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Video: Dayton and the America Left Behind

In a ProPublica/Frontline collaboration, reporter Alec MacGillis tells the story of Dayton, Ohio, revealing not only the profound struggles of a former industrial powerhouse — but also the rapidly growing economic and social divide among cities.

The many woes of the Rust Belt and the industrial heartland have been frequently dissected since the election of Donald Trump (and less often, before it). Even as large portions of the country thrive, unemployment, poverty and opiate addiction continue to ravage huge swaths of the nation, including Dayton, Ohio.

Once a backbone of the U.S. auto industry, the city has never recovered from the loss of its stalwart employers. Dayton is the laboratory through which reporter Alec MacGillis, as part of a collaboration between ProPublica and Frontline, examined an America that is suffering even as the nation’s economy booms. In addition to showing the searing human cost of a long-term economic collapse, MacGillis reveals a divide that is rarely acknowledged. Beyond the often chronicled gap between urban and rural in the U.S., there is a growing chasm between cities — those that have soared in a winner-take-all society, and those that have been left behind.

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