McNair Scholars Research Journal


At its population peak in the 1950’s, Detroit, Michigan was inhabited by almost two million residents and served as the car capital of the country. Today, however, the population has dropped by more than fifty percent. With the loss of Detroit residents to surrounding cities and counties, the wedge between Detroit and the suburbs has grown wider. Detroit, once considered the crown jewel of the state of Michigan, is now treated as an immovable stain by its surrounding municipalities. What this means for the metro Detroit area is a high level of governmental fragmentation, preventing economic opportunities for both the city and its suburbs. This is especially unfortunate for the economy of the metro Detroit area because of the current economic crisis in the state of Michigan. With the state’s long tradition of home rule and pride in autonomous, municipal decision-making, municipalities in the metro Detroit area might better realize economic opportunities and the relief they can bring to their own local economies by not only collaborating with the city of Detroit, but with neighboring cities as well.