Scranton: The Next Detroit?

Scranton, home of the American Dream, is now the town “least likely to survive” our current dire economic straits, according to a recent report from nonprofit conservative group Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania. Established in 2009, the group began wondering what PA cities might be following in Detroit’s footsteps following its bankruptcy filing late last month. Citzen’s Voice breaks down the criteria for CAP’s judgement:

  • Per-capita pension liability; Scranton’s $1,493 was second, behind Philadelphia’s $3,125.
  • Per capita longterm debt; Scranton’s $1,963 was seventh; all cities paled in comparison to Harrisburg’s $17,945.
  • Population decline from peak; Scranton’s 47-percent drop was fourth, behind Johnstown (69), Pittsburgh (55) and Wilkes-Barre (52).
  • Percent of population that is employed; Scranton’s and Wilkes-Barre’s were 61 percent, fourth from the bottom, behind Johnstown (54 percent), Philadelphia (58) and Altoona (60); the national average is around 67 percent.

These factors combined paint a gloomy picture for good ol’ Scranton, should we believe CAP’s conclusions. Fortunately, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty doesn’t agree, having recently refused to file for bankruptcy because it’s “far better for us to manage our way through this and it would be far more damaging to go through bankruptcy.” [CitizensVoice]