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7 fastest shrinking cities

Whether it's due to crime, a lack of jobs or Mother Nature, these cities lost residents faster than any others last year, according to the Census Bureau.

Joplin, Mo.

shrinking cities joplin missouri
  • 1-year population change: -1.3%
  • Change from 2000 to 2010: 12.3%

Typically, populations decline gradually. But in Joplin, Mo., the drop occurred almost instantly in May 2011, when one of the most destructive tornadoes in U.S. history struck the area.

The storm killed 161 people and destroyed more than 7,000 homes. In some neighborhoods, nearly every home was flattened.

"Many people had to move to surrounding cities -- but they're rebuilding in Joplin," said Melodee Colbert-Kean, Joplin's mayor.

Until the tornado, population growth had been strong for decades, increasing 57% since 1970.

But the town is working on getting back on its feet. A transportation hub, large trucking firms, like Con-way Truckload with its 2,700 workers and Standard Transportation with six locations, have set up shop there.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Population loss is over the 12 months ending July 1, 2012.
  @CNNMoney - Last updated April 05 2013 09:58 AM ET

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