TORONTO – Detroit has become the biggest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy.
The city has paid its bills with borrowed money for years while struggling to provide the most basic services for its residents.
In the 1950s, its population grew to 1.8 million people, many of whom were lured by plentiful, well-paying auto jobs. Later that decade, Detroit began to decline as developers started building suburbs that lured away workers and businesses.
Between 2000 and 2010, Detroit lost a quarter-million of its residents. Today, the population struggles to stay above 700,000.
For years, tens of thousands of homes, buildings and lots remained unoccupied and vacant.
Buildings in an entire city block in what was once Detroit’s prime business district sit largely abandoned March 23, 2011. (Getty Images)
In this May 16, 2013 photo, a for sale/lease sign is displayed at the vacant Crosman Alternative School in Detroit which closed in 2007. (AP Photo)
The hallway of the Lee Plaza lobby, an upscale apartment and hotel building opened in 1929 on West Grand Boulevard on May 2, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980’s before closing in the 1990’s. (Getty Images)
The remains of an abandoned home in Detroit are seen 15 June, 2005, in what was once a thriving middle class area. (Getty Images)
A flag remains hanging in the principal’s office at the Frederick Douglass High School on January 14, 2010 in Detroit. (AP Photo)
An abandoned hospital is seen February 24, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Getty Images)
In this photo taken Jan. 28, 2010, the abandoned 3.5-million-square-foot Packard car plant is seen in Detroit. (AP Photo)
Graffiti decorates the ruins of the Packard car plant, a 35 acre site where luxury cars were manufactured until the 1950’s on May 2, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Getty Images)
A fence keeps trespassers out of an abandoned home in Detroit on June 15, 2005, in what was once a thriving middle class area. (Getty Images)
The unoccupied Book Tower stands in the downtown skyline on May 1, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The skyscraper was completed in 1926 and housed retail, galleries and businesses until the last tenant left in 2009. (Getty Images)
The boarded up Sidney Miller school is seen Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 in Detroit. (AP Photo)
Vacated Michigan Central Station is seen in the Corktown district of Detroit Sunday June 9, 2013. Built for the Michigan Central Railroad, Michigan Central Station (also known as Michigan Central Depot or MCS) was Detroit’s passenger rail depot from its opening in 1913 until the cessation of Amtrak service on January 6, 1988. (AP Photo)
Shuttered and repossessed homes line the streets of a middle class neighborhood on the East side of Detroit on December 7, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Getty Images)
A vacant house is seen north of downtown Detroit on Thursday January 26, 2006. (AP Photo)
*With files from the Associated Press
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