Exploring the 5 Cities in Alabama With the Most Rapid Population Decline

Exploring the 5 Cities in Alabama With the Most Rapid Population Decline

Alabama has witnessed a general increase in population over the last ten years. However, not every county and city within the state has followed this trend.

Some rural and urban areas have faced a decline in population, attributed to factors like limited economic opportunities, inadequate infrastructure, subpar education, elevated crime rates, and environmental challenges.

How Does Alabama Compare With Other States in Terms of Population Growth?

Alabama’s population growth lags behind the national average, ranking 36th among all states. The state witnessed a 6.65% increase in population from 2010 to 2023, placing it as the 27th highest or 24th lowest in growth during that period.

With a population density of 101 people per square mile, Alabama also ranks 27th among states, slightly surpassing the national average of 96 people per square mile. Over the next three decades, Alabama is projected to experience the 17th largest net gain in population, maintaining its position as the 22nd most populous state in the country.

The state is expected to remain the residence of 1.6% of the nation’s residents. In the one-year period ending July 1, 2020, Alabama’s population growth stood at 0.3%, just below the national average.

According to the 2020 census, Atmore, Prichard, Selma, Roanoke, and Fairfield were the five Alabama cities with the most significant population decline among those with over 5,000 residents in the 2010 census.

These cities experienced a decline ranging from 10% to 17.7% over the past decade, impacting their social and economic well-being.

CityCountyPopulation change (2010-2020)


Atmore, situated in Escambia County near the Florida border, has experienced a notable decrease in its state prison population, a demographic that constitutes a substantial portion of its inhabitants. The city grapples with elevated levels of unemployment, poverty, and crime, along with a scarcity of amenities and services.

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Prichard, located in Mobile County and neighboring the city of Mobile, has confronted persistent financial challenges, corruption, and misadministration, resulting in bankruptcy, legal actions, and reductions in services.

Additionally, the city grapples with issues such as a low median income, elevated poverty and crime rates, and subpar educational achievements.

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Selma, situated in Dallas County within the Black Belt region of Alabama, gained prominence for its pivotal role in the civil rights movement.

Exploring the 5 Cities in Alabama With the Most Rapid Population Decline

However, it has encountered ongoing economic and social hurdles, including the decline of manufacturing jobs, racial tensions, political instability, and environmental degradation.

With one of the state’s lowest median incomes and highest poverty rates, Selma faces additional challenges such as underperforming schools and elevated crime rates.

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Roanoke, situated in Randolph County and close to the Georgia border, is a rural community deeply rooted in agriculture and manufacturing.


Unfortunately, the city has experienced a downturn in both industries and has witnessed the departure of young, educated residents in search of more promising prospects elsewhere. Compounding these challenges are issues like aging infrastructure, restricted healthcare accessibility, and a low median income.

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Fairfield, situated in Jefferson County near Birmingham, was formerly a flourishing industrial hub boasting a sizable steel mill, which served as a significant source of employment.

Regrettably, the city has grappled with the downturn in the steel industry and the shutdown of various establishments including a mall, a hospital, and a college.

Compounded by fiscal challenges, Fairfield has been forced into bankruptcy, resulting in reductions in services and layoffs. The city contends with elevated levels of unemployment, poverty, and crime, alongside subpar schools and housing conditions.

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Final Words

In summary, Alabama grapples with both prospects and obstacles concerning population growth. While certain regions witness an upswing in population attributed to economic advancements, immigration, and natural expansion, others face a decline due to job scarcity, inadequate services, heightened crime rates, and environmental issues.

These patterns bear significance for the state’s social, economic, and political trajectory, as well as its impact at regional and national levels. Consequently, it becomes imperative for policymakers, researchers, and citizens to comprehend the origins and repercussions of population shifts in Alabama and actively pursue remedies that can enhance the well-being of all residents.


governor.alabama.gov, 1819news.com, 247wallst.com, worldpopulationreview.com