AbstractDespite scattered attempts to frame the processes of population and economic decline in cities of the global South through urban shrinkage, mechanisms identified in the core studies of this concept do not easily translate into the local dynamics and expressions in these cities. This paper investigates the applicability of urban shrinkage as a conceptual tool for analyzing the intertwined processes of population and economic decline in small-size cities of the South. In doing so, we examine the multiscalar production of economic decline and population loss in Kermanshah province in Iran and the small-size city of Harsin in this province. Adopting qualitative and quantitative methods, we identify different economic and political processes at national, provincial, and county scales that play out in shaping variegated geography of population loss and gain in this province and then examine the variegated spatial patterns of population loss and gain in Harsin. The paper suggests that instead of an analytical tool, urban shrinkage can be seen more as an umbrella term for framing such dynamics, at least in small-size cities of the South. Nevertheless, the paper concludes by identifying the ways in which urban shrinkage studies can provide a fruitful contribution to such an analysis.