Starling City in Arrow hasn't had a very good track record over the last couple of years (spoilers from the show):

  • A pretty poor economy overall
  • Open conflict between multiple gangs
  • A wide-spread drug epidemic with Vertigo
  • Many high-profile events being violently disrupted by various villains
  • Various attacks by meta-humans that the police cannot stop
  • "The Undertaking", an artificially generated Earthquake that killed hundreds
  • Slade's Mirakuru-enahnced soldiers attacking indiscriminately and the mayor delaying calling in the National Guard
  • City-wide attacks from HIVE and Damien Darhk's Ghosts
  • The violent deaths of the last two mayoral candidates, plus the following mayoral candidate stepping down after her daughter's life was threatened
  • The (presumed) violent deaths of two CEOs (one who was a mayoral candidate) from the city's largest business
  • And at various points, a green-clothed vigilante who resorts to killing those who get in his way (sometimes while being framed)

This seems like an incredibly unsafe place to live with all that (including several National Guard-level emergencies). And yet there are a surprising number of people who still live there, and the board members of Queen Consolidated/Palmer Technologies don't consider moving their headquarters.

With all the tragedy that has befallen the city, why do so many people choose to stay?

  • 2
    Episode 4x01 makes mention of the fact that people are indeed leaving the newly rechristened Star City. But presumably living is rather cheap in such a city (and it's very likely better than living in Gotham, which supposedly has an even higher crime rate, or Blüdhaven (which does exist in Arrow and whose crime rate is no joke either)) -- and quite frankly, I can try my best and hide from the gangs/ghosts at night by staying at home, whereas a rampant Meta (or Vendal S. with a glowy stick) in Central City makes living there no fun ride either....
    – BMWurm
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:28
  • Why do some people live in igloos? Jan 25, 2016 at 20:29

2 Answers 2


This is really a social question, rather than a just comic/TV question! Why do people stay in cities riddled by gang violence, or those which are economically void?

Often times, those who must stay are those most adversely affected by the issues plaguing the city: the poor. People of low income lack the resources to relocate. Acquiring jobs, transportation and housing can be incredibly difficult for those with little to no money to their name.

A good real-world example is Detroit, whose populated has halved in the last 40 years (and from peak population to current population, the exodus is even more apparent). The remaining population is of a demographic statistically more likely to be in poverty. The government of the city doesn't have the resources to help people leave, and they'd more likely be interested in trying to get new people to come in.

Looking at Detroit's decline, we see just how long it takes people to leave a dying city, even when there are many other viable cities in the country, or even each state. It takes decades! Perhaps people would hasten their departure in the face of extreme terrorism, but even New York City's population continued to grow after the terrorist events of 9/11.

We do know that people are leaving Starling City. When Ray Palmer appears to make a pitch to take over Queen Industries. In the Season 3 episode, "The Calm", he says this:

The Arrow just took down another one of the city's most wanted, and there's no denying that the city's crime rate has plummeted in the past five months.

But so has its unemployment rate and its population.
We have experienced two terrorist attacks in as many years.
Starling City is dying, and a prison full of criminals-- Take another off the board.

Unfortunately, we're not given any hard stats on what number of people are living or what amount are staying/moving in.


I'm guessing other places are just as bad since this is the DC Universe. All the major cities are plagues by supervillains and disasters. But with all drugs and gangs Star City must be one of the worse off ones

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