Saturday, April 14, 2007

The french fries in the sandwich must be driving people away

I was just wondering.... is there any official legend as to when and why Primanti's started putting the fries inside the sandwich? Just asking because there is another travel piece in the Washington Post focusing on the gourmet attractions of the Burgh, beginning with an obligatory photo of a classic Primanti's special. If there isn't a story on how the fries thing began, someone should make one up.. It could be analogous to the reason the Steelers only have their logo on one side.. something like they only had small plates one day and had to fit the fries on the sandwich.

and more media obsession on population.....

Worth a look is latest version of "who will be the last one to turn out the lights" story via the Penn State Daily Collegian titled unsurprisingly Pittsburgh Losing Youth. Now I will give it the leeway it deserves as a student paper, but it is worse than the others . Read the text and look at the main table there showing that between 2000-2006 Pittsburgh had:

Total Population change = -60,309
Births = 156,866
Deaths = 177,911

Net migration = 31,676.

The entire article is pretty much saying that college graduates are all leaving Pittsburgh. Yet that is nothing more than a completely unsupported, arguably false presumption. The data itself does not say that anywhere.. its just a fiction of the media. So nobody else is leaving? Elderly going to Florida? must never happen. Anyone older than 25 moving away? Maybe a few families with children which add to the migration total? Must not happen since it's all just young college graduates who are fleeing the region. I understand pessimism I do.. and you can believe what you want about the future, but please PLEASE stop making stuff up and reporting it as fact.

Of that 31K net migration, how many are really 'youth', however defined. I speculate that 6-7K were from those in their 20's. Is it worth seeing what can be done to lower that number? Sure. But in the end, even if you were wildly successful and brought that number to zero you have only lowered population decline by a tenth. A TENTH. We are probably are doing better than a whole lot of regions we want to emulate in how well we retain young graduates. The loss of young college graduates is not what is driving the top line population decline. And thats 6-7K over 6 years. How many graduates do we produce each and every year in all the schools here? Undergraduate... graduate school... associates and other programs. But no, they all must be leaving. If that were really true, how many people would be left in Pittsburgh? The region would have emptied out decades ago.

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