Johnstown Shrugged

March 10th, 2011

I have now lived in Johnstown, PA for 1.5 years. Last year I asked why people still lived in this depressed area.

But why do people still choose to live here despite all of the risks? By all reasonable measures, this city should have no population. Furthermore, the city has been economically distressed for decades, and poverty is rampant.

Looks like people are leaving, in droves. From the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat (the only paper in town):

Cambria County [the County Johnstown is in] lost nearly 6 percent of its population in the last decade, the fifth-biggest such decline among all counties statewide, new census data shows.

And of the county’s 8,919 lost residents, Johnstown played a big part: The city’s population dropped by 2,928, or more than 12 percent.

But Johnstown again stands out because of the sheer size of its decline. The once-bustling city, which could boast of more than 60,000 people in 1950, now is in danger of dropping below 20,000 in the next census.

I guess former-Johnstowners took the hint and voted with their feet.