Although the USA has evolved into an overwhelmingly metropolitan nation over the last few decades
just over half of the country’s population (according to year 2000 statistics) still
live in towns and cities with fewer than 25,000 people.
The country is still made up of many small towns, some of which have low dwindling populations.
There’s one town in the States where you could double the population just by showing
It has a pub, a library and one resident, who takes care of the passing trade.
There’s another town with a population of just two.
And of course there are the many ghost towns scattered across the country with populations
The one single resident of the town with the tiniest population is sticking to her routes.
Let’s meet her in Today’s Infographics Show as we bring to you – The Town with
a Population of One Monowi is an incorporated village in Boyd
County, Nebraska, United States, that had, on its 2010 census, a population of just one
The town was founded in 1902 when the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad reached
A post office was built and remained in service until 1967.
Peak years were in the 1930s when the population spiked to a healthy 150 people, had three
grocery stores, a restaurant, and even boasted a prison.
However, like many smaller communities in the Great Plains, the younger generations
immigrated to cities offering better employment opportunities.
In the year 2000 census the town had a population of two people – the married couple Rudy
and Elsie Eiler who met at elementary school and married aged 19.
Rudy, who had served in the Korean war, died in 2004 leaving his wife as the only resident
She runs a bar and a library.
“When I apply to the state for my liquor and tobacco licenses each year, they send
them to the secretary of the village, which is me,” Elsie told the BBC.
“So, I get them as the secretary, sign them as the clerk, and give them to myself as the
I’m happy here.
I grew up here, I’m used to this, and I know what I want,” she added.
She has appointed herself mayor with her own liquor license and pays her taxes to herself
and is the town’s chief in every way.
She submits plans to the state to secure funding for the town’s four street lights.
She runs the Monowi Tavern, the town’s only pub, and looks after any passing trade.
She also runs the 5,000 plus volume Rudy’s Library.
The library was opened in honor of her late husband who like herself, was a confirmed
But Eiler hasn’t spent her entire life in Monowi.
When her husband packed his kit bag and went off to fight in the Korean War, Eiler travelled
to Denver where she worked for an airline.
She had dreams of becoming an air stewardess.
That occupation would have naturally opened up the doors to worldwide travel, but instead
Eiler became just one of the many citizens who left the town for the city.
She eventually returned.
“I didn’t care much for the city; Monowi had always been home.
Elier and Rudy raised two children in town and in 1971 decided to reopen the pub that
had once belonged to Eiler’s father.
But by the mid-1970s the town, like many other mid-western towns after World War Two, was
in the midst of an economic slump.
A number of communities in the heartland of the USA had begun to disappear and Monwi looked
like it was set to follow the trend.
The town’s school rang its bell for the last time in 1974 and by this time both Eiler
and Rudy’s children had moved away from town.
By 1980 the population stood at just 18 people.
Now it is just Eiler and her pub.
She opens the tavern six days a week at 9am and spends 12 hours serving her regular customers
who have been dropping by for years.
“It’s like one big family,” Eiler explained.
“There are fourth and fifth-generation customers coming in.
It’s pretty neat when the people you remember as babies are now bringing their babies in
to show me.”
Many of the passing customers are tourists who travel from all over the world to take
a look at the USA’s smallest town, perhaps grab a beer at the tavern, and sign the guestbook.
Eiler has become used to life here.
She has five grandkids, some of whom live as far away as the Netherlands, and some live
closer to home in Ponca, Nebraska.
“I know I could always move closer to my children or stay with them whenever I want,
but then I’d have to make all new friends again,” Eiler explained.
“As long as I’m able to be here, this is where I really want to be.”
Before Rudy passed away, Monowi was neck and neck with the nearby Gross, Nebraska.
Both towns had a population of two making those towns both joint leaders in the USA’s
least populated town.
Gross (a misleading town name) had a population of two in the 2010 census.
Established in 1893 by Ben Gross and his wife, the couple opened up a general store in anticipation
of a railroad that was to be constructed.
So Gross started off as a town of two and dropped back down to that number in the 2010
census following a boom period in the early twentieth century.
Ten years after the town was established in 1904 a bustling town had developed and Gross
had a handful of businesses, a church, some factories and over 600 residents.
However once the rail traffic decided to bypass Gross the people began to leave town.
A great fire then tore through town destroying most of the businesses and by 1970 only eight
Nowadays married couple Mike and Mary Finnegan are the only two residents of Gross, and like
Eiler in Monowi, they run a restaurant and bar, The Nebraska Inn, which has a following
of over 2,000 Facebook followers- more than triple the population of Gross, Nebraska,
at its peak.
But both Monowi and Gross have some competition when it comes to the USA’s most uninhabited
Pitcher in Oklahoma has earned the dubious title of being the most toxic place in the
Once the most productive lead and zinc mining town in the world it is now pretty much a
hazardous zone of abandoned buildings, and mining waste products.
Lead pollution has become a serious problem here.
Contaminated water from the mines infected the town and the townspeople developed outbreaks
The high school, city hall and post office all pulled down their shutters in 2009.
The one remaining resident died in 2015 and now Pitcher is officially a ghost town.
But Pitcher is not alone.
There are hundreds of ghost towns across the USA.
Most of these towns are built around mines that have been exhausted of their resources.
People go where the money is, Apart from Eiler of Monowi, who is quite happy being the town’s
So what’s the least populated place that you’ve travelled to?
Ever been to a ghost town?
Let us know in the comments . Also, be sure to watch our other video called – What Happened
To Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?.
Thanks for watching, and as always, don't forget to like, share and subscribe, and as
ever, see you next time.