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Ultimate Rust Belt City Quiz

America's Rust Belt region was the backbone of American industries, jobs, and production. After the 1960s, many of these major cities and towns declined in population and economic growth. Can you name the largest cities in the Rust Belt over 80,000 people and other notable cities that suffered this economic downturn?
Source is based off of this map from Belt Magazine
Quiz by UG332
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Last updated: May 1, 2021
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First submittedMarch 22, 2021
Times taken8,257
Average score27.1%
Rating4.56
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Biggest Cities (80k+)
City
State
2019 Population
Peak Population
Loss of Population
Year of Peak Population
Chicago
IL
2,693,976
3,620,962
-926,986
1950
Columbus
OH
898,553
898,553
0
2019
Detroit
MI
670,031
1,849,568
-1,179,537
1950
Milwaukee
WI
590,157
741,324
-151,167
1960
Cleveland
OH
381,009
914,808
-533,799
1950
Cincinnati
OH
303,940
503,998
-200,058
1950
St. Louis
MO
300,576
856,796
-556,220
1950
Pittsburgh
PA
300,286
676,806
-376,520
1950
Toledo
OH
272,779
383,818
-111,039
1970
Fort Wayne
IN
270,402
270,402
0
2019
Buffalo
NY
255,284
580,132
-324,848
1950
Rochester
NY
205,695
332,488
-126,792
1950
Grand Rapids
MI
201,013
201,013
0
2019
Aurora
IL
197,757
197,899
-142
2010
Akron
OH
197,597
290,351
-92,754
1960
Naperville
IL
148,449
148,449
0
2019
Joliet
IL
147,344
147,459
-155
2010
Rockford
IL
145,609
152,871
-7,262
2010
Syracuse
NY
142,327
220,583
-78,256
1950
Dayton
OH
140,407
262,332
-121,925
1960
Warren
MI
133,943
179,260
-45,317
1970
Sterling Heights
MI
132,438
132,438
0
2019
Ann Arbor
MI
119,980
119,980
0
2019
Lansing
MI
118,210
131,403
-13,193
1960
Evansville
IN
117,979
141,543
-23,564
1960
Elgin
IL
110,849
110,849
0
2019
Peoria
IL
110,417
115,007
-4,590
2000
South Bend
IN
102,026
132,445
-30,419
1960
Davenport
IA
101,590
103,264
-1,674
1980
Kenosha
WI
99,218
99,218
0
2010
Flint
MI
95,538
196,940
-101,402
1960
Erie
PA
95,508
138,440
-42,932
1960
Dearborn
MI
93,932
112,007
-18,075
1960
Livonia
MI
93,665
110,109
-16,444
1970
Champaign
IL
88,909
88,909
0
2019
Waukegan
IL
86,075
89,426
-3,351
2000
Troy
MI
84,092
84,092
0
2019
Racine
WI
81,855
95,162
-13,307
1970
Westland
MI
81,511
86,749
-5,238
1970
Cicero
IL
80,976
85,616
-4,640
2000
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Cities
City
State
2019 Population
Peak Population
Loss of Population
Year of Peak Population
Parma
OH
78,103
100,216
-22,113
1970
Bloomington
IL
77,330
77,330
0
2019
Scranton
PA
76,653
143,433
-66,780
1930
Kalamazoo
MI
76,200
85,555
-9,355
1970
Hammond
IN
75,522
111,698
-36,176
1960
Gary
IN
74,879
178,320
-103,441
1960
Lafayette
IN
71,721
71,721
0
2019
Decatur
IL
70,746
94,081
-23,335
1980
Canton
OH
70,447
116,912
-46,465
1950
Muncie
IN
67,999
76,460
-8,461
1980
Youngstown
OH
65,469
170,002
-104,533
1930
Schenectady
NY
65,273
95,692
-30,419
1930
Lorain
OH
63,855
78,185
-14,330
1970
Janesville
WI
63,575
63,575
0
2019
Owensboro
KY
60,131
60,131
0
2019
Utica
NY
59,750
101,740
-41,990
1930
Pontiac
MI
59,438
85,279
-25,841
1970
Kokomo
IN
58,020
58,020
0
2019
Anderson
IN
54,765
70,787
-16,022
1970
Elkhart
IN
52,358
52,358
0
2019
Battle Creek
MI
51,093
53,540
-2,447
1990
New Castle
PA
48,834
21,618
-27,216
1950
Middletown
OH
48,807
51,605
-2,798
2000
Saginaw
MI
48,115
98,265
-50,150
1960
Mansfield
OH
46,599
55,047
-8,448
1970
Huntington
WV
45,110
86,353
-41,243
1950
Binghamton
NY
44,399
80,674
-36,275
1950
Altoona
PA
43,364
82,054
-38,690
1930
Wilkes-Barre
PA
40,766
86,626
-45,860
1930
Covington
KY
40,341
65,252
-24.911
1930
Warren
OH
38,752
63,494
-24,742
1970
Beloit
WI
36,966
36,966
0
2019
Lima
OH
36,659
53,734
-17,075
1970
Muskegon
MI
36,565
48,429
-11,864
1950
Richmond
IN
35,342
44,149
-8,807
1960
Jackson
MI
32,440
55,187
-22,747
1930
Michigan City
IN
31,015
39,369
-8.354
1970
Danville
IL
30,479
42,570
-12,091
1970
Galesburg
IL
30,197
37,243
-7,046
1960
Parkersburg
WV
29,306
44,797
-15,491
1960
Jamestown
NY
29,058
45,155
-16,097
1930
Port Huron
MI
28,749
36,084
-7,335
1960
Williamsport
PA
28,186
45,729
-17,543
1930
Alton
IL
27,865
43,047
-16,839
1960
Wheeling
WV
26,430
61,659
-35,229
1930
Zanesville
OH
25,158
40,517
-15,359
1970
Carbondale
IL
25,083
27,033
-1,970
1990
Sandusky
OH
24,564
32,674
-8,110
1970
Alliance
OH
21,446
28,362
-6,916
1960
Ypsilanti
MI
20,171
29,538
-9,367
1970
Johnstown
PA
19,195
67,327
-48,132
1920
Steubenville
OH
17,753
37,651
-19,898
1940
Beckley
WV
15,940
20,492
-4,552
1980
Clarksburg
WV
15,225
32,014
16,789
1950
Sharon
PA
12,933
25,908
-12.975
1930
Latrobe
PA
7,830
11,932
-4,102
1960
+6
Level 67
Mar 22, 2021
This is a crazy quiz! Gotta find some time where I could try it.
+5
Level 76
Mar 23, 2021
Fantastic quiz UG! Nominated.
+5
Level 58
Mar 27, 2021
Great idea and map! :)
+14
Level 60
Mar 27, 2021
The best thing about this quiz is it's details and stats about the cities peak population and the loss of population and the year which makes it astonishing and very interesting to read and understand the quiz. Really loved it, deserves to be featured (。•̀ᴗ-)✧
+17
Level 76
Apr 2, 2021
I'd suggest expanding to Allentown and Bethlehem PA. Both were heavy industry towns; Bethlehem steel was known around the world.
+5
Level 87
Apr 3, 2021
Niagara Falls is another one. The city's Love Canal was a disastrous turning point in industrial pollution.
+4
Level 67
May 1, 2021
Yeah, Allentown and Bethlehem were on the quiz before, they were asked to be removed, sorry about that
+4
Level 83
Apr 5, 2021
Have to add my vote for Allentown - it even had a hit song about it falling on hard times!
+2
Level 60
Apr 12, 2021
I love that town, Bethlehem too.
+3
Level 82
Apr 11, 2021
Agreed. Bethlehem steel was well known. Allentown wasn't just featured in a Billy Joel song, that stuff really happened, and it nearly died and then revived. And don't forget Centralia. Granted, the town was never that big, but it is still on fire. How much more industrial do you get than having your city's underground coal mine catch fire and burn for about six decades?
+5
Level 84
May 1, 2021
My dad grew up around Youngstown, New Castle, and Boardman. First two appear on the quiz. Grandfather was a steel worker.
+3
Level 71
May 1, 2021
Amazing quiz! I absolutely love the way you color-coded the map. I agree with everyone that Allentown and Bethlehem should be on here though. I noticed on the map that it is considered "Recovered Rust Belt," which is pretty accurate in my experiences--they're pretty nice places overall but they still got the feel of older, industrial, blue-collar towns.

Anyways, can you please explain why they were removed? I'm not pushing you to put it back on if they got removed for a good reason, I just want to hear more about it.

+4
Level 67
May 2, 2021
yeah, they were just requested to be removed from the QM when he wanted to feature the quiz. I'll shoot him an email and ask him if its ok if I add them back on the quiz again, it seems to be a popular opinion
+4
Level 68
Apr 3, 2021
Excellent quiz! One small thing: Saginaw is in the wrong place. It should be closer to Sagniaw Bay (although not right on the bay) and basically directly north of Flint.
+5
Level 80
Apr 16, 2021
I was going to add the same thing. It's called Saginaw Bay for a reason. I kept guessing Midland and Mount Pleasant.
+4
Level 62
Apr 18, 2021
Yeah, I missed it because of that. I also missed Binghamton because I thought it was spelled Binghampton.
+2
Level 45
Apr 3, 2021
There's definitely quite a few you're going to know first try by only being a local.
+3
Level 89
Apr 4, 2021
Covington is in Kentucky. Nice quiz though.
+1
Level 74
May 1, 2021
Nope, the dot is in the right place if you look closely. It's right over the border line.
+3
Level 86
May 2, 2021
Burt wasn't referring to the dot on the map. In the chart, it listed Covington's state as OH. It's been fixed now anyway...
+4
Level 62
Apr 18, 2021
Can you accept Urbana for Champaign and Binghampton?
+2
Level 73
May 1, 2021
Dayton is in Ohio, not Illinois.
+2
Level 53
May 1, 2021
My hometown made it onto a JetPunk quiz! Danville, IL.
+5
Level 73
May 1, 2021
This quiz is missing East St. Louis. Tons of smaller cities than that are included on this quiz, it had a peak population of 82,000 at the 1950 census, and it lost tons of industrial jobs and should qualify as part of the Rust Belt (St. Louis is included...). Johnstown, PA could also be included, although its max population was 66,000 (still bigger than some on this quiz).
+3
Level 78
May 1, 2021
Lazy Scranton, the Electric City, they call it that 'cause of the electricity.
+5
Level 59
May 3, 2021
-Wayne Gretzky

-Michael Scott

+3
Level 61
May 2, 2021
All of these people moved to Phoenix and had to buy those reflective windshield screens for their sedans. And shorts.
+2
Level 57
May 2, 2021
Some allowance for spelling might be good. I kept spelling "Lorain" wrong (like Lorraine).
+4
Level 67
May 2, 2021
Great quiz, the population figures are really depressing though. All these places that died and are never coming back.
+2
Level 83
May 3, 2021
Why stop at the border? Across from the Niagara River is St Catherines, Hamilton, Brantford and across from Detroit is Windsor. All were solid factory towns -- steel, farm machinery and of course cars. The population decline wasn't as steep but the good paying blue collar jobs disappeared in the same way.
+2
Level 67
May 3, 2021
It's because Canadian cities were never included in the rust belt region, they might have had similar histories, but I wanted to reserve this quiz for places that are associated with it.
+2
Level 72
May 3, 2021
Very interesting quiz to take and look into, thanks for the effort.

BTW, New Castle's 2019 population and peak population seem to be switched round.

+2
Level 60
May 4, 2021
I grew up in Scranton and it's really brutal to see the decline of a city that was once so critical to the US. On that subject, you might consider adding Honesdale or Carbondale, since sometimes the greater "metro" area will include those in the name. Not really essential though.
+1
Level 49
Jun 10, 2022
You have the populations switched for New Castle, Pennsylvania.