20 Cities Where The American Dream is Fading Fast

America used to be full to the brim of cities with prosperity, wealth, and technological advances. Now, it seems the American dream is starting to die out in some cities thanks to higher crime rates, fewer employment opportunities, and a decline in manufacturing industries. Here are 20 cities where that’s happening.

Rochester, New York

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Rochester used to be a great hub for photography in the 1980s. For example, DNYUZ writes, “Digital photography was still in its infancy then and the Eastman Kodak Company, maker of the world’s best photographic film, was riding high.” In the present day, Eastman Kodak has started to decline, having a huge impact on the economy.

Detroit, Michigan

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Detroit has seen a significant drop in residents out-earning their parents compared to fifty years ago. There’s been a reduction in middle-class opportunities and the fading of the once-buzzing manufacturing sector. The city has had trouble adapting to technological advances and economic changes.

Cleveland, Ohio

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There are high unemployment rates and economic stagnation in Cleveland. The city has had struggles transitioning from traditional companies to those that are more technological. It’s not been able to keep up with technology, which is constantly changing. Cleveland is in need of new policies to target worker training and employment opportunities.

St. Louis, Missouri

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There’s been a high amount of economic hardship in St. Louis, which, according to STLPR, has caused the city to lose around 19,000 residents between 2020 and 2022. The city saw major industry declines, resulting in many job losses. It shows the importance of investing in education and skill development in the workplace.

Baltimore, Maryland

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Baltimore has seen economic disparities and high unemployment rates affecting the city’s growth, and these have led to the American dream fading in the city. To recover, Baltimore needs to target economic policies and revitalization projects. The city’s declining employment rates show the importance of addressing social and economic equalities.

Buffalo, New York

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Buffalo has faced struggles with post-industrial decline and a loss in population. It’s had challenges trying to diversify the economy, and it hasn’t promoted new technologies. To feel like a part of the American dream again, the city needs to refresh its urban areas and invest in high-tech sectors.

Cincinnati, Ohio

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Economic transitions in Cincinnati have impacted job opportunities and income levels, causing people to lose hope in the American dream. These declines in Cincinnati show the importance of diversifying the economy and staying up to date with technology. The city needs to improve its education and training programs and match job market demands.

Flint, Michigan

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The American Economic Association writes, “Damage to the Flint housing market can be added to the list of long-term costs.” Flint has had persistent economic struggles along with the impact of the water crisis, which has caused many residents to suffer from health issues. There’s also been a decline in the auto industry, which has shown the need for economic diversity.

Gary, Indiana

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The decline of the steel industry has led to high unemployment and poverty rates in Gary. There have been many challenges in urban renewal across the city, with Gary needing help to attract new investments. Instead, Gary should look to invest in its education sector for skill development.

Youngstown, Ohio

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Just like Gary, Youngstown also saw a dramatic decline in the steel industry, and this had a severe impact on the economy. The city has faced challenges in trying to create jobs and maintain its population levels, with residents choosing to leave the state as work dried up.

Toledo, Ohio

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Toledo saw the American dream begin to fade with its industrial decline. For example, Midstory writes, “In 1977, Lucas County had almost 40,000 production manufacturing workers, with nearly 36,000 in Toledo alone. According to the Economic Census, in 2017, Lucas County had just over 17,000 production workers.”

Scranton, Pennsylvania

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Scranton started to face economic hardships with the decline of the coal and manufacturing industries. The city struggles to attract new investments and businesses, which has only caused it to decline even further. It shows the importance of community efforts in the city and support from the government to get the city back on track.

Akron, Ohio

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Akron used to have profitable industries in rubber manufacturing; however, as technologies began to advance, this industry declined. Now, the city faces challenges in terms of economic diversity and being able to create new jobs for its residents. It shows the importance of investing in new technologies.

Syracuse, New York

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WSWS writes about Syracuse, “Unemployment remains high. Many of the jobs created since 2008 pay low wages with few, if any, benefits. Those seeking work generally find that decent jobs with benefits are scarce or nonexistent.” Syracuse needs to try and attract new industries to keep up with the American dream.

Erie, Pennsylvania

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Erie has seen an economic decline due to its reduction in manufacturing jobs. The city has found challenges in trying to attract new investments to aid its business growth. It shows the importance of policy initiatives that help with community efforts for urban revival.

Allentown, Pennsylvania

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Allentown has struggled with post-industrial decline and economic stagnation. There have been challenges for the city when it comes to diversifying its economy, as it relies heavily on the manufacturing sector. Allentown needs to create new job opportunities to get back on track; however, this is easier said than done.

Reading, Pennsylvania

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In These Times reports, “The number of people living in poverty, defined as earning less than $18,500 for a parent and two children, has reached a record high for the 52 years the Census Bureau has been keeping records.” Reading has seen a rapid decline due to its industrial slump, which is contributing to unemployment rates.

Trenton, New Jersey

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Trenton has seen a dramatic decline in industrial jobs, which has caused economic issues for the city. Trenton used to be a leading city for the manufacturing of iron, rubber, and ceramics. It started to see a gradual decline in the 1920s, and since then it hasn’t been able to get back on track.

Camden, New Jersey

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Camden has high poverty rates and has faced challenges in its urbanization. This is supported by Data USA, which writes, “33.6% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in Camden, NJ (23.6k out of 70.2k people) live below the poverty line, a number that is higher than the national average of 12.6%.”

Atlantic City, New Jersey

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Atlantic City has seen challenges with its economy because of the decline in the casino industry. US News backs this, stating, “Atlantic City’s casinos and two internet-only entities earned $281.2 million in the third quarter of this year, a decline of 7.5% from the same period a year ago.” CF

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