Special Report

America's Fastest Shrinking Cities

14. Pittsfield, MA
> Population growth (2010-2015):
> Total population: 127,828
> Per capita income: $47,458
> Unemployment rate: 6.0%

Births usually contribute more to population change than deaths, even in the nation’s shrinking cities. In Pittsfield, however, this was not the case in the last five years. While 7,434 area residents died over that period, new births added only 5,865 new residents over that time. The deaths were a relatively large driver of the overall population decline. Pittsfield’s population is older compared to most U.S. areas. More than one in every five Pittsfield residents is 65 or older.

13. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
> Population growth (2010-2015):
> Total population: 549,885
> Per capita income: $37,166
> Unemployment rate: 8.5%

The number of deaths over the last five years in the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman area exceeds the number of residents added from new births over that period, one of relatively few U.S. metro areas where the natural population growth — deaths minus births — was negative. The fastest shrinking metro areas tend to have higher shares of older residents, while the opposite is true for expanding metro populations. In Youngstown, 19.4% of residents are 65 or older, one of the highest proportions nationwide.

12. Charleston, WV
> Population growth (2010-2015):
> Total population: 220,614
> Per capita income: $42,046
> Unemployment rate: 6.9%

Charleson’s relatively high violent crime and unemployment rates may partially explain its recent exodus as well as its lack of appeal to prospective residents. Roughly 500 violent crimes per 100,000 residents are reported annually, well above the national violent crime rate of 366 per 100,000 people. The area’s jobless rate of 6.9% is also higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.9%.

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