Detroit has become the largest US city ever to file for bankruptcy, with debts of at least $15bn. Once the heart of the US car industry, Detroit's population has fallen from two million in the 1950s to 713,000 today.
Reporter: Jonny Dymond
The birthplace of mass production, 'Motor City', has thrown in the towel.
Decades of decline led up to this moment. Spiralling crime and the departure of the car factories that gave Detroit its nickname saw the destruction of its tax base. Years of incompetent and corrupt management left the city insolvent.
The emergency manager appointed by the state governor spent months going through the city's books. His conclusion: the city's debts are too great to be sustained.
Now the courts will have to work out who gets paid what, and the city's fall is complete.
mass production producing a large quantities of goods using machines in a factory
thrown in the towel given up, admitted defeat
spiralling increasing faster and faster in a downward direction
tax base total of income, assets and property which can be taxed by a government
incompetent not having the ability to do something in the right way
insolvent not having enough money to pay debts
going through examining carefully
books financial records