Why No One Lives in These Illinois Empty Cities

In addition to having a rich cultural past, Illinois is home to some of the nation’s most dangerous and abandoned communities. Why are these once-thriving locations desolate and falling apart, and what happened to them? These are a few of the causes of these Illinois cities’ demise.

Cairo: An Interesting Past, but a Dreadful Future

The town of Cairo is situated where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers converge in the southernmost point of Illinois. In the 1940s, it had a population of over 15,000 and was a thriving river port. A cultural icon, it was also mentioned in the writings of Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. However, several reasons contributed to Cairo’s sharp decline in fortunes in the latter part of the 20th century:

Cairo’s status as a trading hub was diminished by the building of an interstate highway and railroad bridge that avoided the city.
the outbreak of racial unrest and violence in the 1960s, which resulted in riots, white flight, and boycotts.
the loss of jobs and money for many locals caused by the closure of significant enterprises, including the paper mill, foam plant, and hospital.
With a population of less than 2,000 and the majority of its buildings locked up or destroyed, Cairo is essentially a ghost town these days. The town lacks a bank, grocery shop, petrol station, and police force. It is a depressing illustration of how a town with an interesting past may have a bleak future.

Markham: A Poor Quality of Life and High Crime Area

Roughly 11,700 people are living in the Cook County, Illinois, area known as Markham. With a violent crime rate of 1,492 per 100,000 residents and a property crime rate of 4,507 per 100,000 residents, it is among the most hazardous cities in the state. The national averages for these rates are 2,110 and 367, respectively, which are significantly higher. With a poverty rate of 22%, an unemployment rate of 12%, and a typical household income of $40,000, Markham also has a low standard of living. The fact that Markham is surrounded by high-crime communities like Harvey, Dixmoor, and Phoenix contributes to some of its troubles. Markham has long been beset with incompetence and corruption, which makes up part of the city’s governance issues. For instance, the mayor of Markham was ousted from office in 2017 following a conviction for fraud and bribery. Since there is no opportunity or hope for its citizens in Markham, many of them decide to avoid or leave the city.

Other Cities in the Eclipse’s 2024 Path of Totality

The impending complete solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, is one of the few events that can draw tourists to some of the deserted cities in Illinois. The state’s limited road, which passes through some of the nation’s most abandoned and forlorn cities, will provide views of this unusual astronomical occurrence. Among the cities that will witness totality are, for instance:

  • The majority of the residents of Centralia, a former coal mining town, left after a mine fire in 1962.
  • Metropolis is a barren town with little more to offer than the claim that it is home to Superman.
  • Carbondale is a college town that has been beset by budget cuts, violence, and dwindling enrollment.
  • These communities may have a brief increase in visitors and income during the eclipse, but any long-term advantages or rebirth are
  • improbable. These serve as illustrations of how, even at night, some of Illinois’ abandoned cities provide little to look forward to.

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By Caleb Anderson

Caleb, a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling, has dedicated his career to bringing the latest news to the public. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to unbiased reporting, He navigates the dynamic world of journalism, covering a wide range of topics from local events to global issues. Caleb's insightful articles reflect his dedication to keeping readers informed and engaged in the ever-evolving landscape of news.

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