Special Report

30 American Ghost Towns


To identify America’s 30 ghost towns, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of single-family homes and condos that are unoccupied in 16,148 ZIP codes with at least 1,000 single family homes and condos. Occupancy status was determined by ATTOM Data Solutions using tax assessor data for the end of the third quarter in 2019.

To better identify areas with vacancy rates that remain high year round and are not likely to decrease significantly in the near future, we only considered ZIP codes with five-year population growth of less than 5%. We also excluded ZIP codes where a large share of properties are likely vacant due to seasonal variation. This includes beach towns and places and other vacation destinations.

Median household income, median home value, poverty rates, and population at the ZIP code level are all five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Five-year changes in population and median home value are for between 2013 and 2017 are also from the ACS. Violent crime and homicide rates at the metro area level are from the FBI’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report.

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