Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Collapse of Gary, IN

I'm just starting a look at the changes over time in retail and service activity in Gary, Indiana, which is still the largest city in northwest Indiana. In 1950, about 40% of the population of Lake County lived in Gary, and they earned about 35% of the total income earned by Lake County residents. In 1952 (the year of the economic census), about 35% of retail activity (stores, sales, employment, payrolls) were also in Gary.

Fast-forward to 2002 (the most recent economic census). In 2000, about 21% of Lake County's population was in Gary, and residents of Gary received about 16% of the total income in Lake County. But in 2002, only about 12% of the retail stores in Lake County were located in Gary, and they accounted for about 8.2% of the sales, 9.5% of the employment, and 7.8% of the retail payroll in Lake County.

Only in the "gasoline stations" category did Gary have anything approaching a share or retail activity even approaching its share of population (or income) (about 19% of stores, sales, employment, and payroll). And that's probably because there are 5 interstate highway exits located in Gary.

More as the research progresses.


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