Special Report

30 American Ghost Towns

20. ZIP 60426 (Harvey, Illinois)
> Vacant homes: 1,593 (17.3% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: +2.3%
> Population: 28,924
> Median home value: $73,600

The 60426 ZIP code, located about 20 miles south of Chicago, has one of the highest vacancy rates in the country. Nearly 1,600 of the 9,227 homes in the area are unoccupied. Like most areas on this list, the 60426 area code is relatively poor, with most households earning about $30,000 or less annually and 30.7% of the population living below the poverty line. Unlike most other neighborhoods on this list, the 60426 ZIP code is growing. In the last five years, the local population increased by 2.3%, while the populations of most ZIP codes on this list are declining.

Source: Publichall / Wikimedia Commons

19. ZIP 46016 (Anderson, Indiana)
> Vacant homes: 1,259 (17.7% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -4.7%
> Population: 17,996
> Median home value: $46,300

There are 1,259 vacant properties in the 46016 ZIP code in Anderson, Indiana. The urban decay evidenced by the area’s large share of vacant properties is due in part to poor regional economic conditions. Some 34.6% of area residents live below the poverty line, more than double the 13.4% national poverty rate.

Anderson was one of several Indiana cities to benefit from the state’s natural gas boom at the end of the 19th century due to its proximity to the largest natural gas field in the country at the time. However, the economic boom was short-lived, as conservation efforts were not made, and resources were effectively depleted.

Source: Jon Dawson / Flickr

18. ZIP 15110 (Duquesne, Pennsylvania)
> Vacant homes: 368 (17.7% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -0.7%
> Population: 5,544
> Median home value: $39,600

The 15110 ZIP code in western Pennsylvania sits along the west bank of the Monongahela River and covers the small city of Duquesne. Of the 2,078 residential properties in the area, 368 are vacant. Like many parts of the country on this list, the ZIP code around Duquesne is poor. Most area households earn less than $27,000 a year, and 40% of area residents live below the poverty line.

As is often the case in areas with mass vacancies, home values in the area are also low. The typical area home is worth just $39,600, not even a quarter of the national median home value.

Source: peeterv / Getty Images

17. ZIP 63115 (St. Louis, Missouri)
> Vacant homes: 1,308 (17.8% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -13.5%
> Population: 18,213
> Median home value: $55,900

The 63115 ZIP code in St. Louis is located just north of the Central West End neighborhood along O’Fallon Park. It is one of several parts of the Missouri city to have near nation-leading home vacancy rates. Some 1,308 area homes, or 17.8% of all homes in the area, are vacant.

Cities with high vacancy rates often report higher crime rates, and St. Louis is a relatively dangerous city. There were 1,927 violent crimes in St. Louis for every 100,000 people in 2019, well above the national violent crime rate of 367 per 100,000.

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News via Getty Images

16. ZIP 21223 (Baltimore, Maryland)
> Vacant homes: 2,252 (17.8% of total)
> 5-yr. population change: -2.0%
> Population: 23,560
> Median home value: $72,800

Baltimore’s 21223 ZIP code is one of only a few mid-Atlantic areas — and one of only two zip codes in Maryland — to rank on this list. Located just west of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the 21223 ZIP code has one of the largest shares of vacant homes, at 17.8%.

The city of Baltimore as a whole has had a vacancy problem for over a decade, and there are currently about 18,000 vacant homes across the city. Currently, the city is implementing a multimillion dollar project to redevelop or raze vacant homes in an effort to address urban blight and revitalize communities.