Facts about the Detroit bankruptcy | Michigan Radio

Facts about the Detroit bankruptcy

Oct 28, 2013

With the bankruptcy trial in full swing, we thought we'd share the following facts with you about the Detroit bankruptcy case.


  • State declares Detroit is in a “financial emergency” on March 1, 2013

  • Kevyn Orr appointed as Detroit’s emergency manager on March 14, 2013

  • City files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013

  • Debt owed is approximately $18 billion

    • $2.9 billion in government bond debt

    • $5.9 billion in Detroit Water and Sewerage Department debt

    • $3.5 billion in unfunded pension liability (Pension funds disagree with this figure. They say it’s much less.)

    • $5.7 billion unfunded retiree health care liability

  • Water and Sewerage debt ($5.9 billion) is “secured debt.” Lenders have a right to collateral, similar to a car loan or a mortgage.

  • The rest of the debt ($12.1 billion), including pension obligations, is considered “unsecured debt.” Similar to credit card debt, creditors holding this kind of debt are considered vulnerable to "haircuts" in bankruptcy

  • Detroit's Chapter 9 filing is the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by debt owed (Jefferson County, Alabama is 2nd at $4 billion)

  • Detroit is the largest city by population to file for Chapter 9 in U.S. history (Stockton, California is 2nd with a population of 298,000)

  • Detroit bankruptcy eligibility trial started on October 23, 2013

  • U.S. Judge Steven W. Rhodes is presiding over the bankruptcy case

  • The last day for Detroit to file a bankruptcy plan March 1, 2014, although Orr has said he intends to submit a plan by the end of 2013

  • Total annual revenue for City of Detroit in fiscal year 2012 was $2.3 billion

  • Total annual expenditures for City of Detroit in fiscal year 2012 was $2.6 billion

  • Number of City of Detroit employees is approximately 10,000

  • Number of retirees from the City of Detroit is approximately 19,000

  • Detroit’s population is 701,475 (2012)

  • Unemployment rate in Detroit 18.8% (July 2013)