Special Report

30 American Ghost Towns

30. ZIP 43610 (Toledo, Ohio)
> Vacant homes: 292 (15.9% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -7.5%
> Population: 4,343
> Median home value: $50,100

The majority of ZIP codes on this list are located in Midwestern Rust Belt cities, and Ohio’s 43610 postal code is one of them. The area, located in Toledo, lies largely southeast of Interstate-75 and the Ottawa River, covering part of the Olde Towne neighborhood. Nearly 300 homes in the area, or 15.9% of all area homes, sit unoccupied. Of those homes, 237 are classified as investment properties, indicating that owners may be holding to sell at a later date or looking for renters.

The area’s high vacancy rates are likely due in part to population decline. Over the last five years, the number of people living in the postal code has fallen by 7.5%.

Source: eyecrave / E+ via Getty Images

29. ZIP 35218 (Birmingham, Alabama)
> Vacant homes: 318 (15.9% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -4.2%
> Population: 7,178
> Median home value: $65,200

The 35218 ZIP code is one of several in Alabama to rank on this list. An estimated 318 area homes, or 15.9% of the 1,994 total homes in the area, are unoccupied. Areas with high vacancy rates often have low real estate values — and the 35218 postal code is no exception. The typical area home is worth just $65,200 — less than one-third of the $204,900 value of the typical American home.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

28. ZIP 71101 (Shreveport, Louisiana)
> Vacant homes: 330 (16.0% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -23.4%
> Population: 6,694
> Median home value: $68,500

The 71101 ZIP code in Shreveport, Louisiana, has reported a staggering population decline in the last half decade, at nearly 25%. A smaller population means reduced demand for housing — which can result in lower property values and high vacancy rates.

Currently, about 16% of homes in the 71101 ZIP code are unoccupied. Additionally, the typical area home is worth just $68,500, about one-third the value of the typical American home.

Source: mliu92 / Flickr

27. ZIP 36201 (Anniston, Alabama)
> Vacant homes: 1,097 (16.2% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -7.4%
> Population: 18,052
> Median home value: $66,700

The 36201 postal code, which covers western Anniston, Alabama, has one of the highest vacancy rates in the country. Over 1,000 of the 6,781 area homes are unoccupied. The area’s high vacancy rate is due to decreasing demand, driven in part by population decline. There are currently about 18,000 people living in the 36201 ZIP code, down 7.4% from five years ago.

As is often the case in high-vacancy areas, real estate is cheap in western Anniston. The typical area home is worth just $66,700, a fraction of the $204,900 the typical home nationwide is worth.

Source: imagixian / iStock via Getty Images

26. ZIP 48208 (Detroit, Michigan)
> Vacant homes: 317 (16.2% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -8.0%
> Population: 9,196
> Median home value: $56,700

Many postal codes on this list are located in Rust Belt cities and have been hollowed out by decades of economic decline. Detroit’s 48208 ZIP code is one of them. More than 300 of the area’s 1,958 homes are unoccupied.

The area’s high vacancy rate is due in part to population decline. Over the last five years, the number of people living in the area fell by 8.0% — in keeping with longer term population decline across the city as a whole. After peaking at 1.8 million people in 1950, Detroit’s population has since plummeted and the city is now home to fewer than 675,000 people.