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Top 10 Cities Losing Population Since 2000 in the United States

OzymandiasTo watch majestic cities decline is never fun. New Orleans took it’s hit with the natural devastation of Hurricane Katrina and can come back, but what will happen to great cities like Detroit that are crumbling under the mismanagement of auto executives and union representatives?

The rust belt cities have taken a huge hit during the last decade as industry leaves and people flee for better opportunities. The crashing of cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati have slid under the radar of Detroit’s epic fall. Even mighty Chicago has lost 200,000 residents.

What is even worse for these cities is they all have huge public works infrastructures that are driving taxes even higher as their populace flees. Most of the cities are highly unionized in both the public and private sector so there is very little flexibility to improvise and improve their lot.

Instead, they watch their mobile, productive citizens flee and are left trying to keep the cities moving forward.

What mayor will be the next Ozymandias? (Poem below)

Top 10 Cities Losing Population Since 2000 in the United States 

City             2010        +/- Since 2000     % Change

New Orleans     343,829         -140,845        -29.1
Detroit         713,777         -237,493        -25.0
Cleveland       396,815         -81,588         -17.1
Cincinnati      296,943         -34,342         -10.4
Pittsburgh      305,704         -28,859         -08.6
Toledo          287,208         -26,411         -08.4
St. Louis       319,294         -28,895         -08.3
Chicago         2,695,598       -200,418        -06.9
Baltimore       620,961         -30,193         -04.6
Santa Ana`      324,528         -13,449         -04.0
Via US Census bureau via the WJS



I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


  1. Tom – you're so right about Detroit. To think that in the 1950s, Detroit was like Silicon Valley, and had nearly 1.8 million people. Most of them are now gone, yet the city government is nearly the same size. Over in the Ann Arbor area where I work, we see many clients who work in Detroit but choose to live elsewhere. A watershed moment will one day come and shake Detroit to its core, which will mark the beginning of its resurgence as a thriving city. It can't come soon enough.

  2. atlantismortgage

    Thanks for the post. Even though Detroit has had its ups and downs—the city has promise. With the introduction of green technologies and the redefinition of the city (and state) Detroit and Michigan will once again rise to prominence. You must also consider Detroit has decreased it's city limits, which obviously would change the numbers.


  3. Understandable the Katrina devastation would drive folks out of New Orleans. I was there in 2010 for the KW Family Reunion. On the drive in, it was apparent that rebuilding in the 9th Ward was far from over.

  4. Thanks for the post. most of the city has to switch to green tech option or they had to make some adjustment if they do not want to loose people from the cities.

  5. Ya sure Every thing here had come to decay here. No one permanent here. As you gave the example of Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "OZYMANDIAS".

  6. Probably they will have to make these cities attractive to live for people .People attract due to cost,quality of life,amenities nearby,etc etc.So govt should focus on these things and they will be able to fetch back the lost population.

  7. The main reason why people move to a place is employment. If any of these cities do not begin to gain back the industries they have lost during the recession, the people have no other choice but to move away. They do have families to feed.

  8. Very interesting post here. I agree with Vanessa about people following jobs.

    Great blog,Tom!

  9. they have to do something before populations really drops. definitely, employment is the reason why certain individuals move from a place to another. if they think that place is not going somewhere to their finances then surely they will leave.

  10. New Orleans makes sense that it is #1. Great city though. Lots of culture as well!

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