One study predicted that half of American cities will become “ghost towns” by 2100.

Projections indicate that demographic changes, exacerbated by economic and climate factors, could lead to an increase in the number of cities that could become shadows of their former glory. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

A recent study conducted by researchers from University of IllinoisIn Chicago, he predicts that by 2100, nearly half of America's roughly 30,000 cities will see their populations decline, becoming “ghost towns.” This trend, observed over the past 20 years, suggests that demographic decline could range between 12% and 23% of the current population in these locations, presenting unprecedented challenges.

The impact of this population decline will mean the loss of basic services such as transportation, access to clean water, electricity, and Internet connectivity. In addition, the decrease in the tax base will directly affect the basic services of cities.

Population displacement can create additional challenges by reducing basic resources in areas that are losing population, further complicating their situation. The report notes that although migration can play a vital role, challenges in resource distribution will persist unless there is a paradigm shift away from growth-based planning alone.

Research indicates that cities with lower average incomes are located in the Northeast and Midwest United State They are more likely to experience population decline over time compared to the western and southern regions of the country. It is expected Hawaii And the Capital. They will not suffer any population loss.

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New York Post He stressed that this phenomenon is not only observed in small cities, but also in important urban centers such as Detroit, Cleveland And Saint LouisEven if it is at a moderate or slow pace. While these areas face this decline, nearby “suburban and peri-urban” cities are attracting residents.

This pattern is also recorded in southern urban centres, e.g Columbus, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama And Memphis, Tennessee. Meanwhile, after the epidemic Covid-19There was a migration of populations from traditional democratic countries such as California And New York To the Republican states Sun beltIn an effort to reduce the cost of living and reduce taxes.

On the other hand, a new study has emerged based on five climate scenarios known as: Shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs)established by the sixth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is expected that the population of 40% of cities United State It can grow by 2100. Among the cities that are expected to grow are New York, Angels, atlanta, Houston And more.

An aerial view of an urban center shows the transformation that cities in the United States could undergo by 2100, with estimates suggesting that nearly half of them will experience significant population declines, raising challenges in providing services and maintaining critical infrastructure. (Reuters/Andrew kelly)

The researchers stressed the need to move away from growth-based planning and preserve and provide infrastructure in a sustainable manner for all these cities. Conversely, large cities are less vulnerable to population decline than small cities in remote rural areas.

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Although population trends for the next 76 years remain uncertain, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change He made it clear that we are at a critical juncture and that it is closing rapidly to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change on society. Demographic future for United State The world appears to be heading towards radical change, with ghost towns emerging as a possible landscape on the horizon of 2100.

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