The story of a forgotten America.

Biggest Population Losses

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.






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!






6 Comments

Add Yours →

St. Louis
856,796 (1950)
319,294 (2010)
% change: -62.73%
Time Frame: 60 years

East St. Louis
82,366 (1950)
27,006 (2010)
% change: -67.21%
Time Frame: 60 years

Galena, IL
14,000 (1850)
3,429 (2010)
% change: -75.50%
Time frame: 160 years

Prypiat, Ukraine
50,000 (1986)
0 (1986)
% change -`100.00%
Time frame: one week

143,333 (1930)
76,089 (2010)
53% loss. Their population has stabilized, so I would expect that with their ongoing redevelopment projects that Scranton will see an increase for 2020.

Youngstown, Ohio
Peak population: 170,002 (1930)
Current population: 66,982 (2010)
% change: -60.60%
Timeframe: 80 years

Cleveland, Ohio
Peak population: 914,808 (1950)
Current population: 396,815 (2010)
% change: -56.62%
Time frame: 60 years

East Liverpool, Ohio
Peak population: 26,243 (1970)
Current population: 11,195 (2010)
% change: -57.34%
Time frame: 40 years

Welch, West Virginia
Peak population: 6,603 (1950)
Current population: 2,406 (2010)
% change: -63.56%
Time frame: 60 years

Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Peak population: 25,774 (1910)
Current population: 5,071 (2010)
% change: -80.32%
Time frame: 100 years

I'm headed up toward Cairo next week and appreciate your photos and purpose. I plan to do some shots and wondered if you have any advice or things I need to consider about shooting there. Your commitment to this cause is both admirable and valuable.

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