This Michigan City is the ‘Neediest’ City in America

Detroit, the largest city in Michigan and once the thriving center of the auto industry, confronts a harsh reality: it has been identified as the neediest city in the nation, as per a recent study conducted by WalletHub.

This study analyzed 182 cities based on two crucial dimensions: economic well-being and health & safety. It assessed them using 27 indicators, including the poverty rate, unemployment rate, food insecurity rate, homelessness rate, crime rate, and suicide rate.

Detroit performed unfavorably across almost all these indicators, claiming the top spot in economic need and ranking fifth in terms of health and safety needs.

Economic Challenges

Detroit’s economic challenges are evident in its staggering unemployment rate, the highest in the nation at 8.3%. The city also grapples with the second-highest adult poverty rate and the third-highest child poverty rate nationwide, with over a quarter of adults and nearly half of children residing below the poverty line.

Additionally, Detroit faces a high foreclosure rate, a low median household income, and a significant number of homes lacking adequate plumbing. These economic struggles are linked to the decline of the auto industry, which was once the primary source of employment and income for many residents.

Mismanagement, corruption, and bankruptcy further compounded the city’s economic woes, resulting in a decline in population, tax revenue, and public services. Despite efforts to revitalize the economy by attracting new businesses, investors, and tourists, progress has been slow and uneven, leaving many residents still grappling with financial hardships.

Health and Safety Concerns

Detroit’s health and safety challenges are underscored by its high crime rate, the second-highest for violent crime in the nation and one of the highest overall. The city’s reputation for being dangerous and unsafe discourages people from living, working, or visiting.

Additionally, Detroit contends with a high suicide rate, a substantial uninsured rate, and a notable percentage of adults unable to afford necessary medical care. These indicators point to the mental and physical health challenges faced by the city’s residents, exacerbated by a lack of access to quality healthcare.

The city’s health and safety issues are intertwined with its economic struggles, as poverty, unemployment, and homelessness elevate the risks of crime, violence, and health problems. Insufficient resources, infrastructure, and personnel further hinder the city’s ability to address these challenges, with police, fire, and emergency services facing understaffing and underfunding. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified the city’s health and safety needs.


Detroit emerges as the most needy city in America, as highlighted by WalletHub’s recent study. Struggling on both economic and health and safety fronts, the city grapples with high rates of poverty, unemployment, crime, and health issues. These challenges stem from a combination of factors, including the auto industry’s decline, the city’s bankruptcy, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Detroit strives to overcome these hurdles and enhance its conditions, it remains a journey fraught with challenges. The city necessitates increased support and assistance from federal, state, and local governments, alongside contributions from the private sector and civil society, to address its needs and unlock its full potential.


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