Moving to Pittsburgh or Out of Pittsburgh?
“The Steel City”, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has had some real peaks and valleys in the last few years. In 2017, it was ranked as one of the best cities to live in America, yet in the last couple of years, the population has been trending downward. However, in the last year, Pittsburgh has declined the least amount, only dropping in population by .06%, compared to .23% the previous year. So, what is happening? Well, in some ways, Pittsburgh is still a city worth moving to, those there are reasons why the overall population trend is on the decline.
A look at the US Census data may reveal some reasons why the population of Pittsburgh trends down. As of 2021, Pittsburgh had a median household income of slightly over $50,000, with around 16% of the population living in poverty, only 1% less than the average US Poverty rate of 17%. This generally shows that people living in the Pittsburgh area are not the wealthiest, which might say something about the types of jobs available in Pittsburgh.
The average number of persons per household is also a relatively small number at 1.98, so essentially 2 people per household. When you factor in that the population of Pittsburgh is only 20% under 18 and 15% over 65, that means the majority of households in Pittsburgh are younger to middle age couples without children. This makes sense, considering that Pittsburgh generally ranks high as a city for first-time homebuyers.
Pittsburgh is generally well known for its healthcare system, and with only 6.4% of people in Pittsburgh being without health insurance, Pittsburgh is actually 3% lower than the national average. This top-notch healthcare might provide a reason why the loss of population is on the decline.
Where are they going?
Pittsburgh is a great city for younger, first-time, home buyers, with relatively cheap housing compared to the nation, but being that the city doesn’t seem to support larger families, many people are simply moving to the outer suburbs, abandoning the metro for a more idyllic family life.
With the median income and poverty rates being less than stellar, many residents are also shifting to East Coast cities like New York, where the standard of living might be higher, but so are employment opportunities and pay.
Some of the population decline isn’t actually from residents moving out, but rather older residents simply passing away at a rate faster than babies are being born.
Though the population of Pittsburgh has been on a steady decline for the last several years, it has slowed its decline significantly in the past year, and this may be due to a couple of factors.
For starters, the University of Pittsburgh has made massive improvements to its campus, ranking #20 out of 209 public colleges in America. This, along with the aforementioned affordable housing, would make Pittsburgh an attractive place for young adults, singles and couples, to move to Pittsburgh.
Another reason the population skews to younger adults is that Pittsburgh is a fun city. It boasts 3 world champion, major league sports teams in football, baseball, and hockey, as well as an active major league soccer team. On top of this, the nightlife and the culture of Pittsburgh are pretty great as well, with Livability.com giving the city a 73 out of 100 in Amenities, referring to attractions, food, and culture.
Comparing this to the census data, it seems that Pittsburgh is becoming a bit of a haven for young adults just starting out in their adult life with affordable first-time housing, a great major university, and lots of future growth on the horizon.
It would seem that the city of Pittsburgh is moving in a new direction. As the older population declines, a younger, but still adult population seems to be taking over. However, as those adults age, they do seem to be seeking out cities with better economic opportunities, compared to young couples who are just looking to buy their first home, Pittsburgh is becoming a top destination.