Special Report

American Cities That Went From Rich to Poor

Methodology

To determine the American cities that went from rich to poor, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the relative change in real per capita income for all U.S. metropolitan areas from 1959 to 2019. Using historical county-level data from the Census Bureau, we calculated the per capita income for metropolitan statistical areas using boundary definitions for September 2018, also from the Census Bureau. We then adjusted the 1959 per capita figures to 2019 dollars using CPI data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data on per capita income for metropolitan statistical areas for 2019 came from Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Metropolitan areas whose boundaries changed from 1959 to 2018 were excluded from consideration. Additional data on unemployment for 2019 came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.