all dead.

Medco has a facility in that area (Willingboro).  I used to go there often- they were my client.  It's one of their 3 huge "automated mail-order pharmacies" in the US (Vegas and Indy being the other two main locations).  Big facility, no sign out front.  Just a big, nondesctript building with no windows.  Employs thousands from the local area.  I used to play a game where I would count how many of the cars had visible bullet holes in their body panels as I walked in and out of the facility.

And they were the lucky ones who had jobs there.

100 ft. off the property is basically a demilitarized zone.

hungrydweller's picture

When the real collapse finally comes this is where it will be most real.  Look for military forces to be deployed across the NE seaboard.  The Midwest and West still have (excepting the clueless coastal Californians) a sense of self worth and self reliance.

AngelEyes00's picture

hungrydweller, maybe it's been a while since you've been to CA.  It's thriving!  Sure, in 08/09 there were a lot of real estate reposessions and bankrupt companies, but it has pieced itself back together again.  The malls, sporting events, you name it, it's jammed with people shelling out money for anything and everything.  The roads are packed with traffic (yech) again.

CA is like it's own country.  We set our own rules and for whatever reason it works.  At least until the USD hyperventilates and we all suffer the consequences, but for now it's party on.

IREN Colorado's picture

"CA is like it's own country.  We set our own rules and for whatever reason it works."

As long as the rest of the country covers the tab for your really cool rules! With 12% of the nation's population you have over 34% of the welfare recipients. You have more crime, more illegal immigration, more destruction of private property rights. The list of your dysfunctions is endless. IF we cut California, New York, and New Joiseee off the tit of the rest of US we could balance our budget and you all can just stay in your hell holes. 

Aparently "it works" for you. So you have that going for you at the malls and sporting events....


ronaldawg's picture

But other than Richmond, we really don't have this type of decay in California.  No drug marts or evenrostitution on the streets in SoCal.

piliage's picture

Well, hate to piss on your joy parade, but my father will be one of the list of 100,000 entrepeneurs and growing who is moving his business out of California this year. Orange County California was the birthplace of the global aviation engineering/aerospace sector. Now, it is a scene out of mike judge's idiocracy.

...but the weather sure as hell is nice.

AldousHuxley's picture

warm weather makes people lazy and live for today as they don't have to worry about storing for winter


go to any country, most times northern states have education and industry while southern places have tourism and agriculture.


on idiocracy, sorry to say it applies to ALL of USA.

Headbanger's picture

That has to be one of the most intelligent posts I've read here by someone who understands human nature and isn't blaming everything on the elites.

SilverRhino's picture

Funny but Texas is an exception to that rule.   I think you can correct that with harsh environments produce more and/or stronger people. 

czardas's picture

North vs South efficiency.  It's a matter of human evolutionary biology.  In one study, Pakistanis were over twice as productive in the UK as in Pakistan doing the exact same job.  The difference?  The tremendous work required for the body to stay cool.  It's one of the better explanations as to why the Industrial Revolution happened in the UK & Scotland vs Arabia or China or Africa.  It also explains the mechancially-oriented cold folks vs agrarian warm folks. The answers are there is we know where to look. 

Kobe Beef's picture

Human bio-diversity is real. Just not in the way the multikult has conditioned people to believe.

Different gene pools code for different physical attributes, different cognitive capacities, different behavior, and ultimately, different societies based on the aggregate contributions of those pools' members.

You don't have to have an advanced degree in biology. You don't even have to leave the USSA. Just look.

Chinatown looks like China, because that's what Chinese people make.

Camden looks like Africa, because that's what African people make.

Chinatown isn't Chinatown because of "White Privilege", discrimination, or da terrble, terrble, legacy of slabery. Neither is Camden.

Canoe Driver's picture

Imbecile, California has jumped, once again, head-first into the debt-hole, because the people there fell for the government BS that the economy is recovering (again), so get "it" while you can, at low interest rates, and pay for it later with the money you will make in the inflationary boom. This is not to mention what is happening to the Pacific, now a poisonous, increasingly radioactive plastic depository.  I can believe that's your idea of "thriving," but you are obviously a booger-eater.

kareninca's picture

I can't believe that I just up-arrowed someone who called someone else a booger-eater.  But I did.  Because it was apt.

Freddie's picture

Well brother - let's not sell out some of are east coast brothers who may be more rural.  Those boys have quite a few hunters in their midst. Many have scoped .308 too.  Pennsylvania could probably kick most countries asses with 943,000 hunters and 786,000 CCW licenses.

PA 943,000 licensed hunters

NY 700,000 + hunters  (yes that NY)

Michigan 700,000

Wisconsin 600,000

Texas is over 500,000

Here is the CCW counts by state:

Alabama 350,000

Conn 176,000 (yes that Conn)

Florida 1.15 million but it is probably closer to 1.2 millon by now

GA 600,000

Ohio 323,000

PA 786,000

TN 449,000 (small state too)

Check the numbers you will be surprised.  WV 92,000.


dunce's picture

Philadelphia must have several hundred thousand predator/democrats. These formerly nice places to live and "work" had mostly white populations. There is a tipping point where regular social mobility becomes white flight leaving their agressive neighbhors to prey on each other.

dunce's picture

Philadelphia must have several hundred thousand predator/democrats. These formerly nice places to live and "work" had mostly white populations. There is a tipping point where regular social mobility becomes white flight leaving their agressive neighbhors to prey on each other.

NoDebt's picture

Philadelphia is a one party town.  Chicago's got nothing on Philly when it come to graft and corruption.

Headbanger's picture

.308 is a good round for hunting dear in more wooded areas where it's rare to have a 300 yard shot.  But it's still medium power.

270 has a nice flat trajectory but gets expensive to shoot.  I'm liking my 8mm Mauser more (now that it's bedded and tuned in a newer stock)cause the ammo isn't that costly.. yet

But for more urban environments I'd go with either the AR in .556 or the VZ-58 in 7.62x39.  Although there is an AR in 7.62

So many guns. So little time.. and money

SilverRhino's picture

8mm (7.92mm / .323) 198gr or 150gr is pretty brutal on unarmored targets.    It's the father of the 30-06 (my own favorite) as well.



Anusocracy's picture

Detroit, Camden, whatever the name, the Government Reaper's touch is bringing desolation to the land.

It destroys livelihoods and lives, and yet the fools ask for more.

AldousHuxley's picture

big government is a symptom of a decaying economy not the cause.

owners of industry turn to government to protect their unprofitable operations and government passes all unfavorable laws as long as they protect the asset values of the largest donors.


wall st. put money on hillary, UAW/GM put money on obama


government  has to be liberal because in the absence of liberalism that municipality would be unlivable due to various reasons.


czardas's picture

Great points andn so true about the symptom/cause.   Liberalism as a cover for failure is analogous to the phenomenon of "people of color" overwhelming supporting Obama despite having fared worse under him than any other president.  Or Arab nations bashing Israel to cover for famines, high prices and lack of opportunity.  Or Congress "saving" folks from medical bankruptcy even as they push debt to $20T. 

Anusocracy's picture

You are looking at the symptoms. Government created the corporations, laws, and economic conditions. You have it completely ass-backwards.

The first cause is government - always has been.

Kobe Beef's picture

Government is made of people. People are made by genes. The first cause is genes. Always has been.

fallout11's picture

Right you are. Crony capitalism at its finest, private profits/public loses, barriers to entry, weilding "enforcement" and coersion to maintain profitability and extract economic rents.

Wahooo's picture

Why is it okay for big banks to fail, but not okay for big cities to fail?  Let 'em die. MOAR rebirth.

mjk0259's picture

How high can you count?

130 is still mostly farms and woods by NJ standards. I live at the other end and it's one of the most expensive parts of the country.


Canoe Driver's picture

All on ZH: Next time you're on the morning evac detail, flush twice, 'cause it's a long way to mjk's house. 

Colonel Klink's picture

Apparently they'll take anything they can get to eat.

Let them eat urinal cake. -The Obamas

n8dawg84's picture

That's my stomping ground, born and raised. Can't take to much exception with the remark, tho. Yeah, that about sums it up.

kchrisc's picture

I lived in NJ as a teenager. I actually enjoyed it. Got the hell out of dodge as soon as I became an adult though.

Anyways, it was there that I first saw what blacks could do to a community. It was one thing to see it in Philly, Camden and Trenton, but Willingboro was a shock.

Willingboro was/is a kind of edge city that the blacks just decimated. Two kids I knew moved there during middle school. One was black and the other white. They were both racially tormented to no end. The black for not being like them--too uncle Tom. The white for being a "honky." Big eye opener.


The question: "Name one town, city or community in the US that is predominantly black and not a cesspool?!"


Freddie's picture

Tyler mentioned:

Trader Joes, now owned by German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht

Trader Joes before it was bought by the Albrechts aka Aldi was a fairly small regional chain in Calif.   They improved the chain and it has a cult following plus they are growing nationwide.

A relative goes to their local one all the time.  They asked the employees if they like that company and said they reated the employees well plus they had good benefits.

mjk0259's picture

Right on topic as always. Surely if Trader Joe's is good, it's because they have no unions - no?