Special Report

America's Fastest Shrinking Cities

8. Decatur, IL
> Population growth (2010-2015):
> Total population: 107,303
> Per capita income: $43,413
> Unemployment rate: 8.7%

Of the 20 fastest shrinking U.S. cities, Decatur is one of four in Illinois. Like other Midwestern metro areas, Decatur’s once vibrant industrial sector has been on the decline. The area’s long-term economic struggles drove urban decay and population loss. Decatur’s unemployment rate of 8.7% — one of the highest nationwide — reflects the area’s economic weakness. On the other hand, the city’s per capita annual income of $43,413, while lower than the national income level, is one of the higher figures compared with other shrinking cities.

7. Cumberland, MD-WV
> Population growth (2010-2015):
> Total population: 99,979
> Per capita income: $35,849
> Unemployment rate: 7.7%

One of the signs of a healthy city’s economy is a fast growing, young population. In Cumberland, more people left than arrived and more people died than were born over the last five years. Also, nearly one in every five residents are 65 or older, one of the highest proportions of any U.S. metro area.

6. Saginaw, MI
> Population growth (2010-2015):
> Total population: 193,307
> Per capita income: $34,050
> Unemployment rate: 5.2%

Michigan was once a major U.S. manufacturing hub, with many cities depending on the industry. Today, many Michigan cities have fallen into decay. Saginaw is no different. Residents have relatively low incomes, earning $34,050 annually, well below the national per capita income of $47,615. A byproduct of the economic decline, low incomes are common in the nation’s shrinking cities.