Death happens when municipalities lose the industries and vital populations that made them important cities.

U.S.-MapA city does not die when its last resident moves away. Death happens when municipalities lose the industries and vital populations that made them important cities.

The economy has evolved so much since the middle of the 20th Century that many cities that were among the largest and most vibrant in America have collapsed. Some have lost more than half of their residents. Others have lost the businesses that made them important centers of finance, manufacturing, and commerce.

Most of America’s Ten Dead Cities were once major manufacturing hubs and others were important ports or financial services centers. The downfall of one city, New Orleans, began in the 1970s, but was accelerated by Hurricane Katrina.

Notably, the rise of inexpensive manufacturing in Japan destroyed the ability of the industrial cities on this list to effectively compete in the global marketplace. Foreign business activity and US government policy were two of the three major blows that caused the downfall of these cities. The third was the labor movement and its demands for higher compensation which ballooned the costs of manufacturing in many of these cities as well.

24/7 Wall St. looked at a number of sources in order to select the list. One was the US Census Bureau’s list of largest cities by population by decade from 1950 to 2000 with estimates for 2007. Detroit, for example, had 1.9 million people in 1950 and was the fifth largest city in the nation. By 2000, the figure was 951,000. The city was not even on the top ten list in 2007.

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Source: 24/7 Wall St.