Cities in a State of Rapid Decay

While the mortgage crisis has hit hard in California and other prosperous regions, the cities that are sliding fastest into decline are still in the Rust Belt, with disappearing populations and bleak job prospects.
August 17, 2008, 1pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The turmoil of the mortgage market granted a temporary reprieve from hearing about the woes of America's Rust Belt. That doesn't mean things are better. Despite a decade of national prosperity, the former manufacturing backbone of the U.S. is in rougher shape than ever, still searching for some way to replace its long-stilled smokestacks.

Where's it worst? Ohio, according to our analysis, which racked up four of the 10 cities on our list: Youngstown, Canton, Dayton and Cleveland. The runner-up is Michigan, with two cities - Detroit and Flint - making the ranking.

These, and four other metropolitan statistical areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, face fleeing populations, painful waves of unemployment and barely growing economies. By our measure, they've struggled the worst of any areas in the nation in the 21st century. And they face even bleaker futures."

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Published on Thursday, August 14, 2008 in Forbes
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