In the booming post-Second World War era, Detroit was America's fifth-largest city.
Today, it ranks 18th.
In addition to a sharp population decline, it suffers from high unemployment related to a loss of businesses, a flood of home foreclosures and a cut in state funding.
That has led to shriveling revenue, leaving the city unable to afford a workforce of more than 10,000 and the surging health and pension costs that go with them and with its retirees. As a result, credit ratings on Detroit's approximately $8.2 billion of outstanding debt have sunk deeper into junk territory.
The city's labor costs, including health care and pensions, are shrinking in absolute terms but rising as a share of the budget. They are slated to drop to $968 million, or nearly 49.5 percent of the operating budget, in the fiscal year ending June 30 versus $1.14 billion, or 45.5 percent, a year earlier.
Signs of decline are everywhere - in a rising crime rate, streets without lights and block after block of abandoned buildings. The murder rate of one per 1,719 people last year was more than 11 times the rate in New York City. The jobless rate is above 18 percent, more than twice rate for the country as a whole.
Image: Vacant and blighted homes are seen in a once vibrant east side neighborhood in Detroit in this January 27, 2013 photo.