Preliminary numbers from the 2010 census show that Detroit lost 237,000 people over the past decade, 25% of its population. By comparison, New Orleans lost 29% of its population after Katrina, sometimes regarded as the worst natural catastrophe in American history; not even being submerged by the raging sea can damage a city like the industrial collapse that has hollowed out Detroit.
Despite these losses Detroit still has 713,777 residents, and somehow keeping the city going to serve them is a huge challenge. More than 20 percent of the lots in the city are already vacant, and the mayor wants to demolish 10,000 more vacant buildings this year.
I think we should try the solution suggested by blogger Matt Yglesias, and allow 100,000 people to immigrate to the US on the condition that they live in Detroit for ten years. Hey, we may soon end up responsible for the whole population of eastern Libya; how about we resettle them in Detroit, Cleveland, Akron, and all of our other shrinking cities?