Friday, September 30, 2016

The Consequences of America's Shrinking Cities and States

Americans are on the move. They're leaving various cities and states to avoid high taxes, crime, high costs of living, and to seek better jobs; or, to simply retire.  The downside to this is potential bankruptcies as the tax bases shrink; leaving cities and states with expensive pensions and other commitments that are left over from a time when populations were much higher.

This was certainly the case in the now-bankrupt Detroit.  In 1950, that city's population was 1.8 million. By 2013, it had only 700,000 residents.  But, Detroit's problems -- as the largest city in Michigan -- are taking that state along with it.  Right now, Michigan is on the verge of losing one of it's  Congressional seats due to it's slowing growth.  As a state with nearly 10 million residents, the population increased by only 6,270 from 2014 to 2015; according to the Census Bureau. 

Illinois is in a similar "state" of affairs.  It, too, is close to losing a Congressional seat to some other faster growing states like Texas.  Key to the loss there, is the fact that its largest city, Chicago, is shrinking in size.  New York state is also losing people, but in its case, many of those leaving are high end earners.  Even the weather-desirable California is seeing its population growth slowing.  The fact is that 8 states have growth rates of less than 1/2 of a percent and well below the inflation rates for running the state's expenses.

We are getting very close to an actual bankruptcy of the entire State of Michigan, and not just a single city like Detroit.  Not far behind are Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Youngstown, Ohio who have all seen losses greater than 50% from their peak populations.  The list of all the cities (see references) that have lost populations is substantial.  As a result, people located in those areas are bound to see higher taxes as the legislatures try to cope with increased costs and a lower tax base.  Raising taxes would only cause even more people to leave.  This is a serious spiral that America cannot afford.  The city/states that are effected need to rethink ways to restore population without raising taxes or we will all wind up paying higher taxes to bail them out.


The Incredible Shrinking Illinois:

Chicago area sees greatest population loss of any major U.S. city, region in 2015:

Taxpayers are fleeing New York in droves:

The Decline of Detroit:

Mich. population rebound is slowing, census shows:

Once a boom state, California sees a historic period of slow population growth:

Warning: New Jersey in Midst of Millennial Outmigration:

New Jersey Herald: Time to address population loss:

List of U.S. states by population growth rate:

Shrinking cities in the United States:

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