Deindustrialization in the Rust Belt Essay

Excerpt from Essay :


When an urban area undergoes deindustrialization there are several things that happen to the urban and social geography. In general, there is often a transition from an industrial economy to a service economy, which has significant socioeconomic implications. While it has been argued that deindustrialization has done little to change the basic disparities between core and periphery in the global economy, this argument is not entirely true. While it is true that industrialized nations have mostly been able to transition to a post-industrial economy, there has also been a transfer of wealth from those nations to newly-industrialized nations. Real wages in many Western nations have stagnated, while they are increasing rapidly in many parts of the developing world, reducing disparities.

It should also be noted that deindustrialization and the move to the service economy is not necessarily done on even terms geographically. Some formerly-industrialized areas have struggled with this transition. Russo and Linkon (no date) note that in many former industrial areas, the service economy has been slow to grow, resulting in urban decay, a reduction of the tax base, and declining populations. The areas of the country that are seeing economic and population growth have tended to be those that were less industrialized before, and they are now attracting talented people to immigrant, not just from around the world but from around the formerly industrialized areas of the U.S. As well. Hobor (2012) notes, however, that some formerly industrialized cities have maintained stability through their transition to service-based economies, others have essentially become 'devastated', characterized by economic loss, population loss and a struggle to find relevance in the post-industrial economy.


Detroit has struggled in particular, and there is little doubt that Hobor (2012) would classify Detroit as a 'devastated' city. Detroit was the largest city in the Rust Belt, and the most economically important given its critical role as the hub of the auto industry. The city has seen massive population decline (from 1.8 million to under 700,000), leaving many areas of the city empty, and devastating the city's tax base. Detroit is still a large metropolitan area, as much of the population and wealth has shifted to suburban areas. The impact on the citizens of Detroit -- those who remain, anyway, has been substantial. The decline of industry took many jobs and led to population decline. The loss of both business and population caused a decline…

Sources Used in Document:


Bluestone, B. (2013). Detroit and deindustrialization. Dollars & Sense. Retrieved November 10, 2014 from

Hobor, G. (2012). Surviving the era of deindustrialization: The new economic geography of the urban Rust Belt. Journal of Urban Affairs. Vol. 35 (4) 417-434.

Russo, J. & Linkon, S. (no date). The social costs of deindustrialization. Youngstown State University.

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