Detroit's woes can be traced to the 2008 financial crisis, and accompanying struggles by US automakers. The Detroit Big Three - Chrysler, GM, and Ford came close to going bankrupt themselves and slashed thousands of jobs, pushing up the jobless rate to as high as 18% in 2008.
This led to many residents moving out of the motor town, dragging down the local housing market. Over a third of the population live under the poverty line, building up massive public debt. In 2009, Detroit topped the 10 most miserable US cities in a Forbes ranking. Meanwhile Asian and European automakers have set up plants elsewhere in the US that are less cumbersome to run and more cost efficient. Detroit's housing market and job market have picked up slightly after the global financial crisis, but analysts say it's time for a structural change for the heavily auto reliant city.