Sunday, May 09, 2010

(Burgh) Demographics is still (Burgh) Destiny

NYTimes talks about a new Brookings report talking about demographic changes going on in our cities. 

Some points that jump out.  Pittsburgh is citied as having a precipitous drop in the number of married couples with children.  That ought not to be surprising for us. Just add in the two facts we know well, that we have a a disproportionate elderly population here and the growing student population.  Both of those are not going to be adding much to the number of married coupled households with children. So when you net them out, the potential married couple with children number is going to be that much smaller.  Which is why the whole issue of increasing population in the city in particular is a lot more difficult for us than many assume.   I've been pointing out that the number of households in the city proper has dropped faster than the overall population trends would suggest. 

I thought I compiled the underlying household numbers back to 1970 for the city to come up with the city debt metrics here, but it just has the derived debt per household time series.  I may dig up the underlying household trends which is a big metric impacting all public finance for the city. Most everything to do with the city's past future come down to those household numbers.  Not just their population in themsleves, but those are the folks most likely paying the largest part of city taxes, and their kids compound their impact on the population metrics themselves.... but it goes back to BGB to worry about whether the kinds themselves stay in the long run.  I wonder how much of the US population as a whole lives in the city or municipality they grew up in.  (said looking around incredulously.... who would do that?).

Also cited in the article and report is a general trend that international immigrant arrivals are no longer as concentrated in cities as they once were.  I talked about that point specifically for us some years ago on page 4 here fyi.   Where are recent foreign immigrants settling here in the region you might ask?  I don't have any one answer, but if you want to look at page 23 of this, you will see some factoids of note.. one is that Scott Townwhip is capturing (I guess that is a bad verb to use in context) a lot of recent international immigrants.  Something that the PG dug into a little more later on. 

Speaking of immigration.. didn't catch this the other day, but Joe again has the ultimate historical stat for Pittsburgh, far better than that one 1910 page I have.


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