America’s Fastest Shrinking Cities

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17. Wheeling, WV-OH
> Population growth (2010-2015):
-2.47%
> Total population: 144,198
> Per capita income: $40,410
> Unemployment rate: 8.7%

There were close to 10,000 deaths reported in Wheeling over the past five years. The level of mortality in an area rarely outweighs the population growth from births. In Wheeling, however, new births contributed just 7,839 to the population. Like only a few other metro areas, the natural decline contributes more to the city’s population loss than migration.

16. Ocean City, NJ
> Population growth (2010-2015):
-2.61%
> Total population: 94,727
> Per capita income: $51,812
> Unemployment rate: 13.6%

With per capita income of $51,812, Ocean City residents are exceptionally wealthy compared to people in other shrinking cities. However, the area’s unemployment rate of 13.6% is one of the highest in the country. Ocean City residents are also relatively old — 24% of people in the area are 65 or older, well above the nationwide share of 14.5%.

15. Albany, GA
> Population growth (2010-2015):
-2.63%
> Total population: 153,526
> Per capita income: $33,692
> Unemployment rate: 6.3%

The number of people living in the Albany, Georgia metro area declined by 2.6% over the last five years. As in other shrinking cities, Albany 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 annual income of $33,692 in Albany is far lower than the national per capita income of $47,615.