This New York City Has Been Named the Fastest Shrinking City in the State

New York is known for being one of the most populous and diverse states in the country, with a vibrant and dynamic economy. However, not all of its cities are thriving and growing. In fact, some of them are facing significant population decline and economic challenges. One such city is Elmira, located in the southern tier of the state. According to a recent report by Travel A Lot, Elmira is the fastest shrinking city in New York, with a 5.3% decrease in population from 2010 to 2020.

Reasons for the Decline

There are several factors that contribute to Elmira’s population loss and stagnation. One of them is the lack of job opportunities and economic development in the area. Elmira was once a major manufacturing and railroad hub, but many of its industries have declined or moved away over the years. The city has also struggled to attract new businesses and investments, especially in the high-tech and service sectors. As a result, many residents have left the city in search of better employment and living conditions elsewhere.

Another factor is the aging and shrinking of the city’s demographic base. Elmira has a higher proportion of older adults and a lower proportion of young adults and children than the state and national averages. This means that the city has a lower birth rate and a higher death rate, which negatively affects its population growth. Moreover, many young and educated people who grew up in Elmira tend to leave the city after graduating from high school or college, creating a brain drain and a loss of human capital.

A third factor is the quality of life and public services in the city. Elmira has been facing various social and environmental problems, such as crime, poverty, homelessness, drug abuse, pollution, and blight. The city has also been dealing with fiscal and infrastructural issues, such as budget deficits, debt, tax increases, and aging roads, bridges, and buildings. These factors have eroded the city’s attractiveness and livability, and have discouraged people from staying or moving to Elmira.

Possible Solutions and Outlook

Despite the challenges and difficulties, Elmira is not giving up on its future. The city has been working on several initiatives and strategies to revitalize and rejuvenate itself. Some of these include:

  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive plan for economic development, focusing on diversifying and expanding the city’s industrial base, attracting and retaining businesses and entrepreneurs, and creating and supporting jobs and workforce development.
  • Promoting and enhancing the city’s cultural and historical assets, such as its museums, theaters, festivals, and landmarks, and leveraging them to boost tourism and civic pride.
  • Improving and investing in the city’s physical and social infrastructure, such as its transportation, housing, education, health, and public safety systems, and ensuring that they are accessible, affordable, and efficient for all residents and visitors.
  • Engaging and empowering the city’s residents and stakeholders, such as its community organizations, civic groups, educational institutions, and local governments, and fostering collaboration and partnership among them to address the city’s needs and priorities.

Elmira faces a long and uncertain road ahead, but it also has the potential and the opportunity to turn things around and become a more vibrant and prosperous city. By working together and building on its strengths and assets, Elmira can overcome its challenges and achieve its goals.


Elmira is the fastest shrinking city in New York, with a 5.3% decrease in population from 2010 to 2020. This is due to various factors, such as the lack of economic opportunities, the aging and shrinking of the demographic base, and the quality of life and public services in the city. However, Elmira is not hopeless and helpless. The city has been taking steps and measures to revitalize and rejuvenate itself, by focusing on economic development, cultural and historical preservation, infrastructural improvement, and community engagement. Elmira has the potential and the opportunity to become a more vibrant and prosperous city, if it works together and builds on its strengths and assets.

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