Greene County, deep in Alabama’s Black Belt region, is the smallest county in the state, and one of the poorest. It’s one of only two counties in Alabama with fewer than 10,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And it’s shrinking – it lost nearly 10 percent of its population between 2010 and 2018.
As Greene loses population, the people who remain are forced to deal with the properties left behind. More than 42 percent of all housing units in Greene County were vacant in 2018, according to the Census. That’s the highest rate in Alabama, a state that itself is near the top of the country in terms of vacancy rate.
Alabama is fourth in the country for raw vacancy rate. More than 18 percent of all housing units in the state are empty. Not all empty houses and apartments are are a bad thing, though. Many areas of the country, included certain parts of Alabama, see their vacancy rates climb because they have lots of seasonal housing.
Think of Alabama beaches in Baldwin County. There are lots of beach houses and condos that sit empty for most of the year, but are used throughout the summer. As a result, Baldwin’s raw vacancy rate is high – nearly 30 percent. And Baldwin is the fastest growing county in Alabama.
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