After a recent drive through Cairo, Illinois (article forthcoming), and seeing the effects of decades of racial segregation and violence, and then economic decline and population loss, I wondered what other major and minor cities in the United States has experienced such steep and dramatic losses? Besides Cairo, Detroit and Wheeling, I asked my Facebook readers of other examples.


Cairo, Illinois

  • Peak Population: 15, 203 (1920)
  • Recent Population: 2,831 (2010)
  • % Change: -81%
  • Timeframe: 90 years

Detroit, Michigan

  • Peak Population: 1,849,568 (1950)
  • Recent Population: 713,777 (2010)
  • % Change: -61%
  • Timeframe: 60 years

Buffalo, New York

  • Peak Population: 580,132 (1950)
  • Recent Population: 261,310 (2010)
  • % Change: -55%
  • Timeframe: 60 years

Wheeling, West Virginia

  • Peak Population: 61,659 (1930)
  • Recent Population: 28,486 (2010)
  • % Change: -54%
  • Timeframe: 80 years

Clarksburg, West Virginia

  • Peak Population: 32,014 (1950)
  • Recent Population: 16,578 (2010)
  • % Change: -48.2%
  • Timeframe: 60 years

New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Peak Population: 627,525 (1960)
  • Recent Population: 343,829 (2010)
  • % Change: -45.2%
  • Timeframe: 50 years

Huntington, West Virginia

  • Peak Population: 86,353 (1950)
  • Recent Population: 49,138 (2010)
  • % Change: -43%
  • Timeframe: 60 years

Charleston, West Virginia

  • Peak Population: 85,796 (1960)
  • Recent Population: 51,400 (2010)
  • % Change: -40%
  • Timeframe: 50 years

Rochester, New York

  • Peak Population: 332,488 (1950)
  • Recent Population: 210,565 (2010)
  • % Change: -36.6%
  • Timeframe: 60 years

Fairmont, West Virginia

  • Peak Population: 29,346 (1960)
  • Recent Population: 18,704 (2010)
  • % Change: -36.2%
  • Timeframe: 50 years

Gary, Indiana

  • Peak Population: 178,320 (1960)
  • Recent Population: 80,294 (2010)
  • % Change: -54.97%
  • Timeframe: 50 years

Do you have any other examples of cities that have seen such loss? Feel free to chime in below with the city or on the Abandoned Facebook page!