Illinois, Alexander County – Largest Population Decrease in the Nation

Alexander County, Illinois Hardest Hit By Population Decline In America 2010-2016

River & train traffic were a major part of the economy in Alexander County, Illinois until the 1950s. Now it mostly pass by the county’s biggest town of Cairo.
Since 2010 no county rural, or otherwise has witnessed as large of a population decrease as Alexander County, Illinois. An estimated 21% drop, this county which sits as far south as you can go in Illinois at the confluence of the Mississippi & Ohio Rivers, has been devastated since the 1950s, losing 76% of its total population in that time frame.
While most of the early population decline was due in part to a decrease in shipping traffic (boat & rail) in its largest town Cairo, the town only accounted for 200 of the 1,760 residents who left in the last 7 years from the mostly agricultural county.
Alexander County is just one of hundreds of rural counties that have seen and continue to see population decline. Lost Americana is dedicated to telling the stories of the places that were and the people who still live there, please help us fund the making of a book & documentary movie by purchasing a photo from one of these places, or making a donation to the project.
 
In the coming weeks we’ll be taking a look at other counties across rural America that have seen large population decreases over the last 6 years. Including:
Blaine County, Oklahoma
Allendale County, South Carolina
Phillips County, Arkansas
A historical marker in Cairo, Illinois, commemorates the exploration of the area by French explorers in 1721