Thursday, May 19, 2011

News that isn't

The headline is:  Census finds Pittsburgh is growing younger

But there is nothing at all news in that. From over a decade ago is my first PG Oped:  We're getting younger every year which many still decry to me as being no more than uctuous baffle-gab.  I could not even explain the fundamentals of basic population change in the region to the PG editorial board which still insisted on writing this recently: Elusive turnaround: Reports of a population uptick are unproven, which says much the same thing, but is just nicer about it. As best I can tell, the endemic Pittsburgh pessimism is about the only thing that the two editorial boards of the two papers share in their perspectives.

Funny that.

The point is though that nothing in the news today is really reflective of anything that has happened in just the last few years.  No G20 boost, nor any recent program or initiative either caused or inhibited the story today.  The trends that lead to the headline today were inevitably in place over a decade ago.  I think the good Jim R. likes talking about the mesofacts impacting regions. In all of this you see mesotrend #1 impacting Pittsburgh.  You can't even infer that all 'youth' are the same. For the city in particular though, the 'youth' that are moving here are really part and parcel with the growth in college students enrolled locally, especially those living in dorms.. and not necessarily younger families with children.

Yet even after a decade, that same oped could be rerun today.  By most any metric you can think of, everywhere else in the US is getting older a lot faster than Pittsburgh is and will continue to do so for several more decades. If you take a look at this story: Baby boomers augur old age, new needs, and in particular this graphic, you will see the projections for 2030 by state.  Basically Pennsylvania is dead last in the projected % growth in its elderly population. Pittsburgh, the region, is an even more distant outlier in terms of how much slower our elderly population growth will be compared to elsewhere in the nation. 

Border Guard Bob needs to take up some occupational training as an undertaker. 


Anonymous MH said...

Border Guard Bob needs to take up some occupational training as an undertaker.

That was also George Romero's point, though he had a different reason.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 8:29:00 AM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

That cursing you hear from the general direction of Peters Township is Bill Steigerwald trying to figure out how to spin this. There's gotta be a way that a city with a decreasing median age is still "dying," I tell you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011 9:45:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Bill is retired is he not?

Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

There are plenty of ways to be a city with a decreasing median age and "dying."

Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous MSL said...

If the decreasing median age is due almost entirely to college students who come here for 4 years and leave for greener pastures, then yes, the city is still dying. If the decreasing median age is due to young people moving here for jobs, then that is a good sign and something to celebrate. It would be interesting to see what the median age is if college students are not included.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

Maybe the median age is dropping because the WW II generation, the generation that stayed in Pittsburgh after the mills left, is dying off. Probably true of the early part of the baby boomer boom, too.

If enough young people were moving here to change the median age, then it would also show a substantial increase in population.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

If the elderly population dropped by about a quarter since 2000 and the birth rate is low, then That means the working-age population has to be stable.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

That means the working-age population has to be stable.

At least until the 3rd pint.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 1:03:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

In that resident college students are technically working age that might be true a bit, but I'd be careful interpreting it without taking into account the college enrolmments.. at least for the city.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 1:10:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

New houses might help.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 1:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I still remember you telling me when I was a report assigned to tackle some typical Pittsburgh-is-aging story, that Pittsburgh doesn't lack young people, it lacks middle aged people. That was in the late 90s, and those would have been the people who were young in the late 70s/early 80s when steel was actually collapsing.

By the way, I can't speak for every university in the region, but at Robert Morris, a higher proportion of our students stay in the region than are from here originally.

Monday, May 23, 2011 7:54:00 AM  

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