These 5 Wyoming Towns Are Fleeing Very Fast in 2024

Wyoming is famous for its stunning natural landscapes, low population density, and favorable tax policies. However, the quality of living varies across different towns in the Cowboy State. Some towns face economic downturns, environmental challenges, or societal issues, making them less appealing to potential residents. Here are five Wyoming towns that have seen a notable decrease in population, according to the latest census data and reports from locals.

Rock Springs

Rock Springs, situated in the southwest region of Wyoming, used to be a bustling hub for coal mining and railroads. Nevertheless, the town has suffered from the decline of the coal industry, leading to job cuts and reduced income. Since 2010, the town has experienced a 9.4% decrease in population, making it the fastest-shrinking town in Wyoming. Furthermore, Rock Springs faces a significant crime rate, being labeled as the most dangerous town in Wyoming in 2020, with 1,027 violent and property crimes per 100,000 people.


Located in south-central Wyoming, Rawlins is the county seat of Carbon County. The town’s economy is mainly supported by the nearby Wyoming State Penitentiary, where around 500 people work. However, Rawlins faces challenges with economic monoculture, declining population numbers, and a high cost of living. From 2010 to now, the population has dropped by 6.8%, with the median home value at $157,900, which is 22% above the state average. Moreover, Rawlins has a significant poverty rate, with 16.4% of residents living below the poverty line.


Thermopolis, situated in north-central Wyoming, is famous for its hot springs and dinosaur fossils, drawing visitors to attractions such as Hot Springs State Park, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, and the Wind River Canyon. Nevertheless, the town is facing challenges with decreasing tourism, insufficient infrastructure, and a lower quality of life. The population has decreased by 6.5% since 2010, with a median household income of $41,250, which is 24% below the state average. In addition, Thermopolis faces a high unemployment rate, with 7.2% of residents currently without a job.

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Located in western Wyoming is Kemmerer, where J.C. Penney, the founder of the retail chain, was born. The town’s economy depends significantly on coal mining and power generation. Nevertheless, the shutdown of multiple coal mines and power plants has had a significant impact on Kemmerer, leading to layoffs and financial deficits. From 2010 to now, the town has seen a 5.9% decrease in population, and the median household income is $54,583, which is 10% below the state average. Furthermore, Kemmerer has a high tax burden, with a 6% sales tax rate and a 0.64% property tax rate.


Wheatland, situated in southeastern Wyoming and acting as the county seat of Platte County, mainly depends on agriculture, specifically wheat and cattle production. Nevertheless, the town is facing challenges such as drought, low commodity prices, and competition from larger farms. From 2010 to now, the population has dropped by 5.3%, and the median home value is $164,600, which is 25% above the state average. Furthermore, Wheatland has a low level of educational achievement, as only 17.8% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.


Wyoming’s natural landscapes and low population density have led to a significant decrease in population in five towns. Rock Springs, Rawlins, Thermopolis, Kemmerer, and Wheatland have all experienced significant population declines due to economic downturns, environmental challenges, or societal issues. Rock Springs, once a hub for coal mining, has seen a 9.4% decrease in population since 2010, while Rawlins has seen a 6.8% drop. Thermopolis, known for its hot springs, has seen a 6.5% decrease in population and a high unemployment rate.

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