People have been abandoning this one-time Rust-Belt industrial powerhouse ever since most of its steel mills closed in the 1970s. Before that, Youngstown had some of the highest-paid factory workers in the nation, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Incomes today are less stellar; they lag the national median by 14%.
Meanwhile, as the population shrank, demand for housing collapsed, pulling down real-estate prices. Immaculate four-bedroom Youngstown colonials can be purchased for a little over $100,000. Fine old homes, badly in need of repair, can sell for $12,000.