Detroit is located in the American state of Michigan. It is the most populated city in Michigan, the largest on the US-Canada border, and the fourth largest in the Midwest. It is located in Wayne County, which is also the most populous county in Michigan. According to McDonald (3320), the population of Detroit municipality is approximately 677,116 people, making it one of the most populous cities in the United States. The town was founded in 1701 by French explorers and adventurers. Over time, the city grew to become one of the major industrial hubs in the United States. Following the expansion of the automobile industry during the 20th century and became a major metropolitan area in the U.S. During 1950 when the city was a vibrant auto hub, it was one of the most populous cities in the United States taking the fourth spot for a period. However, with the decline of the motor industry and retrenching of its employees, there was a massive decline in the number of people living in the city. To date, there has been a decrease of over 25 percent of the population, hence, moving it down from the fourth most populous to 21st.

On the other hand, Elizabeth City is the largest city in Union County state of New Jersey in the United States. It is the most populous town in the Union County, the fourth in New Jersey and the 210th in the United States with a population of 129,007 as suggested by the population estimate program in 2015. The city was established in year 1855 after the combination of Elizabeth Township and Elizabeth borough by an act of the legislature of New Jersey (Hatfield 25). Before its creation, the law was subjected to a referendum which sailed through, hence, the formulation of the city. The city is named after the wife of one of the first two settlers of the area known as the George Carteret. The first inhabitants of the area were the British who first arrived in the year 1664. The city has great significance in the American history because there are some battles fought in the region. During the American Revolution, Elizabeth, New Jersey was attacked several times by the British forces based in Manhattan who wanted to gain entry into New Jersey. However, the forces were defeated decisively during the battle of Springfield, at the same time, Washington embarked by boat for his 1789 inauguration in Manhattan from Elizabeth City.

Over time the city has grown with minimal destruction during various revolutions in the United States. Singer sewing machine was the original company to be established in Elizabeth and could employ up to 2000 people. The first car company was established in the Elizabeth City in 1895. The company named the electric carriage wagon company was involved with the production of submarines for the United States Navy (McDonald 3310). The city has retained most of its population and has relatively a large number of the middle-class people due to a relatively stable economy and political environment.


Faulkner Act which was initially known as the optional municipal chart law with a mayor and a city council is used in structuring the government of the city. The city council is composed of nine members elected to serve for a four-period term. The elections are held on a staggering basis in even years. During a leap year, the mayor and three council members elected at large come up for election and the other six council members representing the six wards, are elected two years later. Nowadays, Chris Bollwage from the Democratic Party is the mayor of the city and has been a lifelong citizen of the city. In fact, he is serving his seventh term of which he was elected in 2016. His current term will come to an end in the year 2020. The federal state is represented in the city. The current mayor has gained the trust of the people and has not overseen a smooth running of the city hence its political and economic stability over time.

Elizabeth is placed in the 8th congressional district following changes made in the year 2013 after the elections held in November 2012. Before the amendments, Elizabeth was split between the 13th and 10th congressional district. In the federal government, the state of New Jersey is represented by Cory Booker as the senator whose term comes to an end in the year 2021. Albion Sires accounts for the eighth congressional district of New Jersey. A board of chosen freeholders governs the union county whereby Elizabeth is the capital. The board consists of nine people who are elected at large to serve for a three-year term. There is an election held each year since the board members are in office whereby three board members are elected each year. There is a county manager who is responsible for overseeing the activities of the county.

Dissimilarly to Elizabeth City, Detroit governance is based on the Home Rule Charter of the City of Detroit. However, just like Elizabeth City, Detroit is run by a mayor, a city council made up of nine members and a clerk who elected on a non-partisan ballot at large. Detroit utilizes the strong mayoral system since the approval of the charter by voters in 1974. The mayor has the powers of approving departmental appointments. Despite the fact that the council has to approve the budget, the mayor does not necessary adhere to the proposed budget. Large contracts in the city have to be approved by the city council (Farley 119). The primary functions of the clerk are to oversee elections and maintenance of the records to the municipal. All the elections in the city are done every four years and a year after the presidential elections.


Elizabeth public schools are in charge of all the public school in the city which serves students right from kindergarten to 12th grade. The district is the former abbot area which is instilled throughout the state. According to Hatfield (15), the 34 schools in the district had 1846 classroom teachers and a student enrollment of 23,386, thus, having a student teacher ratio of 12.67:1. Before the transformation program which started in 2009 to 2010 leading to the splitting of Elizabeth high school, the school had a student population of 5300, hence, making it one of the largest schools in the United States. According to Morgan, England, and Pelissero (50), to reduce the population, the school was broken down into smaller school forming various academies and a much smaller Elizabeth high school. The high school was ranked 302 out of 16 to high school in the state, thus, showing that the performance in the school was deteriorating a great deal.

Elizabeth City has quite some private schools among them are the St. Mary Assumption School which was established in the year 1930 together with the all-girls Benedictine Academy run by missionary sisters. After the St. Patrick high school was closed down by the Catholic archdiocese following high cost of operation with reduced enrollments parents and administrators opted for the development of a school that is non-denomination by the name of Patrick school in 2012.

On the other hand, Detroit has a larger population and, thus, more advanced schools as compared to Elizabeth. To begin with, there are over 66 000 students enrolled in public schools. In fact, the Detroit municipal district is the biggest in the state of Michigan. There are additional 5600 charter students in Detroit, hence, the entire enrollment is about 122,000 students (Dolan 7). By the year 2009, the number of students in the charter schools was almost the same as for those in public schools. Initially, the board of managers for the school was elected, however, in 1999, following allegations of performance of the board members, the board was disbanded, and the governor and mayor appointed new members. However, in the year 2005, other members of the council were elected to run the activities of the school (Leu 5). There have been poor performances posted by students from Detroit district schools while undertaking national standardized exams. In fact, even the funded charter schools are worse regarding performance as compared to public schools. In 2015, only 27 percent of the students from Detroit showed proficiency in mathematics while 44 percent showed their proficiency in reading. In fact, almost half of the adults in Detroit are illiterate functionally. The Detroit Catholic Archdiocese runs most of the private schools in the city. However, there has been a decrease in the enrollment rate in the Catholic schools due to the number of reasons include the movement of the children to suburbs, there is a decrease in the number of nun teachers, increasing tuition, and the immigration of people from the city.

According to Bomey and Gallagher, the massive out-migration experienced from Detroit has led to a change in the composition of students in schools, hence, creating the changes of money needed to train the unique students who are slightly more than the state's average number of students in traditional or charter schools around Detroit. There has been an increase in the number of students in the Detroit public schools which has further affected the cost of operating the schools. The district public schools educate about 41 of the students enrolled in the schools which are a drop from 60 percent about six years ago.

The funding models of special education in Michigan state require that the school's general funds to be used last when all the other sources of funding have been exhausted the average cost of educating one child in the county is $970 for a general education student. This cost is more than the average cost of educating a student in the county which is at 631 dollars.

Population and Economy

Detroit city has gone through significant demographic and economic declines in the previous decades. There has been a massive decline in the population of the city from a high of 1,850,000 in the year 1950 to a low in 2015 at 677, 116. Therefore, it was removed from the top 20 list since the year 1850. The automobile industry which was vital for the economic wellbeing of the city had faced a huge competition for the global car manufacturers, hence, opting to move out of the city. Most of the city is in severe urban decay with the highest recording of crime rates. In 2013, the city filed a municipal bankruptcy case which was excited successful a year later. Nevertheless, crime rate, urban blight, and poverty have hit the city has in the recent years.

The city has also faced some challenges including one of its mayors. Kwame Malik Kilpatrick was the 68th mayor of the city from 2002 to 2008. After conviction to various accounts including perjury, felony, and obstruction of justice, Kwame Kilpatrick resigned as the mayor of Detroit City. Later, he was sentenced to four months of jail after he pleaded guilty to the charges. However, he did not serve the entire period in prison since he was released 99 days later on probation. After he had violated his probation, he was again sentenced to 18 months to 5 years in jail which he spent at the Oaks Correctional facility. Lastly, he was convicted to 28 years in prison later in 2013 after he was found guilty of 24 accounts that included mail fraud, racketeering, and wire fraud.

At the moment, there are three Fortune 500 companies in Detroit in addition to several other corporations. The most represented sectors in the city include health care, technology, finance, and the automobile industry. The largest industries in the city include quicken loans, Compuware, American axle, DTE energy, and Blue Shield of Michigan among others. The companies employ more than 80,500 people who constitute one fifth of the employment base in the city. These industries play a significant role in sustaining the city.


Concisely, there are vast differences between the two cities right from the kind of governance to their economic stability and growth. Detroit was once of the greatest cities in the United States but has since declined due to poor management and global composition on its key manufacturing industries. The two companies, Chrysler and General Motors, have been salvaged before by the federal governments but have failed to improve so as to compete with the global companies from Europe that are posing a stiff competition. In the same way, the education sector has also been affected significantly by some students moving out, hence, making it difficult to sustain the cost of running institutions. On the other hand, Elizabeth City has been relatively stable with a minimal exodus of people from the city, hence, reforming a well-managed and maintained education system for all.

Works Cited

Bomey, Nathan and John Gallagher. “How Detroit Went Broke: The Answers May Surprise You - and Don’t Blame Coleman Young.” Detroit Free Press, 15 Sept. 2013,

Dolan, Matthew. "Revival Bid Pits Detroit Vs. Donor." Wall Street Journal, vol. 2, 2011, pp. 1-8.

Farley, Reynolds. “The Bankruptcy of Detroit: What Role Did Race Play?” City & Community, vol. 14, no. 2, 2015, pp. 118–137.

Hatfield, Edwin. History of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Carlisle, MA: Applewood Books, 2010.

Leu, Donald J. The New Literacies: Multiple Perspectives on Research and Practice. New York: Guilford Press, 2010.

McDonald, John F. “What Happened to and in Detroit?” Urban Studies, vol. 51, no. 16, 2014, pp. 3309–3329.

Morgan, David R., Robert E. England, and John P. Pelissero. Managing Urban America. Chatham House Pub, 2007.

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