Monday, August 20, 2012

Flint Postcards: The Flint River at Sunset

An old postcard of Flint or a glimpse of the future? If the demographic trends continue, what will Flint be like when almost no one lives there. Flint has lost five residents a day since 1960. And six a day since 2000. If that trend holds, Flint will be down to about 80,000 by 2020. But who says a smaller Flint won't equal a better Flint?


  1. Gordie, you've hit on a very good thought, what will the Flint of 60K or 40K look like. It would be interesting to study this, to see what the different neighborhoods morph into at each population level. How will the city fathers deal with police and fire protection over a patch work of population clusters or will we see condensing and demolition? What will the business community look like at 40K? Will Flint residents travel out of town for many of their goods and services? Will crime taper off as victims / customers dwindle? Out of respect to the decent people who still reside in my old neighborhood, I resist making the easy comments about drugs and crime. I know it is tough for someone who wants to stay there and make it all work.

  2. Obviously a significant percentage of the wealth coming into the City of Flint is due to government transfers...SS/M, various government-funded payments and social services targeted to the poor, school funding, etc. I think it's clear that Flint gains more in this manner than it pays out in taxes.

    It seems fairly certain to me that there won't be significant contractions of SS/M for at least the next eight years, even though funds are progressively running out. Payments and social services targeted to the poor, on the other hand, are much more exposed as the national economic environment continues to fail to recover.

    Even relatively minor changes to this City of Flint income source could have dramatic effects on the City's demographics, particularly in poorer areas.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at