America’s Fastest Shrinking Cities

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20. Kankakee, IL
> Population growth (2010-2015):
-2.27%
> Total population: 110,879
> Per capita income: $35,657
> Unemployment rate: 8.7%

Like a number of other shrinking cities, especially those in Illinois and other parts of the rust belt, Kankakee’s unemployment rate of 8.7% is one of the highest in the country. The weak job market may be partially a symptom of the city’s decaying industrial base. Like a number of other shrinking U.S. cities, Kankakee’s economy is relatively dependent on manufacturing. The sector employs 13.4% of the area’s workforce, higher than the national proportion.

19. Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL
> Population growth (2010-2015):
-2.38%
> Total population: 115,620
> Per capita income: $32,753
> Unemployment rate: 7.0%

Unlike the nation as a whole and most U.S. metro areas, the number of deaths in the Anniston areas exceeded the population increase from new births over the past five years. As in other shrinking cities, Anniston area residents are not especially wealthy, which could be a sign of the economic weaknesses that push out current residents and fail to attract new ones. The average resident earns $32,753, nearly the lowest per capita income nationwide.

18. Rockford, IL
> Population growth (2010-2015):
-2.45%
> Total population: 340,663
> Per capita income: $38,234
> Unemployment rate: 8.5%

More than 20% of workers in Rockford is employed in the manufacturing sector, double the national percentage. Like other cities in the rust belt, Rockford ’s dependence on manufacturing is typical, as is the ensuing urban decay and population loss. Rockford’s jobless rate of 8.5% is far higher than the national rate of 4.9%.