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The 15 Most Abandoned Cities in the US

The recession has caused many Americans to see things differently, and in some cases, things literally appear to be different. As the business atmosphere continues to morph, the cities central to lagging industries have visibly suffered. Empty is hardly the first word I think of when I hear Las Vegas, but it shows up as number two on Forbes' list of the 15 emptiest cities in America. Forbes looked at the rental and homeowner vacancy rates for the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the country to determine the rankings, and here are the results.

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Atlanta, GA
  4. Greensboro, NC
  5. Dayton, OH
  6. Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, AZ
  7. Orlando, FL
  8. Kansas City, MO/Kansas City, KS
  9. Indianapolis, IN/Jacksonville, FL
  10. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Beach, FL
  11. Chicago/Naperville/Joliet, IL
  12. Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL
  13. Bakersfield, CA
  14. Charlotte/Gastonia/Concord, NC/Cincinnati, OH/Middletown, KY


Join The Conversation
Niami Niami 8 years
I'd like to see Boston empty out a bit. sheesh
amloveaffair amloveaffair 8 years
Not surprised to see Dayton or Cinci on there, those cities are scary. I am surprised to see Indy on there though!
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 8 years
guess that's why we can't sell our house near Phx... no one wants to live here anymore :o(
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 8 years
I'm not shocked to see Atlanta on the list. There are WHOLE subdivisions that have only a few homes sold - the rest of the homes are empty. The builders here seemed to have no clue that people weren't buying yet kept building. Only in about June 2008 did they finally stop building. Plus, they weren't building affordable (>$200K) housing, all the homes are $250K + with the majority being in the 500K range.
bluebird bluebird 8 years
I'm only somewhat surprised to see the Chicagoland area on this list; it seems like every time I go home to visit my family a new subdivision has been built, but they're all ridiculously expensive.
honeycreepshow honeycreepshow 8 years
I live in Kansas City, and I do love it here.
Alithyra Alithyra 8 years
I'm not surprised to see both Dayton and Cincinnati on this list. I live in the area and I constantly see houses for sale and foreclosures happening. The entire area is even more depressed than usual. Everyone has been hit hard. There are places to go and things to do, though, if you know where to look. We're not NYC or LA, but we get by.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Spectra Spectra 8 years
My husband just got back from a business trip to Yuma and while he was there, he took a road trip to Phoenix. It's one of those areas that has a lot of job opportunities in the winter when all the snow-birds come in, but in the summer there is nothing. Lots of people are deciding to live elsewhere. And I'm definitely not surprised about Detroit making that list. No one would live there unless they had a job's kind of a craphole of a town.
Frenched Frenched 8 years
Vegas, really?! That's sad. I go there really often and it's usually very crowded. At least it's a good time to be getting good deals there...
Spiderlove Spiderlove 8 years
I live dead center between Miami and Ft Lauderdale... there are TONS of unsold homes.... but I would hardly categorize it as "empty" or a ghost
julieulie julieulie 8 years
I am not shocked at all to see Dayton on the list -- 4 or 5 years ago, I had to spend a week there, and it was one of the most depressing places I've ever had to visit. The whole city was like a ghost town.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Very interesting, no Boston in sight!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
it's really interesting to see the top cities on this list. i just moved back to NYC from Ft Lauderdale (or boca really) and i can understand why it's being hard hit. it's a great place to live for the weather, but there are such limited opportunities for work that you kind of have to move away if you want to make money and see success. i hope that things turn around soon though.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I'm surprised that Dayton is one of the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the country. But, I'm not surprised that it is so abandoned. I went to school there and, while campus and the surrounding area are great, there are only a few areas downtown that are fun places to be. The city has a lot of potential, though. I hope it can experience a revitalization.
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