Detropia By the Numbers

Two filmmakers capture stories of survival in a decaying Detroit

Jan 29, 2012
Outside Magazine

A scene from Detropia

The media fetishizes the Motor City’s decline with pictures of abandoned factories, dilapidated storefronts, and homes ablaze. It’s a creation that has led international tourists to stop in the city. In Detropia, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend, directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady capture the urban decline without turning it into decay porn. Graffiti and overgrown lots abound, but the focus is on the citizens as they cope with the very-real consequences of a city in financial turmoil. For example, how will they respond to the mayor’s request to move into a centralized area? Here’s a look at the city as profiled in the movie, by the numbers.

1.86 million
The population of Detroit in 1955.

713,000 The population in 2010—the lowest total in 130 years.

150,000,000 The amount of Detroit’s budget deficit.

10,000 The number of homes that have been demolished in the past four years.

50 The percentage of manufacturing jobs lost in the Motor City in the past decade.

40 The number of square miles that are inhabited in Detroit, filling less than one-third of the city’s 139 square miles.

25,000 The price for a loft apartment.

Two Number of Swiss tourists in the film who travel to the city to witness the decay.

Filed To: Film