Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Still population 'loser'

before the obligatory population note...  Trib looks at the city's pension issues.  We will imminently learn the next biennial set of numbers which are in reality already dated. Why will we learn them? City is legally required to report these numbers today to the state. Could they have told the public months ago. You bet. Today somebody will learn the state of the pension system as of January 1, 2009.   If you want to see what we know so far see my iPension page.  In past cycles few noticed and the city would not even consider giving out this data, but now with everyone geared up to push the sale of parking assets they may go out of their way to tell us how bad the situation is.  Funny that.  

Remember when I first threw out the billion number?  Let's just say the city didn't like that at all and disputed it. In fact it was just 15 months ago the city had quotes in the public record saying things like: "The city is legally required to fully fund the pension and is on track to do so", and that was without any talk at all of a parking asset sale.  Funnier that.   Realize that the number we learn today is now already 15 months old and the trends are pretty clear that by now any total liability number to be reported is already higher. 

anyway...  CNN has us ranked up there as one of the top population 'losers' to be documented by the census.   This one sentence is has all sorts of screweyness in it. :
Though the recession has recently forced some of Pittsburgh's residents to stay put until an economic rebound, the city's net population loss has been 76,000 since the last census tally.

Like everyone else, the article conflates 'city' or the 'region'. It keeps saying city but the numbers it cites are all the region.  Note how it presumes even the migration story is presumed to not have an in-migration piece.  That comes from jumping from a national story (migration rates are down) to what is happening in Pittsburgh which is a leap. I'll take the small victory I guess that the expert quote in the piece notes the impact of natural population change and does not jump to presuming it's all because of migration.

Not much love for Youngstown either in their list.


In other news....   Real Clear Politics talks of Pennsylvania as the most competitive state in the 2010 election cycle   and not much notice here but Ohio is abuzz with talk of possible expansion of US Steel over the border.   Use of 'steel' and 'expanding' or 'investment' may prove to be too much cognitive dissonance for folks here to accept.  What is up with the Clairton Coke Works $billion+ investment US Steel had been planning but deferred as the recession set in?  and in the completely misc category.  KDKA editor Olga George gets a big tech shout out in USAToday.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

I personally think the official Census estimate methodology may have been missing recent population growth in the City, but I also think that at the earliest that started happening around 2004 or so (this is based on looking at American Community Survey data). So while I think the 2010 Census might have some positive surprises in store for the City, it may well be the case the net losses in the early part of the decade still mean net losses for the City since the 2000 Census.

Which is fine--I'm not sure even our robust set of local hospitals could handle the resulting mass wave of brain explosions if the City actually gained population since the last Census.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 8:58:00 AM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

CNN thinks people were leaving Pittsburgh in droves, but can't now because of the economy. They're stupid.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 4:31:00 PM  
Anonymous johnnyg said...

It takes a LONG time to change assumptions and opinions. As Briem has noted, the "young people are leaving in droves" myth has persisted long after it became the fact that young people don't leave Pittsburgh any more often than other places. Shows us that even great G20 publicity can only go so far. I wonder if the fact that the Pirates never spend any money and have had 17 losing seasons is a subconscious factor. I mean it is the one sport that is very local for fans and revenue. Constant low payroll and status might just be an unintended and misinterpretted signal that the economy here must still be awful.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 9:12:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Blame the Nuttings' for our remaining PR woes!? The Carbolic guys would love that.

Causality and correlation again. Did winning world series in 79 lead to the steel miasma that soon followed?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 10:35:00 PM  

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