Seven Cities That Have Gone Bust (And Lived to Tell the Tale)

Nate Berg takes a look at the seven biggest cities to have filed for bankruptcy in the last two decades, the largest of which officially broke the bank as of yesterday.
June 28, 2012, 2pm PDT | Ryan Lue
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Yesterday was a dark day for Stockton, California, as it set a new record for the largest American city ever to file for bankruptcy.

But Berg notes that "more than 600 municipalities (including counties) have filed for bankruptcy since Chapter 9 filings first became an option in the 1930s, according to this article from ABC News." The seven largest of those municipalities, along with the dates they went under, are:

  1. Stockton, Calif. (2012)
  2. Bridgeport, Conn. (1991)
  3. Vallejo, Calif. (2008)
  4. Harrisburg, Penn. (2011)
  5. Prichard, Ala. (1999, 2009)
  6. Central Falls, R.I. (2011)
  7. Desert Hot Springs, Calif. (2001)

At four-fifths the size of all other cities on the list combined, Stockton (pop. 291,707) is the most populous by a long shot. Hopefully, it's a record that won't be challenged again any time soon.

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Published on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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