Slowest-Growing Cities in the Past 20 Years

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Slowest growing cities: Bologna, Italy.

By Joshua Berlinger


Some cities still haven't recovered from the 2008 economic meltdown. And others have been suffering for decades.

New data in Brookings' 2012 Global MetroMonitor allows us to rank 300 major metro areas by change in GDP per capita and employment from 1993 to 2012.

The best cities for economic growth are mostly in emerging markets, particularly China.

The worst cities are found in Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

35 PHOTOS
Slowest-Growing Cities in the Past 20 Years
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Slowest-Growing Cities in the Past 20 Years

1.3% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.4% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Chicago has had a pretty painful year -- it just experienced its most violent summer in recent memory and the teacher's union strike in September paralyzed schools as they prepared to open. Chicago's crime rates have been on the rise for years, and it has gained the title of "America's most dangerous city."

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1.3% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.3% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Milwaukee and the entire Great Lakes region has been hit hard by the recession. Breweries have been some of the biggest employers in the city, but today Miller Brewing Company is the only major brewing company left. Pabst Brewery closed its complex in Milwaukee in 1997, and the other two famous brewers that used to occupy Milwaukee -- the Valentin Blatz Brewing Company and the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company -- were both sold to Pabst.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1.0% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.5% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1.2% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.3% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

New Haven has been withering since the end of World War II. After the war, the manufacturing industry, which had driven the local economy, began to decline. Consequently, the middle class began to leave the city in the 1950s, and crime rates have been on the rise since the 1960s.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1.3% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.1% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

The auto industry's collapse reverberated all the way to Cleveland. The 2008 recession hit all of Ohio hard, costing the state more than 100,000 jobs, according to some estimates.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.99% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.5% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Although Hannover is home to the second largest Oktoberfest in the world, the party doesn't go year-round. Hannover has struggled to recover since World War II, when more than 90 percent of the city center was destroyed. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has its headquarters in Hannover today, but it has reportedly been exploring moving some of its operations to China.

Photo: Flickr/yeowatzup

1.0% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.5% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Stuttgart is known as the "cradle of the automobile," as it was invented and industrialized in the area.  While its RND sector is quite strong, the decline of the auto industry in the last decade has affected its economy.

Photo: Flickr/Isabelle + Stéphane Gallay

1.1% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.4% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Although Birmingham's economy has been well for most of the last 20 years, recent events have thrown it into flux. In 2011, Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham, filed for what was at the time the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy claim after losing over $3 billion in sewer debt.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.1% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.7% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Flickr/kevinpoh

1.2% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.1% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Ten Japanese cities made the list, as the country suffered two "lost decades" following its economic boom in the 1980s.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.1% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012 

0.7% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Milan, like the rest of Italy, has been hit hard by the eurozone crisis. It doesn't help that its population has been on the decline for the last 20 years.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.6% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012 

0.5% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Flickr/Beige Alert

0.7% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.4% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1.1% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.3% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Although New Orleans may be one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill made the effects of the 2008 recession much worse. The spill devastated the fishing industry, among others, just after an already painful recover from Hurricane Katrina.

A great deal of commercial traffic, which used to move by boat out of New Orleans' port, is now moved by truck, air and rail instead.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1.1% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.2% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.6% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

All three cities that make up Italy's "industrial triangle" -- Turin, Milan and Genoa -- made the list. Turin is also the unofficial capital of Italy's automotive industry, which has suffered serious setbacks in production since the recession began. Its population, like that of Milan, has also been on the decline since 1990.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.3% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.5% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Flickr/Yuri Virovets

1.0% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.2% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

During Lisbon's early history, the economy was based on the fishing industry. Today, finance and service have become important sectors as well. Many were optimistic about the future economic prospects in Lisbon before the sovereign debt crisis, but the crisis and corresponding austerity measures have stifled its economy.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.6% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.5% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Berlin's manufacturing and financial sectors suffered because of its division during the Cold War. And although Berlin has suffered comparatively less than its European counterparts, it is still one of the poorest areas in Germany: More people in Berlin are living on government welfare than anywhere else in the country (by percentage).

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.8% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.4% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1.1% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.3% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.9% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.1% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.4% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.4% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Like the other Italian cities on this list, Florence has been crushed by the sovereign debt crisis and the political turmoil of the Berlusconi government. To make matters worse, Italy's unemployment rate just hit a record 11.1 percent.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.5% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.3% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Although Tokyo still has one of the largest economies in the world, the Japanese economic boom ended in the 1980s. The country faced a deep recession in the late '90s, and has struggled to recover from the current global economic crisis. Meanwhile the cost of living has become one of the highest in the world.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.94% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.4% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.935% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.4% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Dayton's economy has traditionally been driven by its manufacturing sector. Although it has diversified by introducing strong defense, aerospace, and healthcare industries, the decline in heavy manufacturing has stymied the local economy. The recession and corresponding defense cuts have deepened the wounds.

Photo: Flickr/dospaz

0.2% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

0.2% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.5% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.2% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Flickr/SteveLage

0.7% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.6% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Flickr/Alan Light

0.2% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.1% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.5% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.3% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.5% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.3% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Not surprisingly, Detroit tops the U.S. cities that have suffered the most in the last twenty years. The auto industry's decline and recent near-collapse led to tons of lost jobs. In fact, the city lost a quarter of its population in the first decade of the new century.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.1% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012 

-0.3% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

The city, known for the eponymous beer company, bore the brunt of much of the recession. Although the city has developed a thriving IT sector, it also relies on manufacturing for much of its income -- an industry that has been seriously affected by Japan's decline.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

0.0% real GDP per capita annualized change from 1993 to 2012

-0.6% employment annualized change from 1993 to 2012

Sendai was already affected by Japan's economic downturn, but the 2011 tsunami made things much worse. Overall, the tsunami destroyed 5 percent to 6 percent of GDP in all of Japan, according to some estimates. The World Bank pegged the entire cost at $235 billion.

Photo: Flickr/David McKelvey

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See more on Business Insider:
A Major Divide is Opening Up Between the World's Cities
Only 3 Major U.S. Cities Have Fully Recovered From the Recession
The 20 U.S. Cities That Are Growing the Most Right Now

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