25 January 2011

South Bend, dying?

An article in Newsweek Magazine recently concluded that South Bend, Indiana is one of 10 "dying" cities in the nation. They joined other Midwestern cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids in the listing, and were the only city in Indiana that made the list.

The listing came from two exclusive criteria of loss in population and a decrease in the 20s-30s population and an increase in its senior population. Frankly, I don't know what city in Indiana doesn't have the same issue, except for Indianapolis. This assumes you take one thing into consideration and that is the increase in the Latino population in virtually every small city across the Hoosier state. But does that count?

Indianapolis is not only the governmental capital of our state, but it is also the cultural and economic center of the state as well. It is the place young people move to, if they don't move out of Indiana. Young people move to the capital for the employment opportunities that exist, but also because of the venues for entertainment and recreation. Indianapolis capitalizes on quality of life opportunities and the remaining state scrambles to keep their lights on....because the taxpayers demand it. We need to come to grips with the fact that all of our cities are dying and what can be termed fiscal prudence on one hand can become a race to the bottom as we swallow ourselves in backward thinking.

I feel for South Bend. And quite frankly, all our small towns can identify more with them than we can with Indianapolis and that should be alarming. If you were to remove the growing Latino population found in each of our small cities, our numbers would likely mirror those of South Bend's. We are the ones suffering from brain drain, we are the ones suffering from a lack of employment opportunities, we are the ones unable or unwilling to even consider quality of life issues in our communities, and we are the ones with an aging population grasping onto power even as we wonder why there is a lack of engagement by a younger public. Just my thoughts.

13 comments:

jimgrey said...

Overheard, yesterday: "Newsweek says South Bend is the #8 dying city in the nation? Isn't Newsweek the nation's #1 dying magazine?"

By the way: guilty as charged, I left South Bend at 18 and ended up in Indianapolis. Why? Because I work in software development, and unless you want to do that in a bank, most of those jobs are in Indy. That is, if you're determined to stay in Indiana, a commitment I made. Frankly, most jobs in my field are on the coasts.

I miss South Bend. I like its size. I would rather live there than here. But every time I go back, I see how it is declining. And there are still no jobs for me in my field.

Anonymous said...

Didn't your hear our local authority spouting his reasoning for why South Bend is dying on the radio yesterday? Why it is the "Unions" of course! Now lets see Plymouth hasn't shrunk but yet the vast majority of White Collar workers have left the city limits for the subdivisions and their McMansions of sorts. The housing stock in Plymouth proper is decaying under the control of the blood sucking maintanence practices of a hand full of slum lords....and Plymouth has never been controlled by the Unions that our local sage blames South Bends problems on....I wonder how he squares his escape to the "American Way Compound" in North Township with what he bemoans about South Bend. I suggest he look to the problems of Plymouth before he concerns himself with South Bend!

hoosier reborn said...

Personally I don't think that South Bend is in as bad a shape as the article suggests, and like I said, no more so than most Indiana towns. It's just at a larger scale.

Anon-I can guess who you are referring to...and I'll agree to the extent that it certainly was not the unions that has hurt South Bend-if that were so multiple other cities would be on the list. That can't be claimed any more than to say that unions killed P-Town, and if you want to throw out any old reasoning, you could say that a lack of unions crippled Indiana, or a lack of salt water, or bears, or good wholesome movies!

Daisy Path said...

bloomington seems to be blooming. ;)

hoosier reborn said...

I probably shouldn't have used too broad a brush. I do think there are a few exceptions in smaller cities in Indiana. Valparaiso and Bloomington are both good examples. Both, are of course, college towns with a great deal of culture and quality of life amenities addressed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe our "local authority" should try to make the new mayor in south bend his puppet as he has done in plymouth. Or, maybe "local authority" should grow up and run for an office and see if he can do better. I'm sure he will have a fake british response to all of this.

Anonymous said...

as long as SOUTH BEND is run by demoracts it will continue to die as a city

hoosier reborn said...

If we follow that logic, then we must also say so long as river city is run by republicans, it will continue to die. "Who then can be saved"?

Anonymous said...

the major has been democrat and city council has been controlled by democrats for years thats a fact you can't blame on the republicans

hoosier reborn said...

I use "river city" as a pseudonym for my hometown. Anyone who chooses to see things only in red and blue would jump to the conclusion you did; however, if you follow that reasoning then towns that historically are R and are dying (and there are a lot), should oust their leadership...and those that are thriving under under Ds should be modeled.

Anonymous said...

hooseir reborn your a moron. the facts south bend is dying because of the democratic politions annd the morons who vote them in thinking thier the soulution

Kestrel said...

oh oh! now the ugly mob has been reduced to name calling.... HR is a "moron". Anonymous based on your grammar and spelling I suggest that you look at the four fingers pointing back at you while you are wagging that finger, I think the moron is on the other end of that comment. Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Who ever believes that South Bend isn't dying hasn't on the West Side and doesn't read the paper.
South Bend is collapsing upon itself. High unemployment, decreasing manufacturing, high rate of violent crime, an incompetent police force, don't get me started on public schools.
The infastructure is in a major state of disrepair, housing is expensive (thanks to the dome to the north). With Mishawaka just a stones throw away there is no reason to shop in South Bend. We have a minor league baseball team. But who cares? It's minor league and not very good, Notre Dame Football, But who can afford the ticket prices. South Bend has become a joke, but no one is laughing.