Here Are The Big Cities People Don’t Want To Live In 2020– And Where They Actually Do

by Kathy Morris
Rankings - 7 months ago

Find a Job You Really Want In

To get started, tell us where you'd like to work.

Sorry, we can't find that. Please try a different city or state.


Some cities are experiencing a population boom, while others are going bust.

People move for a variety of reason, but more often than not they are seeking to improve their quality of life. Sometimes that may be relocating to a city with a sizzling hot job market, or a more affordable cost of living. Others move for choice school districts or for more pleasant than weather.

Regardless, of the reason, when people move they are voting with their feet. When people leave a city, they take their income and their talent with them, leaving the city with a smaller tax base and all the negative implications that comes with.

We hit the numbers to find the big cities people no longer want to be called home— and the cities that are experiencing a population boom.

The Big Cities People Are Leaving

  1. New York City, NY
  2. Sunrise Manor, NV
  3. Jersey City, NJ
  4. St. Louis, MO
  5. Baton Rouge, LA
  6. Birmingham, Al
  7. Baltimore city, MD
  8. Shreveport city, LA
  9. Yonkers city, NY
  10. Newark city, NJ

New York and New Jersey each have some of their largest cities in the top 10. No surprise, since both Northeastern states are experiencing a population decrease.

Keep reading to see the cities people are flocking to, and just how many people left each of these shrinking cities.

How We Determined The Big Cities No One Wants To Live In 2020

This one was pretty simple. We used population data from the Census’ ACS. We simply calculated the difference between 2018 (the latest year data is available) and 2017 for cities with over 180,000 residents. We totaled the percent decrease or increase based on total population. After all, a thousand residents leaving is very different for New York City and Birmingham.

1. New York City, New York

New York, NY

Source: Wikipedia User Dmitry Avdeev | CC BY-SA 3.0

Population: 8,398,748
Population Decrease: 223,950
Population Decrease %: -2.67%

New York City may be a cultural and economic center in America, but year-over-year the city is losing residents. In fact, according to the last census, the city lost 223,950 residents. New York is known for high cost of living, no doubt that contributed in some way to the almost 3% population decrease. Living in an exciting city full of opportunities in business and arts is nice, but so is buying a home and financial security.

2. Sunrise Manor, Nevada

Sunrise Manor, NV

Source: Wikipedia User Famartin | CC BY-SA 4.0

Population: 188,515
Population Decrease: 4,540
Population Decrease %: -2.41%

Sunrise Manor may be close to all the glamour and glitz of the Vegas strip, but that isn’t enough to keep its residents. While a population loss of 4,540 may seem small to NYC’s exodus, Sunrise Manor still lost 2.4% of their population year over year. As a whole, the state of Nevada is growing, but Sunrise Manor isn’t where all those new residents want to call home.

3. Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City, NJ

Source: Wikipedia User David Jones | CC BY 2.0

Population: 265,560
Population Decrease: 5,190
Population Decrease %: -1.95%

Almost 2% of Jersey City residents packed up and left the city. While Jersey City may seem cheap to New Yorkers, but it’s hardly the most affordable city out there and the state does have hefty taxes.

4. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, MO

Source: Wikipedia User Daderot | GFDL
Source: Public domain

Population: 302,838
Population Decrease: 5,788
Population Decrease %: -1.91%

St. Louis was once the fourth largest city in America. Now, it has a population half that of its peak. While St. Louis residents are passionate defenders of the Arch City, and the city has a lot of cool things going on, from the emerging tech scene in the Cortex to promising new building projects, citizens are still leaving. Many don’t go far, migrating to the county which isn’t incorporated with the city. Of course, those tax dollars leave with them when they go.

5. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge, LA

Source: Public domain

Population: 221,606
Population Decrease: 3,764
Population Decrease %: -1.70%

Baton Rouge is a shrinking city in the shrinking state of Louisiana. While Baton Rouge is the Bayou’s state’s capital and saw a 1.7% decline year over year. As a whole, Louisiana lost jobs from 2017-to-2018 and hasn’t recovered from the Great Recession with the same zest. While Baton Rogue certainly has opportunities and is home to LSU, no doubt the city struggles to offer the economic opportunities of more booming cities.

6. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, AL

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY-SA 3.0

Population: 209,294
Population Decrease: 3,450
Population Decrease %: -1.65%

Birmingham, Alabama is the 6th quickest shrinking big city in the nation. Over, 3,450 residents said “See ya’ll later” and set out for greener pastures. Birmingham is home to UAB and a strong community of young professionals, particularly when compared to its rural neighbors. However, as many young professionals and new graduates will tell you, the city’s competition is Atlanta and Nashville, and the city struggles to compete.

7. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, MD

Source: Wikipedia User Brlaw8 | CC BY-SA 4.0

Population: 602,495
Population Decrease: 9,153
Population Decrease %: -1.52%

Baltimore saw a 1.5% population decrease. Similar to St. Louis, Baltimore isn’t incorporated with their county and has a comparably small metro area. As millennial residents age, many go to the suburbs for schools and more spacious living, trading in their city residency for a country residency. Of course, they take with them their numbers and tax dollars.

8. Shreveport, Louisiana

Shreveport, LA

Source: Public domain

Population: 189,149
Population Decrease: 2,566
Population Decrease %: -1.36%

Shreveport, Louisiana saw a 1.36% decline in population, year over year. While Shreveport has a thriving food scene and warm weather, that wasn’t enough to keep the 2,566 residents who said goodbye. While Shreveport has opportunities available, many clearly see brighter choices elsewhere.

9. Yonkers, New York

Yonkers, NY

Source: Wikipedia User Famartin | CC BY-SA 3.0

Population: 199,646
Population Decrease: 2,362
Population Decrease %: -1.18%

It is no surprise, with the size of NYC’s decline, that Yonkers is seeing a migration as well. The city lose 1% of its residents. While Yonkers may gain some New Yorkers seeking to escape the city’s insane prices, the city is hardly cheap.

10. Newark, New Jersey

Newark, NJ

Source: Wikipedia User Jamaalcobbs at | CC BY-SA 3.0

Population: 282,102
Population Decrease: 3,054
Population Decrease %: -1.08%

Newark saw a 1% decrease in population, with 3,054 residents heading for warmer shores. New Jersey is shrinking as a whole, and while more people left Jersey City, Newark is still experiencing an exodus of its own.

Summary On The Big Cities People Are Leaving

There you have it, the 10 biggest cities people are leaving in droves. People leave cities for all kinds of reasons- but at the core is people seeking better opportunities and to improve their lives. For whatever reason, more people see these cities as lacking opportunities. What cities are experiencing a boom in population and offer burning hot opportunities that pull newcomers in? You see the the top 10 fastest growing big cities below, as well as our ranked list of all the cities we surveyed.

The Big Cities With The Fastest Growing Populations

  1. Enterprise, Nevada
  2. Frisco, Texas
  3. McKinney, Texas
  4. Vancouver, Washington
  5. Tempe, Arizona
  6. Fort Wayne, Indiana
  7. Cape Coral, Florida
  8. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  9. Paradise, Nevada
  10. Ontario city, California

Need more specific or expanded data for a story you’re writing? Email
Cities With The Largest Population Changes, From Largest Decrease To Greatest Increase

City/Area Population Change
New York city, New York -2.67%
Sunrise Manor CDP, Nevada -2.41%
Jersey City city, New Jersey -1.95%
St. Louis city, Missouri -1.91%
Baton Rouge city, Louisiana -1.70%
Birmingham city, Alabama -1.65%
Baltimore city, Maryland -1.52%
Shreveport city, Louisiana -1.36%
Yonkers city, New York -1.18%
Newark city, New Jersey -1.08%
Anchorage municipality, Alaska -0.97%
Laredo city, Texas -0.93%
Buffalo city, New York -0.89%
Urban Honolulu CDP, Hawaii -0.86%
Rochester city, New York -0.85%
Glendale city, California -0.84%
Montgomery city, Alabama -0.66%
Huntington Beach city, California -0.61%
New Orleans city, Louisiana -0.58%
Milwaukee city, Wisconsin -0.57%
Toledo city, Ohio -0.55%
San Jose city, California -0.51%
San Bernardino city, California -0.49%
Cleveland city, Ohio -0.46%
Pittsburgh city, Pennsylvania -0.46%
Long Beach city, California -0.45%
Santa Ana city, California -0.42%
Chicago city, Illinois -0.39%
Santa Clarita city, California -0.38%
Mobile city, Alabama -0.37%
Little Rock city, Arkansas -0.37%
Wichita city, Kansas -0.34%
Hialeah city, Florida -0.31%
Tulsa city, Oklahoma -0.28%
Norfolk city, Virginia -0.26%
Memphis city, Tennessee -0.25%
Des Moines city, Iowa -0.24%
Los Angeles city, California -0.23%
Fayetteville city, North Carolina -0.21%
Louisville/Jefferson County metro government (balance), Kentucky -0.19%
El Paso city, Texas -0.13%
Anaheim city, California -0.12%
San Francisco city, California -0.12%
Oxnard city, California -0.07%
Nashville-Davidson metropolitan government (balance), Tennessee -0.07%
Detroit city, Michigan -0.06%
Virginia Beach city, Virginia -0.05%
Salt Lake City city, Utah 0.02%
Columbus city, Georgia 0.05%
Brownsville city, Texas 0.05%
Akron city, Ohio 0.09%
Knoxville city, Tennessee 0.09%
Worcester city, Massachusetts 0.11%
Amarillo city, Texas 0.16%
Philadelphia city, Pennsylvania 0.21%
Stockton city, California 0.23%
Augusta-Richmond County consolidated government (balance), Georgia 0.23%
Omaha city, Nebraska 0.29%
Dallas city, Texas 0.30%
Corpus Christi city, Texas 0.30%
Albuquerque city, New Mexico 0.30%
St. Paul city, Minnesota 0.36%
Modesto city, California 0.38%
Grand Prairie city, Texas 0.40%
Arlington city, Texas 0.43%
Cincinnati city, Ohio 0.43%
Chula Vista city, California 0.44%
San Diego city, California 0.46%
Las Vegas city, Nevada 0.46%
Fresno city, California 0.50%
Houston city, Texas 0.55%
Lexington-Fayette urban county, Kentucky 0.56%
Kansas City city, Missouri 0.61%
Overland Park city, Kansas 0.66%
Portland city, Oregon 0.68%
St. Petersburg city, Florida 0.70%
Winston-Salem city, North Carolina 0.71%
Bakersfield city, California 0.71%
Grand Rapids city, Michigan 0.71%
Riverside city, California 0.71%
Minneapolis city, Minnesota 0.72%
Richmond city, Virginia 0.77%
Irving city, Texas 0.77%
Indianapolis city (balance), Indiana 0.78%
Lubbock city, Texas 0.78%
Chattanooga city, Tennessee 0.79%
Reno city, Nevada 0.85%
Plano city, Texas 0.85%
Moreno Valley city, California 0.88%
Fontana city, California 0.90%
Oklahoma City city, Oklahoma 0.90%
Oakland city, California 0.91%
Chesapeake city, Virginia 0.92%
Lincoln city, Nebraska 0.93%
Spokane city, Washington 0.96%
Boise City city, Idaho 0.98%
Arlington CDP, Virginia 1.08%
Madison city, Wisconsin 1.08%
Raleigh city, North Carolina 1.18%
Fremont city, California 1.20%
Washington city, District of Columbia 1.21%
North Las Vegas city, Nevada 1.22%
Tallahassee city, Florida 1.30%
Sacramento city, California 1.30%
Jacksonville city, Florida 1.31%
Tacoma city, Washington 1.32%
San Antonio city, Texas 1.32%
Spring Valley CDP, Nevada 1.35%
Fort Lauderdale city, Florida 1.39%
Austin city, Texas 1.40%
Chandler city, Arizona 1.44%
Greensboro city, North Carolina 1.54%
Charlotte city, North Carolina 1.54%
Columbus city, Ohio 1.56%
Glendale city, Arizona 1.59%
Miami city, Florida 1.60%
Denver city, Colorado 1.66%
Aurora city, Colorado 1.67%
Colorado Springs city, Colorado 1.73%
Irvine city, California 1.82%
Boston city, Massachusetts 1.86%
Aurora city, Illinois 1.86%
Tucson city, Arizona 1.89%
Tampa city, Florida 1.90%
Orlando city, Florida 1.91%
Garland city, Texas 1.98%
Phoenix city, Arizona 2.06%
Scottsdale city, Arizona 2.10%
Huntsville city, Alabama 2.22%
Atlanta city, Georgia 2.36%
Gilbert town, Arizona 2.38%
Durham city, North Carolina 2.39%
Mesa city, Arizona 2.47%
Henderson city, Nevada 2.53%
Fort Worth city, Texas 2.54%
Seattle city, Washington 2.71%
Sioux Falls city, South Dakota 2.75%
Ontario city, California 2.91%
Paradise CDP, Nevada 2.95%
Port St. Lucie city, Florida 3.03%
Cape Coral city, Florida 3.16%
Fort Wayne city, Indiana 3.55%
Tempe city, Arizona 3.81%
Vancouver city, Washington 4.02%
McKinney city, Texas 5.39%
Frisco city, Texas 5.78%
Enterprise CDP, Nevada 10.19%
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time