Monday, August 04, 2008

City and Suburb

I see Harold's column in the PG biz section discussing the relative concentration of jobs in the City of Pittsburgh. For more on how the relative size of the city tends to impact all sorts of metrics see the story in the PG a few years ago: 'Day surge' puts 41% more people in the city. Also one of the last "benchmarks" section that the Post-Gazette put out was this table ranking the relative commuting flows into center cities across regions in the US. Much of those metrics stem directly from the inordinate concentration of jobs Downtown and in Oakland. The disconnect between the perception and reality of economic activity in the regions core I once discussed in "Is Downtown Dead? Hardly". For the pure policy aspect to all of this, from 1982 is the PEL report: Pittsburgh: A Regional City With a Local Tax Base.

But a side note on the differences between city jobs and elsewhere,in 2004 (and in 2004$) the average annual pay for a job located within the City of Pittsburgh proper was $42,834 while the comparable annual pay for jobs located in the suburbs was $31,676. So its not just the number of jobs that have been retained in the city proper, but the relatively higher paying jobs in the region as well.

The really remarkable thing about the number jobs located in the City of Pittsburgh is how stable it has been over not just recent decades but almost half a century if not longer. Jobs located in the City proper in 1960 were nearly identical to the 300K or so jobs that are located in the city today. When you consider just how much population has declined in the city, that is a remarkable factoid. As people have moved out, but kept their jobs within the City, one obvious result has been increased commuting. Here is a map of commuting patterns of workers whose jobs are located in the City of Pittsburgh proper as of 2000.

or in the angle Harold was discussing, here is a map of Allegheny County in terms of Jobs per square mile by municipality, also as of 2000:


Anonymous Patrick said...

What about the reverse commuting: a map showing the destinations of Pittsburgh residents who work in the 'burbs?

Monday, August 04, 2008 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Burgher Jon said...

There's a justification for a city/county merger in here somewhere (or at least a commuter tax). Schools are funded with property taxes and the people with the best jobs in pittsburgh (most of them) pay those taxes to schools somewhere else. They also spend 40% of their day using services like sidewalks, street light, trash collection, police, etc... in a place where they do not pay taxes.

Chris, as usual this is fascinating stuff.

Monday, August 04, 2008 3:03:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I have the total number of reverse commuters from the City somewhere... but I don't think I have ever mapped that out. I'll see what I can do.

Monday, August 04, 2008 8:30:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

All the more reason to support mass transit in Allegheny County.

My employer (a large bank) actually took a survey today to see who would be affected by a PAT strike. About 65% of us would be. Just think of the congestion that all of those extra cars would cause. More congestion leads to worse fuel efficiency and more air pollution. Worse, as Chris has mentioned several times before, where would they park?

Mass transit affects everybody. Shouldn't we do what is needed to ensure that everyone's commute is as easy as possible?

Monday, August 04, 2008 10:59:00 PM  

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