Head north, from Detroit, along Interstate 75 for about an hour and you’ll come to Michigan’s seventh largest city, Flint. MI. With a population just over 100,000, Flint has always been known as a manufacturing center throughout its history, particularly in regards to the automobile industry. For example, it was once the headquarters of General Motors and also the birthplace of the United Auto Workers Union. At its height, in the 1950’s, Flint was the second largest city in Michigan with a population over 200,000.
The oil crisis of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s started an economic decline for Flint that still exists to the present. Local companies began to either fail or leave for cheaper areas of operation. Making matters even worse, General Motors, the bedrock of Flint’s economy, downsized its presence and the number of employees in the city by nearly 90 percent. As jobs became scarce, more and more of the populous left as well and Flint began to experience more urban decay and higher crime rates. The city has tried on various occasions to reinvigorate the local economy. Most of these efforts have been moderately successful at best, but many are still under way. If Flint’s past industrial prowess is any indicator, the city will come back.