This Unexpected U.S. City Had the Greatest Population Decline in 2020

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It goes without saying that outdoor space (or the idea of it) became an actual mood in 2020. So much so that people fled big cities in search of the country, suburbs, or at the very least, smaller metropolitan areas. Any guess on the U.S. city that experienced the largest population decline? The answer might surprise you.


Shockingly, it's ​not​ Los Angeles or New York City. According to the ​San Francisco Chronicle,​ the most significant exodus came out of Baltimore; the city's head count shrank by 1.42% in 2020. San Francisco scored a close second place, clocking in a 1.39% decline in population.

In third place was San Jose (-1.3%), followed by New York (-1.1%), and Detroit (-0.8%), respectively. Cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles also made the list, logging population drops 0.5% or below.

As for the city that saw the most growth in 2020? The ​San Francisco Chronicle​ reports that Seattle stole first place with an impressive 2.2% rise in population. Apparently, the lush forests and majestic mountains of the Emerald City were highly desirable amid the pandemic.

If you're curious about how other large U.S. cities grew (or shrunk) in 2020, check out the data in ​San Francisco Chronicle'​s tweet here.


Kirsten Nunez is a journalist and author focusing on food, health, and DIY. In May 2014, she published a craft book, "Studs & Pearls: 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion." Her work has appeared on eHow, PopSugar, Shape, VegNews, and more. She lives in Beacon, New York.