people leave

Since World War II the US population has increased steadily by approximately 2.5 million people per year. American citizens continue to have families throughout affluence and hardship. Many areas have expanded to accommodate this increase in population. While some US cities have grown substantially on account of being at the center of new technological development or the job market, others have shown a significant decrease in population due to migration and failing industries.

The incredible economic recession of the past few years spared hardly any city. However, in the following 10 majestic metros, the shrink regularly capped years of economic decline, steered in by the industrial failure and a fleeing population. Most of these declining US cities never really enjoyed the economic escalation before the collapse. Instead, they’ve witnessed their industrial base slowly erode over time and their inhabitants move to areas with more opportunities.

1. New Orleans

Population decline 128,813
Percent decline since 2000 26.6

New Orleans tops the list. Hurricane Katrina forced 80% of the families in the city to move from their houses. A recent survey by the Department of Housing and Urban Development has shown that the other 12% still believes their situation to be volatile as they search for permanent home. Since the housing costs have increased substantially, more residents are expected to leave New Orleans this year.

2. Flint

Population decline 13,266
Percent decline since 2000 10.6

 Flint, MI is number 2 on the list. Flint has become a perfect symbol of the collapse of US Auto industry and the US industrial city in the past twenty years. The car giant that once employed about 79,000 local people have shown huge decline. The figure has shrunk to approximately 8,000, and the trend is not expected to change this year.

3. Cleveland

Population decline 45,211
Percent decline since 2000 9.5

 Cleveland, OH is number 3 on the list. The loss of manufacturing jobs has played a very important role in the shrinkage and is still draining this city.

4. Buffalo

Population decline 21,970
Percent decline since 2000 7.5

Buffalo, NY is number 4 on the list.  Once the city was considered as a center of industry, but as those industries diminished, the population started to decrease. Back in 1900 it was the eighth-largest city in the country.

5. Dayton

Population decline 11,947
Percent decline since 2000 7.2

Dayton, OH is number 5 on the list. Dayton was also affected by the continuously declining auto industry. A substantial number of people left and are still leaving because NCR Corporation (ATM and cash register manufacturer) moved its headquarters to Georgia, taking over twelve thousand jobs with it.

6. Pittsburgh

Population decline 22,056
Percent decline since 2000 6.6

 Pittsburgh, PA is number 6. The steel industry in Pittsburgh lost its sheen a long time ago, forcing a number of people to leave the place. That decline is still showing its glory.

7. Rochester

Population decline 12,180
Percent decline since 2000 5.55

Rochester, NY is number 7 on the listOnce a booming trade center, Rochester has gone through a major population decrease due to the failure of its flagship companies.

8. Jackson

Population decline 10,239
Percent decline since 2000 5.5

Jackson, MI is number 8 on our list. People are moving from the central city to the suburban border, similar to what they did in other collapsing centers, such as Atlanta.

9. Syracuse

Population decline 7,510
Percent decline since 2000 5.1

Syracuse, NY is number 9 on the list. The loss of the manufacturing base is forcing people out of the city, but the city is trying to retain the population by investing in its downtown.

10. Birmingham

Population decline 11,291
Percent decline since 2000 4.9


Birmingham, AL is number 10 on our list. This is another former steel town, most of its population relocated outside the city limits.