Alec MacGillis Returns to Dayton (03:52)
Correspondent Alec MacGillis examines the disparity between American cities that are prospering economically and others that seem to have been left behind in this episode of “Frontline.” He characterizes Dayton, Ohio as being representative of that contrast.
Dayton's Prosperous Past (04:19)
Dayton’s poverty rate is 34.5 percent, three times the rate of the nation. Historians recall a time when Dayton was “the Silicon Valley of its age,” boasting 70,000 to 80,000 middle class, union jobs, and more patent filings per capita than anywhere else in the country.
White Flight and Redlining (05:20)
Professor Ekow N. Yahkah, discusses factors that have contributed to economic disparities between black and white Daytonians. Neighborhoods Over Politics co-founder Jo’el Thomas-Jones describes the evolving demographics and deteriorating conditions of West Dayton. “Frontline” visits the Stricklands who live in the working-class neighborhood.
Decline of American Manufacturing (02:53)
Professor Jacob Hacker discusses an economic sea change that occurred in the 1970s, when corporations began pushing back against labor unions and outsourcing jobs overseas. Experts examine the impact that Wall Street, the North American Free Trade Agreement, tax cuts for the rich. and other factors have had on income inequality.
Plant Closures and Great Recession (03:40)
MacGillis and former Dayton Mayor Paul Leonard revisit the closures of the city’s General Motors and National Cash Register plants and the global economic meltdown of 2008. Rana Foroohar of the "Financial Times" discusses wage stagnation and the concentration of wealth in the financial and tech sectors.
Opioid Crisis (12:08)
Ashley Sturgill describes conditions that contributed to her becoming a heroin addict. Coroner Kent Harshbarger describes a massive spike in overdose fatalities. Lori Erion runs a meeting of the support group Families of Addicts. Dr. Christopher Croom treats opiate-addicted pregnant women and newborns.
Immigrants and Revitalization (07:49)
Dayton’s population is barely more than half of what it was 50 years ago; many jobs have returned, but employers have trouble finding qualified workers. MacGillis interviews business owner Islom Shakhbandarov, one of many Ahiska Turks that have moved to the city, and Cho Tak Wong, the Chinese billionaire who opened Fuyoa Glass America.
Declining Wages (08:34)
St. Vincent de Paul’s is one of dozens of food pantries that serves the area. Employees describe the spike in need during the Great Recession. Hardy visits food pantries a couple of times a month despite working full time. Across Dayton, wages have dropped 19 percent.
Determination to Rebuild (03:17)
The recession caused economic and social damage in Dayton. Businesses crop up in old industrial buildings. A new, black chamber of commerce meets in a downtown coffee shop. Young inventors design prototypes, and a group of West Dayton residents is raising funds for a community-owned, co-op grocery.
Credits: Left Behind America (01:04)
Credits: Left Behind America
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