Investing

Cities With The Most Post Offices On The Chopping Block

 5. Chicago – Tie For 3
> Number Of Post Offices That May Close: 14
> Population Change (1960-2010): -24.1%
> Population Density: 11,843.6 (10th greatest)
> Unemployment: 9.5%
> Home Vacancy Rate: 11.33%

While dealing with the same post-industrial woes that Detroit is, the difficulties in Chicago are nowhere near as bad. The city has had growth in some sectors, including manufacturing, and aerospace giant Boeing moved its headquarters to the region in 2001. Still, the city has a long way to go to recover from a nearly 25% population drain since 1960. The city has above-average unemployment and a vacancy rate of 11.33%, the latter of which has likely contributed to the review for possible closing of 14 post office branches. Chicago radio station WBBM reports that the postal service will replace many of the closed branches with “village post offices.” These would be located in existing businesses, and fulfill basic functions, including selling stamps.

4. Cleveland – Tie For 3
> Number Of Post Offices That May Close: 14
> Population Change (1960-2010): -54.8%
> Population Density: 5,107 (66th greatest)
> Unemployment: 9.5%
> Home Vacancy Rate: 17.54%

Six post offices were closed in Cleveland earlier this year and now up to 14 more may shut their doors. According to Victor Dubina, spokesperson for the postal service in Cleveland, quoted on Cleveland.com, the postal service “is going through tough times and realize tough decisions have to be made to keep it viable, and the cost of services affordable.” This is especially true for a city such as Cleveland where the population has been shrinking for years. Since 1960 the city has lost over half of its population. Once a thriving manufacturing center with a sizable auto industry, Cleveland has long been on the decline.

3. Philadelphia – Tie For 3
> Number Of Post Offices That May Close: 14
> Population Change (1960-2010): -23.8%
> Population Density: 11,379.6 (13th greatest)
> Unemployment: 8.4%
> Home Vacancy Rate: 12%

For a large northeastern city, Philadelphia is doing relatively well. Its continued strong health care and financial services sectors have kept it from experiencing the kind of post-industrial fallout that Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland did. Nevertheless, it suffered a population decline of 23.8%, partially because of industrial decline and partially because it is an old northeastern city. Philadelphia has a vacancy rate of 12%. It also has the 13th greatest population density, despite being the 5th largest city. The postal service is considering closing 14 separate branches in the city. One of the offices being considered was formerly owned by Benjamin Franklin.

2. Washington D.C.
> Number Of Post Offices That May Close: 19
> Population Change (1960-2010): -21.2%
> Population Density Per Square Mile: 9,864 (20th greatest)
> Unemployment: 5.7%
> Home Vacancy Rate: 9.73%

Washington D.C., home of the Post Office Department’s headquarters, is where the decisions to close many of the post offices in the country will largely be made. It will also most likely have a number of closings within its own borders. Many of these offices are located within federal government buildings, such as the U.S. Capitol and the State Department. Washington D.C. has been doing fairly well economically. The city’s unemployment and vacancy rates are both relatively low. However, D.C. has had a shrinking population for a number of years.

1. New York
> Number Of Post Offices That May Close: 34
> Population Change (1960-2010): +5.1%
> Population Density Per Square Mile: 27,016.3 (the greatest density)
> Unemployment: 8.3%
> Home Vacancy Rate: 5.92%

New York is the only city east of the Mississippi on the list with actual population growth over the past 50 years. The city is doing remarkably well. It has a home vacancy rate of just 5.9%, and unemployment is below average at 8.3%. The city is both the most populous in the country and the most densely populated. In the case of the Big Apple, the likely reason for as many as 34 proposed closures is simply a lack of need, rather than a lack of profits. Nevertheless, many are upset at the plan, especially residents of the Bronx, where 17 of the 34 branches under review are located. According to the New York Post, Bronx President Ruben Diaz said of the closings: “The Bronx cannot afford such a considerable loss of both jobs and commercial activity.”

Douglas A. McIntyre and Michael Sauter

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