24. Yellow Pages This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed dollars to their various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), to local search engines and combination search/listing services like Reach Local and Yodle Factors like an acceleration of the print ‘fade rate’ and the looming recession will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even reach 10% this year — much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen in past years.

23. Classified Ads The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that could signal the end of civilization as we know it. The argument is that if newspaper classifieds are replaced by free online listings at sites like Craigslist.org and Google Base, then newspapers are not far behind them.

22. Movie Rental Stores While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock is down considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a quest of Circuit City . Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small video chains and mom-and-po p stores have given up th e ghost already.

21. Dial-up Internet Access Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008. The combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.

20. Phone Landlines According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of those homes that had landlines, one in eight only received calls on their cells.

19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs Maryland ‘s icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay . Last year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population. Overfishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get the blame.

18. VCRs For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller and staple in every American household until being completely decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact, the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone and VHS decks are practically nowhere to be found. They served us so well.

17. Ash Trees In the late 1990s, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle, now known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North America with ash wood products imported from eastern Asia . In less than a decade, i ts larvae have killed millions of trees in the Midwest, and continue to spread. They’ve killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana . More than 7.5 billion ash trees are currently at risk.

16. Ham Radio Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. However, proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even though Morse Code is no longer a requirement.

15. The Swimming Hole Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a thing of the past. ’20/20′ reports that swimming hole owners, like Robert Every in High Falls, N.Y., are shutting them down out of worry that if someone gets hurt they’ll sue. And that’s exactly what happened in Seattle . The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park . As injuries occur and lawsuits follow, expect more swimming holes to post ‘Keep out!’ signs.

14. Answering Machines The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied to No 20 our list — the decline of landlines. According to USA Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New York ; since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It’s logical that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing traditional landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines.

13 . Cameras That Use Film It doesn’t require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of the film camera in America . Just look to companies like Nikon, the professional’s choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to the shrinking market — only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment.

12. Incandescent Bulbs Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt) bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And according to USA Toda y, a new energy bill plans to phase out incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.

11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys BowlingBalls.US claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys. Today most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and glow miniature golf. Bowling lanes also have been added to many non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and resorts, and gambling casinos.

10. The Milkman According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over half of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 1963, it was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0 .4% percent. Nowadays most milk is sold th rough supermarkets in gallon jugs. The steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of course, on the rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen still make the rounds in pockets of the U.S. , they are certainly a dying breed.

9 Hand-Written Letters In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world’s population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?

8. Wild Horses ; It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses were roaming free within the United States . In 2001, National Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population had decreased to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten Western states, with half of them residing in Nevada . The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce the total number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective euthanasia.

7. Personal Checks According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based pa yments — for the time being. Checks continue to be the most commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of c onsumers paying at least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, on a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers’ recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).

6. Drive-in Theaters During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so there isn’t much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones.

5 Mumps & Measles Despite what’s been in the news lately, the measles and mumps actually, truly are disappearing from the United States . In 1964, 212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine, approximately half a million cases of measles were reported in the U.S. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases were recorded.

4. Honey Bees Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire; plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our food supply as the honey bee. Very scary. ‘Colony Collapse Disorder,’ or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S and Europe over the past few years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the c olonies of many beekeepers — and along with it, their livelihood.

3. News Magazines and TV News While the TV evening newscasts haven’t gone anywhere over the last several decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9 million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they have today is half that.

2. Analog TV According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in the U.S. get their television programming through cable or satellite providers. For the remaining 15% — or 13 million individuals — who are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air. If you are one of these people you’l l need to get a new TV or a converter box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast in digital.

1. The Family Farm Since the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census (data from the 2007 census hasn’t yet been published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S.farms are small family farms.


  1. Incredible Statistics… scary…
    We still live in the stone age here based on those statistics.. we dont have cell phones for personal use here at home. We have a land line and answering machine. We sometimes still use our film camera. I could go on and on… scary thoughts though… and the poor bees…

  2. Fascinating! You know what? I remember when we got a TV. 1984. I also remember the special occasion when we went to rent a VHS video…AND the VHS player, since we didn’t have one! Times have changed things in interesting ways, I wonder if they’re “good” though.

  3. While some of those statistics are interesting most are scary or sad. Even the loss of a land line… will their come a day when parents can’t even moniter who their children talk to because everyone has their own line?!?? And the horses… let them be.

  4. Our VCR broke and we tried to just go find ANY kind, didn’t matter what price and we couldn’t find one without having to get a whole system with a DVD player and everything. Kind of sad=(

  5. You people are backwoods fools clinging to garbage. Everything on this list at one point was the hot new technology item that pushed the old way of doing things out of the way and I’m sure that some fool back then hated the telephone because people wouldn’t visit you anymore and there would no longer be families gathered around the radio. Things change. Get over it.

  6. I hope you approve my negative comments. You have to have someone who disagrees with you in the comments. I promise you will get more people talking if you do.

  7. There’s been some good growth in Ham Radio in 2008 though. The ARRL grew by 1100 members. There was approximately a 1.2% growth in hams in the USA, 28,066 new hams in 2008.

  8. What about marriage? Most guys I know have never married and declare they never will due to meeting such a MINUTE amount of females they would even consider in the slightest getting hitched to.

    I came back from two overseas military tours and was aghast at how self-centered and immature the VAST majority of American females appeared to me.

    Observing how females behave in other lands and cultures was an eye-opener and taught me how so very very very few American females are worthy of a decent guy.

    Hearing other males telling of their dissatisfaction with the typical American addle-minded illogical emotion-laden materialistic female I can only predict a growing number of never-married adults in the USA.

    I hope those daffy dames appreciate their cats since that may be their only mammalian company as they grow old, wither, then die.


  9. Actually the dial up is incorrect. Most of the US is still not able to get highspeed, except for satellites and cell cards. More people are moving to the suburbs and country where the spread of population is so great that ISP’s are dragging their feet because of the cost/benefit ratio.

  10. “…80% of the world’s population had access to cell phone coverage.” The important word in that sentence is “coverage.” Just because 80% of the world has coverage doesn’t mean 80% have cell phones. The consensus is that it’s about 50% have cell phones. There’s way too much poverty in the world for it to be 80%.

  11. Number seven is the one that kills me. My blood absolutely boils every time I get stuck in line behind some dinosaur with a checkbook.

    Here is how anyone under 100 should do it.

    1)slide the card
    2)sign the thing
    3)GO! You even get a record of the transaction to take with you!

    Instead I always get behind some dinosaur who prefers to…

    1)write out the name of the store
    2)write $23.31 in the box
    3)write twenty three dollars and thirty one cents on the line
    4)sign it
    5)show a drivers license
    6)wait for it to run through the machine
    7)write the store name and amount in the ledger

    For the love of God WHY?

  12. I don’t get cell phone service at my house, I live on a family farm/ranch, I have dial up because I don’t have a clear view of the southern hemisphere (live in a valley), and my hair dresser doesn’t take credit cards. Wow. I am going to be extinct right along with everything else.

  13. Ronald, horses are NOT a non-native species. Equus evolved on the American continents. Horses migrated across the Bering land bridge and then, 11,000 years ago, became extinct in the Americas. They were reintroduced by the Conquistadors and wild horses are mostly descended from the Conquistadors’ horses. I learned this in 5th grade science class, so it is probably knowledge anyone would know had they paid attention in school.

  14. The Amateur Radio Service is nowhere near becoming extinct. The number of licensed Amateurs has roughly tripled since 1990, jumping from about 250,000 to nearly 700,000. In the approximately two years since the Morse Code testing requirement was dropped by the FCC, the number of licensed hams has increased at such a rapid rate that license processing slowed to a seeming crawl for quite a few months after the new requirements’ inception! License processing agencies could hardly keep up with the demand. That a small fraction of the number of licensees slipped sometime in the last three-to-five years indices merely a minor statistical adjustment apparently due to attrition.

    I challenge anyone wishing to make predictions about the Amateur Radio Service to study to pass the licensing exams, become an active licensee, and serve with an active local Emergency Management agency or unit for a couple of years. Then, one will be moderately qualified to make such predictions. Frankly, it is obvious that the writer of that dire “prediction” has little knowledge of Homeland Security matters and even less knowledge of telecommunications technologies. Please indulge a bit of my puffing on this matter: I’m certain that we are all quite weary of unqualified writers on any number of subjects.


    Alan Dixon
    Contributing Editor Emeritus
    Popular Communications Magazine

  15. In 2008, the total number of US amateurs rose 1.2 percent, from 655,800 in 2007, to 663,500 in 2008. Calling it a “ripple effect,” Somma said that the number of amateurs who want to be volunteer examiners and who want to teach Amateur Radio classes is also going up. [source]

  16. I still have 1 8-track tape and reel to reel plus two record players. I still write checks at the store and have a VCR plus a land line. On the other hand we have had satelite TV for 14 years, cell phones for 12 years, and now have satelite internet. I also have a 1945 Gravely garden tractor but a new snowblower. I am hopelessly caught between old and new and love them both.

  17. Please check your facts before publishing things.

    On March 10, 2009, the number of licensed Amateur Radio operators in the US reached it's highest number ever of 688,666. See http://www.ah0a.org/FCC/Licenses.html for the facts. That's an increase of 11,000 over the past five years!

    Amateur Radio isn't dying , it's expanding and thriving!

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