Is there a correlation between the drop in unions and the drop in defined benefits plans? It certainly seems like it. As defined benefit plans are going away, so is the safety net for older Americans. Most bankruptcy filers are under age 54, but there is a steady rise in bankruptcies of people over age 55.
While some Main Streets seem well past their prime, others remain thriving to this day. Why? A lot of it has to do with the towns and cities in which they are located, of course; it's hard to have a well-functioning Main Street in a down-and-out community. But there are also elements of design and context that matter.