U.S. population growth hit an 80-year low of 0.6% year-over-year in 2018. The slowdown in growth — an already familiar phenomenon in some of the world’s most economically advanced countries — is largely attributable to a declining birthrate. Slowing growth nationwide does not begin to tell the story of some American cities that are being gutted year after year.
There are dozens of U.S. metro areas where the population has declined by over 3% in recent years. While an aging population and slowing birth rates are often a factor, in most of these cities, the population decline is mostly attributable to people moving away.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed population change from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018 in all U.S. metropolitan areas to identify the fastest shrinking metro areas in the United States.
While the reasons for the mass exodus boil down to the independent decisions of tens of thousands of individuals, conditions in many cities on this list offer some potential answers.
A lack of economic opportunity and crime can make any city unappealing to potential new residents and those looking to start families. All but one of these metro areas have an unemployment rate above the 3.9% national rate, and some are shedding jobs at a faster rate than any other city in their respective states. Additionally, many of these cities have higher than average violent crime rates, and some even rank as the most dangerous city in their state.