Fastest Shrinking U.S. Cities

Try to name the American cities which have lost the most residents since the year 2000.
By city proper population, 2000-2019
Hint: Think manufacturing + crime
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: May 27, 2020
First submittedMay 26, 2018
Times taken12,717
Rating4.25
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Loss
City
281,239
Detroit
202,040
Chicago
97,394
Cleveland
94,530
New Orleans
57,664
Baltimore
47,613
Saint Louis
40,840
Toledo
Loss
City
37,364
Buffalo
34,277
Pittsburgh
33,417
Birmingham
29,405
Flint
27,867
Gary
27,345
Cincinnati
25,772
Dayton
Loss
City
23,628
Jackson
19,477
Akron
16,557
Youngstown
14,078
Rochester
13,684
Saginaw
13,611
Pine Bluff
+17
Level 79
May 27, 2018
So, what is it with Ohio??
+22
Level 77
Jun 1, 2018
Jokes aside, I would venture to guess it has more to do with people moving out of city limits and into the suburbs than moving out of the state all together.
+7
Level 57
Jul 25, 2018
I think there's a lot to that. Also the way cities are defined: My understanding is that Columbus draws the map to include suburbs, while Cleveland is just Cleveland proper. So the whole area is losing jobs, people move to the suburbs, the map (and tax base I assume) doesn't include suburbs, city loses more money plus more people etc.
+6
Level 69
Jun 1, 2018
Everybody wants to move to Columbus, which is partially responsible for Columbus for being one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
+6
Level 82
Aug 17, 2018
If they just went there first, they wouldn't think it's worth committing life to it.
+8
Level 60
Aug 17, 2018
I'm a native Ohioan, born and raised an hour from Youngstown. The state, especially the eastern half, was built largely around the auto industry and steel mills. When Goodyear Tire left Akron in 1978 and Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel filed bankruptcy in 1985 and again in 1990 (and never truly recovered), places like Akron, Youngstown, Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo fell much in the way of Detroit, albeit less dramatically. Most of those cities are also ravaged by drug abuse, which raises their crime and poverty rates. This, of course, causes many to flee to other areas that are safer and more stable job-wise. Thankfully, Columbus is still thriving!
+10
Level ∞
May 27, 2020
As a Michigander by birth, I can say that there are a lot of people who really want to believe that "Detroit may be falling apart, but the suburbs are strong". Sadly, this simply isn't true. Far more people are leaving the state than are moving in. Globalization has absolutely gutted the Midwest.
+2
Level 70
Aug 17, 2020
In can only speak about southwest Ohio, but from 2000 to 2010 the greater Cincinnati area population increased by over 100,000 people. While people moved from the city proper during that time period, the outlying suburbs grew and continue to grow.
+1
Level 68
Jun 14, 2018
Got them all but Youngstown, which I really should have remembered, and Toledo.

Interesting how Gary is still shrinking so much, I was just there and it's already so hollowed out. Such an interesting, historic city.

+4
Level 41
Aug 17, 2018
What in the world is happening with Ohio? Maybe it has to do with the opioid situation. They are dying, not leaving.
+1
Level 80
Aug 17, 2018
There were 3600 opioid deaths in Ohio in 2016, and many of these were by people who don't live in major cities.
+2
Level 80
Aug 18, 2020
if not clear, my point was that this is a very insignificant factor.
+1
Level 57
Aug 19, 2020
Right? I keep seeing people asking these questions like they've never heard of the "Rust Belt." I guess the auto industry decline over the last several decades was not big enough historical news? I mean, that's what I used to start basing my answers.
+2
Level 64
Aug 17, 2018
All but 4 of the 18 cities lost less than 40,000 people over 17 years. No city likes negative growth but that's hardly a mass exodus. That said, New Orleans was completely devastated by a natural disaster which explains a lot of their population loss. Manufacturing jobs being lost or moved internationally probably explains quite a bit of the rest.
+4
Level 82
Jun 26, 2019
And several of those cities are under 100,000 people. Many have halved since the 1950s. Youngstown has lost 2/3 of it's population. St. Louis 856,000 in 1950 and soon to be in the 200s.
+1
Level 68
Aug 17, 2018
It would have been good to include the populations being counted as a city. Saginaw seldom makes these lists because it is too small, so I didn't even consider it.
+1
Level 80
Aug 17, 2018
If this was by urban area and not city proper I think the entire quiz might only be 2 or 3 entries long.
+6
Level 52
Aug 20, 2018
Pick your random Blue city....
+5
Level 71
Aug 17, 2020
Every city is a blue city. Especially the ones that are growing quickly.
+4
Level ∞
May 27, 2020
Prediction: By 2030, Chicago will be atop this list by a wide margin (and New York will possibly make an appearance as well). The combination of bad weather, high prices, congestion, and outrageous taxes makes the situation in those places untenable. Bankruptcy is on the horizon for Chicago/Illinois unless they get a bailout from the feds. Just please don't all move to Seattle. We're full.
+2
Level 62
May 28, 2020
Lots of Chicagoans, especially African Americans, are going to Atlanta. Apparently retirees are going to Southwest Florida.
+2
Level 66
May 28, 2020
It's sort of cruel twist that a lot of the outrageous taxes are to pay for the pensions and health care of former state employees who have retired and moved to Florida and Arizona. So all those taxes are leaving Illinois and subsidizing those Florida and Arizona's economies.
+1
Level ∞
Nov 19, 2020
I had this great idea a few years ago. States should apply state income tax to pensions before they give them out. This would penalize the freeloaders who take off to another state. Turns out, this has been tried, and the courts ruled it illegal.
+1
Level ∞
Nov 19, 2020
My other idea is kind of wicked. States should only mail pension checks to people who live in the state and pay taxes. Others would have to pick up the checks in person. Wahahahaha...

But seriously, Illinois is screwed.

+1
Level 55
Aug 24, 2020
Seattle is now a cesspool and no go zone that looks like Mad Max in the CHAZ zones. I don't know how much longer you will want to stay there, especially if you value independent liberty, free speech, low taxes, etc. Best of luck...
+1
Level ∞
Nov 19, 2020
You're half right. Seattle is a cesspool. But it's certainly not a no-go zone. Its still one of the safer cities in the U.S. in terms of murder rate.
+1
Level 43
Oct 8, 2020
Im moving to Chicago in 2025
+4
Level 79
May 30, 2020
In the answers - City: Baltimore, State: Baltimore.
+4
Level 82
Jun 2, 2020
Hint: Think manufacturing + crime + Pine Bluff.
+1
Level 46
Aug 17, 2020
It's cruel that once, thriving, cities became a graveyard of houses. Especially Detroit, since they used to have 1.85 million people living there. Now, only about a little over 600,000 people live there.
+1
Level 63
Aug 17, 2020
Just curious, is this a measure of just loss, or net loss? I'm guessing either way it doesn't make much of a difference since most of these places aren't drawing a lot of new residents, but still would be nice to know.
+1
Level 63
Aug 17, 2020
As with many of these, going by city proper only doesn't give you an accurate picture of the health of a metropolitan area. For example, Detroit's city proper encompasses most of the metropolitan area, where St. Louis' city proper encompasses only a small fraction of the entire metropolitan area. If looking at crime statistics alone, you get an inaccurate picture of St. Louis. The metro area is far larger than the city proper. Yes people are moving out of the city, but then again the city only has about 300,000 people. The entire metro area has more then 3,000,000 people.
+1
Level 69
Aug 18, 2020
Detroit's population (670k) encompasses only ˜16% of the whole metro area (4.3M), far from "most of the metropolitan area".
+1
Level 45
Aug 22, 2020
More like, Hint: Think garbage weather for half of the year. That's the real commonality here.
+2
Level 55
Aug 24, 2020
NAFTA, high taxes, no gun rights, people who hate free speech and individual liberties, etc. I don't know why anyone would live in NY or California at this point.
+1
Level 43
Oct 8, 2020
u mad