Five of the top 10 metro areas on the list were West Virginia areas including Wheeling, Charleston, Beckley, and Weirton. Cumberland, Maryland was the fifth area involving the Mountain State on the list of shrinking cities.
Brian Lego, Assistant Professor at WVU at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research appeared on Thursday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ and said most of these areas have been so dependent on just one industry and now that industry is gone.
“In it’s heyday, you would see places like Wheeling, Youngstown, Weirton that all have the steel industry flourishing,” he said. “As time has gone on, that industry has become a smaller shell of itself.”
All metro area numbers were measured from 2010 to 2017.
Down the Ohio River from Weirton is Wheeling, which that area has suffered a 4.5 loss in population change, ranking 8th on the list. The Wheeling area has seen a loss of 3,700 residents due to migration.
on the list HERE
Johnstown, Pennsylvania is 2nd on the list and Youngstown, Ohio is 12 on the list. Lego said many in the top half of the list of 25 are in the same region because this is a cycle that can be hard to break out of.
“It’s a cycle built upon itself,” he said. “You have an area that is doing well, you continue to track business, new jobs are created that create opportunities and become a pull factor for people to move into an area. They move from one place to another and it becomes an opposite condition for areas that are losing industry and losing residents as a result.
“You lose your key employer in an area and all of a sudden the people that are left are faced with problems that could cause a move.”
“Some have tried to produce themselves as niche tourists area or to emphasize some sort growth opportunities for service industries, rather than focusing more on tourism and data servers, farms, those sorts of things.
“Those have cropped up as opportunities for some of the smaller, metro areas that are isolated.”
By Jake Flatley, MetroNews