Monday, March 07, 2011


So just to confuse even the most wonky population data folks out there, here is another datapoint to think about as we await the deluge from the 2010 Census.

The Census folks just dumped out the county estimates of the 2010 population.  Seems a bit silly when we are about to learn the more authoritative numbers from the decennial census itself.  But these are important for 2 reasons, they help us understand the decennial numbers because they provide a baseline for comparison with where we thought we were.  They also provide year over year data that is pretty important to understand the trends you miss if you just look at data points 10 years apart.

For those who know all this, they didn't release the full dataset on the components of change.  So I can't yet  explicitly update the datapoint from last year that showed we had positive net domestic migration for the first time in decades.  They just released total population counts.  The headline factoid that results is that all in, the Pittsburgh regional population actually ticked up between 2009 and 2010.  A very small tick...  a very very small tick, but hey it isn't decline.  I think that may be the first overall increase in the regional population in decades (I'll figure out that historical factoid when I get a second).  Given that the natural population trends (births and deaths) I am quite sure is showing continued net decline at this time.. it must mean that the positive net migration trend has continued.. at least as far as this data has us believe.  

So to be absolutely clear.. these numbers have nothing to do with the 2010 decennial data we are about to get.. Our view on all this may be very different (in either a positive or negative way) in literally hours.  Still, no matter what we get for an actual 2010 population count, these estimates data say more about what has been going on year by year over the last decade.   I have to point out that the trend should not be a surprise.

But here is what I get for the 7 county Pittsburgh MSA population totals per the source linked above:

2000    2,429,054
2001    2,418,045
2004 2,387,759
2009 2,353,271

Update: OK, before we get too too carried away. The census estimates do say there was a period of overall population growth for the 7 county region between 1991 and 1994. Still, there is a big difference between now and then because back then there was still overall natural population gains each year.  So now there must be enough net migration to offset that. 


Anonymous BrianTH said...

Wouldn't this put us a little ahead of schedule according to your model's projections as of a while ago? Or am I misremembering that?

If so, it seems likely the impact of the housing crisis and recession on migration patterns would be to blame for this happening early (assuming the estimates are correct).

Monday, March 07, 2011 5:30:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Incidentally, if I am reading that right, Allegheny County is again estimated to be among the gainers, which as the article you linked discussed is a story in itself.

Monday, March 07, 2011 5:36:00 PM  
Anonymous darkfox said...

It seems Pittsburgh gains residents when the economy is tanking and loses residents when the economy is hot.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011 8:46:00 PM  

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