The term “Rust Belt” is a term used to describe areas in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions of the United States. This is a derogatory term used to describe areas where there is an economic decline, urban decay, high rates of poverty, and a drop in population due to deindustrialization.
These areas were struck in the 20th century for many reasons. Manufacturing is moving to overseas companies, the decline of coal and steel industries, and increased automation in industrial settings are just a few of the factors that have contributed to this deindustrialization. Cities across the nation were able to adapt to these changes by moving into other industries, like the services industry. However, other cities and towns have been severely affected. It is these areas that are part of the “Rust Belt.”
These regions weren’t always known as the Rust Belt, however. In their prime, these areas were identified by other nicknames such as the Factory Belt or Steel Belt. States that are included in the Rust Belt are: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Some cities in the Rust Belt region saw significant declines in their populations after deindustrialization. The biggest change was recorded in Detroit, Michigan, where the population dropped by over 29% between 2000 and 2016. Gary, Indiana, was another city that was affected, with its population dropping by over 25%. Other cities that saw significant losses in their populations include: Flint, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; Decatur, Illinois; Saint Louis, Missouri, and Saginaw, Michigan.