Special Report

This Is America's Fastest Shrinking City

Source: Paul Sableman (Flickr user: pasa47) / Wikimedia Commons

1. Pine Bluff, AR
> 2010-2019 pop. change: -12.4% (-12,485)
> 2019 unemployment: 5.2% — 44th highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2010-2019 employment change: -13.4% — 383rd highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2019 median household income: $41,541 — 36.8% below national median

The Pine Bluff, Arkansas, metro area is by far the fastest shrinking place in America, losing 12.4% of its population from 2010 to 2019. No other places lost even a 10th of its population in that decade. Even though the area had more births than deaths during the decade, Pine Bluff’s population declined from over 100,000 to less than 88,000, as many more people moved away from the area than moved to it.

As is the case in virtually every other city on this list, Pine Bluff is struggling economically — its median household income for 2019 was just $41,541, about $24,000 lower than the U.S. median. Its poverty rate of 23.6% is also the sixth highest in the nation. Even though incomes increased by 24.2% from 2010 to 2019, the poverty rate climbed — up by 1.2 percentage points even as the U.S. rate declined by 3 percentage points.