Story at a glance:
- The U.S. Census Bureau released data for from the 2020 census.
- Pine Bluff, Ark. is one of the fastest shrinking cities in the U.S.
- Several cities have been in steady decline as manufacturing and industrial jobs dwindle.
Ten of the fastest-shrinking American cities have been steadily declining for years, many with struggling economies hit by the loss of jobs in manufacturing and other industries such as construction, mining and logging.
In the last decade, the fastest shrinking city out of the country’s 384 metropolitan areas was Pine Bluff, Ark., southeast of Little Rock, where the population dropped by 12.5 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to The New York Times. The population is now 87,751, down from 100,258, Business Insider reports.
The analysis by Business Insider revealed the fastest shrinking metro areas from 2010 to 2020, citing data from the recent census.
Danville, IIl., is the second fastest shrinking city behind Pine Bluff. Business Insider reports that from 2010 to 2020, the city’s population declined by 9.1 percent. The number of people in Danville is now 74,188, down from 81,625. A CNN article from 2013 stated that Danville’s growth took a hit when General Motors, General Electric and forklift maker Hyster shut down their plants in the 1990s.
The metropolitan area of Cumberland, Md.-W.Va. is the third fastest-shrinking metro area. The population dropped 8 percent over the last decade, starting at 103,299 and going down to 95,044.
In Beckley, W.Va., the population decreased by slightly more than 7.9 percent, now sitting at 115,079 when it was originally 124,898.
Johnstown, Pa. metro area saw a 7.1 percent decline in population, going from 143,679 in 2010 to 133,472 in 2020. Similar to Danville, Johnstown has experienced a population decline since its mills closed decades ago, according to CNN. The area has also lost a significant number of jobs, with an unemployment rate around 10 percent, which has forced many to move elsewhere for work, CNN reports.
Charleston, W.Va., is the sixth fastest shrinking metro area in America, showing a 6.9 percent decline. The previous population was 278,009; it is now 258,859.
San Juan County, N.M., which is home to Farmington, has seen a 6.4 percent decline in population. The population went from 130,044 in 2010 to 121,661 in 2020.
Decatur, Ill., is the eighth fastest shrinking city in the country. In 2010, Decatur had a population of about 110,768, but the 2020 Census recorded a population of 103,998, a 6.1 percent change
Weirton-Steubenville Ohio.-W.V. is the second to last fastest shrinking metro area. The 2010 population was 124,454. It is now 116,903, with a population decline of 6.1 percent. Mayors of this area claim the drop is due to a decline in the steel mill industry.
Wheeling, W.Va.-Ohio is the tenth fastest shrinking metro area. The population was 147,950 in 2010. It is now 139,513, equating to a 5.7 percent decline.
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