Saturday, July 30, 2011

Got kids?

Judging from some email I have been getting and other online commenting I probably need to address an interesting point out there. Looks like Eve and Co. have a graphic of the changing age distribution of the city between 2000 and 2010 with the observation that the proportion of those in their 20’s is making up a bigger share of the city of Pittsburgh’s population.

First off, it is true that the number and proportion of 20 years olds residing in the city of Pittsburgh went up between 2000 and 2010. It was one of the things that jumped out from the data dump a few months ago. (see tht Trib link, or my post at the time). If you want to look at the broader picture of why the proportion of population is changing making those younger cohorts appear bigger you can go back to what I wrote a decade ago (we’re getting younger every year). Actually that is now over 11.5 years ago. But the city has seen a huge decline in its elderly population which just mathematically makes younger cohorts a bigger piece of the pie. Still there has been a absolute increase in the number of folks in their 20’s residing within the city proper and that is the point worth looking at.

So why the overall  increase and how big is it? You can slice the age cohorts a bunch of ways, but let’s go with the groups Citylab used and decade of 20-29 year olds. That age group increased from 60,349 city residents in 2000 to 72,860 in 2010 for an increase of 12,511.

The biggest thing to consder is some other work we have looking at the increasing college enrollment at local institutions… the time series I had there was that between 1996 and 2008 the enrollment at local colleges (region wide mind you) and you get an increase of just under 16K over that period. Parse it and it is about 10K at institutions located within the city proper. The bottom line is that the bump up in 20 year olds in the city of Pittsburgh is mostly if not entirely an increase in the current enrollment at local colleges and universities. Maybe we can parse the enrollment time series to match the 2000-2010 period a bit closer to the decennial cycle in the future, but I am betting the local enrollment increases continued apace or even increased between 2008 and 2010.

We could parse and say some college enrollment is not 20 year olds, but the vast bulk of it is, especially when you consider our large and mostly itinerant graduate student population.  Also the enrollment trends I pulled together were just those in 4 year institutions.  I bet there has been an increase in itinerant students in other professional education in town over that period which would be in addition to the +16K (regional) number. 

There is a bigger corollary out there as well. 20 year olds may be increasing, but long term population trends almost always depend on trends in households with children. So even with more college students adding to the city’s population, the overall city population declined over the last decade. If you look at the children residing in the city you get an overall decline in the population under 18 going down by a remarkable 25% between 2000 and 2010. Few places will ever see growth if you don’t grow, or at lease maintain, households with children and my colleagues Bob and Caesar have put together the definitive neighborhood maps on what is happening with kids in city neighborhoods. There are local neighborhoods with declines in their child populations well beyond the city-wide 25% decline. That is inevitably the biggest driver of future population in most local neighborhoods and municipalities.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

So it was 10,000 in 12 years, at least a healthy minority percentage of which is under 20. I'd guess around 25%--in 2000, college enrollment outnumbered post-college enrollment about 3:1, and if just 1/3 of college enrollment is under 20, that gets you to about 25%. I might note one should take into account things like dropout rates and such when considering the age distribution of college students. I'd also note the chart showed the 15-19 share up a bit while the 10-14 share was down. Assuming non-college 15-19 was down something similar to 10-14, that again implies a healthy chunk of the college enrollment increase was in the latter part of 15-19.

So about 800 a year minus a healthy minority percentage sub-20: I doubt that is going to get you to the necessary 12,500 in 10 years. Accordingly, the "if not entirely" clause is almost surely wrong, and frankly this seems like a lot of work to try to deny the good news that the non-student young adult population in the City is on a different track from the overall non-student adult population (which would be true even if it turns out the non-student young adult population was flat, which again I highly doubt).

Sunday, July 31, 2011 1:29:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

On the kids: I'd like to see a good analysis of how the youth-biased diaspora associated with the steel bust era would be likely to affect children in turn. Regardless, I'd agree the question is whether the increasing (I'm not going to say flat for the reasons above) population of non-student young adults is going to translate eventually into an increasing population of young children. It should even if they suburbanize at the same rates as prior young adults starting families, and surveys and the experience of other central cities in recent times indicate they may well suburbanize at lower rates.

And while it is too soon to tell, I might note the drop in the under 5 bracket was lower than the drop in older brackets. A preliminary indication? We shall see.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 1:41:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Sorry for the serial posts, but looking at more 2000 Census data, it looks like a nontrivial percentage of college and grad students is 30+. Unfortunately this doesn't line up with the age brackets in question, but here are some 2000 enrollment numbers (college and grad combined):

15 to 17 136
18 to 24 29574
25 to 34 9326
35+ 4984

Total 44020

If you give 5/7ths of 18-24 to 20-24 (which may be generous, in fact) and say 2/3rds of 25-34 to the 25-29 (to account for being on the declining portion of the distribution), you get about 27342, or roughly 62% of the total, falling within 20-29.

Of course the distribution of enrollment increases might not match that base distribution exactly, but still, I think it is clear you have to discount the total college/university enrollment increases substantially to capture the likely effects on 20-29 population alone. And in fact my original 25% discount was likely too little in light of the older students.

One other thought--assuming that 27342 number was about right, that means the non-student 20-29 population in 2000 was around 33,000. I'm pretty convinced the non-student portion of the 12,500 increase was quite substantial, maybe more than half (800 per year * 10 years * .62 20-29 is only about 5000, leaving about 7500 for the non-student 20-29 increase). But even if the non-student 20-29 increase was only, say, around 3500, that would still be more than a 10% increase in the non-student 20-29 population this last decade.

And that would still be a very dramatic increase. I also personally think it would be hard to sustain the notion that such a trend isn't going to have an affect eventually on other parts of the population distribution, assuming it continues (I actually don't think that notion makes sense as applied to students either, meaning I think an increasing student population is bound to affect other population trends eventually as well, but that is a different issue).

In short, the details of this "mostly if not entirely" stuff matters. I am more convinced than ever it is not "entirely", and it may not even be "mostly", and that still leaves a huge story that is being overlooked.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 3:24:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

remember that 10k is only at 4 year institutions. I was being a bit conservative in starting there. I bet there is substantial increases in the other professional schools enrollment that really should be thrown in there as well and is much of the remainder you are getting. That and I really think a lot of enrollment at a few of the suburban schools winds up with folks living in the city. I do believe you will not wind up with much that is not directly enrollment related, but we can parse it to a greater degree for sure. To do it right one really needs to track the cohorts over the years and not the age ranges but it gets a bit hard because of the mixing of students and other residents in those late teen years.

we have not put it up yet, but we have a map of change in 18-24 year old population by neighborhood and it sure looks to be all on top of the universities and not much else. Granted that mixes what might be non-student growth which would be coterminous for many.. still hard to get away from the conclusion that the population change in that age range is enrollment driven.

Remember the other factoid that even just college dormatory population went up by 3500 over the decade.. what is the ratio of dormatory residents to enrollment in the city?

all that being said, and see my point in the trib. It is not meant to discount student enrollment which is a real factor in the local population. Just best to not think it is the same type of population and resident families. They behave differently and you would expect that. Causes all sorts of confusion in the modeling if you don't treat them differently. If you just thought that big mass of 20 year olds ages out in place here as families do, how fast would Pittsburgh be growing? 100 times faster than it is now? (a nonsensical statement since the city isn't growing at all but still)

Sunday, July 31, 2011 5:34:00 AM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

long term population trends almost always depend on trends in households with children

How does this blend with R.Florida's notion of the creative class - which is somewhat different from PWK (people with kids).

Do we end up with economic apartheid, growth in breeding towns and wealth in hipster towns?

Sunday, July 31, 2011 8:57:00 AM  
Anonymous n'at said...

Not enough information to say the cake-eaters work and play in the city, yet raise their chilluns in the burbs? May require a bit of scope creep, but a comparison of neighboring school district and township population trends would provide a greater sense of results without an apparent conclusion.

Though there is enough information to say that implicit and explicit racial segregation wouldn't be so devastatingly oppressive if the census mapping of economic despair didn't overlay so well.

For example, a Hill District with successful and varied neighborhood businesses can successfully contain elicit drug use the way Greenfield and Squirrel Hill can.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Squirrel Hill has limited drug abuse because I don a cape and patrol the night. Either that or because house prices are too high too both do drugs and keep a roof over your head.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I understand there may be a few enrollment-related increases we missed, but I don't see how that adds up to the necessary 12,500 number.

Remember, you are only at about 5,000 of the 12,500 so far (if you have a better estimate, fine, but I've shown my work, so please do likewise).

I really doubt 20-29 enrollment at non-four-year professional programs increased that much, or anything close to it (if you think otherwise, I want to see the numbers).

Meanwhile, sure some students of suburban schools likely live in the City--and likely some students of City schools live outside the City (in fact I was such a student for a long time, going to Pitt but living in a non-City part of Regent Square, and I was hardly alone). And even if the NET effect is in the right direction, no way it is sufficient to more than double the enrollment increase count over the decade.

I really don't think the pattern of population increases is somehow to the contrary--obviously there is a correlation between the top student living areas and top young adult living areas to begin with, and since I am agreeing there is a large enrollment-driven increase as well we should expect that pattern.

So seriously, unless you can come up with numbers proving otherwise, it seems to me there has to be a non-student 20-29 increase numbering in many thousands--maybe not quite 7500, but enough that the non-student 20-29 population must have increased at a significant percentage, as in 10% or more.

In short, I understand Chris has invested some commentary in the "its all students" meme, but that 12,500 number is just way too large to be explained that way. And if it is not all students, if the non-student young adult population is in fact increasing at substantial rates, then that is a story we shouldn't be burying.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...


It is a very good bet that many childless young adults living in the City will in fact move to suburbs as they start families. The question is not whether that will happen at all, but rather at what rate.

If they just do it at historic rates, then we should see an increase in the very young child population in the City this decade. If they do it at lower than historic rates, that very young child population will increase at a bit faster rate.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

The growth of the non-student population ages 20 to 34 is zero at worst. That's better than moderately negative like it was in the 1990's, and definitely better than peer cities like Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit. It might even be better than Cincinnati, Milwaukee and St. Louis, to boot.

Sure, it's not as good as peer cities that a) are state capitals and/or b) never had a heavy manufacturing presence, but it's coming out ahead of most, if not all, peer cities that used to have a heavy manufacturing presence.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 2:03:00 PM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

Sounds like another positive data point, but not one particularly incandescent.

The incandescence seems comes from certain ideas influenced by Creative Classs theory. What it makes me ruminate upon is, I feel like there's always been some confusion between "age X to Y" and "creative", and always, that there's some confusion between "creative" and "artsy". The census news and the debate here would make for a decent challenge to whomever kids are passing through here at a given point in time, "Okay, prove the haters wrong, now everyone hold hands in a circle and click your heals three times, and shout, "Critical Mass Creative Attain!". Also we could accept the stats for what they are and market the city as a great place to date and mate if you're in a certain age group, what with all the college students flocking through it. That's an appropriate pitch for throwing in the insane property value.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 2:53:00 PM  
Anonymous MSL said...

This is the future of Pittsburgh. A giant college town where people come to go to school and maybe spend a few years afterwards partying on mom and dad's dollar before they get a real job, start a family, and move out. When the higher ed bubble pops--which it will sooner or later--it's going to be like the 80's all over again.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 3:29:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

..that there's some confusion between "creative" and "artsy".

That there is. I'm fairly certain I count as part of the "creative class" and I regard art like dog crap on the sidewalk. You may as well accept that you're going to be exposed to some, but there's no reason to be happy about it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 3:55:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Topically, I'll just add that My Little Outback seems to have a good crowd but most seem to be suburbanites.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 5:35:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

You know.. in addition to the larger number of students you need to start with there is another factor. While most students are single, not all are and expecially when you talk about our large graduate student population you need to add in trailing spouses and even some children which add up. Those are clearly part of an itinerant population you have to think about separately when you are doing population forecasting.

I will see if I can work this out a bit more fomally next week to get around some of the speculation. My belief is that if you work it out the population gain among 20 year olds is less than what the enrollment gains alone would generate but we will see.

I understand where the other view comes from. There certainly are parts of the city where things appear to be getting younger. The change in Bloomfield over the last decade or two is remarkable. But Pittsburgh has 90 neighborhoods and in so many of them the numbers of young families or young people in general is just dropping. You need an awful lot of gains in a select few neighborhoods to offset all of it. So until you take look at Beltzhoover or Fairywood you don't really have a full idea of what trends in the city mean.

Monday, August 01, 2011 5:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What leads you to believe that the My Little Outback patrons are suburbanites MH? Skin tone? Hairstyle? Clothing? Or perhaps it's simply the cuts of their jibs or their overt appreciation of bad art.

Monday, August 01, 2011 9:14:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

I'm allowed to talk to people in public places.

Monday, August 01, 2011 9:43:00 AM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

Well, if you're going to look at Fairywood, make sure you look at East Carnegie, Ridgemont, Westwood and Oakwood. That whole appendage.

Monday, August 01, 2011 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I doubt the increase in 20-something spouses of grad students--which, again, are outnumbered about 3:1 in the City's higher-ed student population--are going to make a huge dent in the missing 7500. But in any event, I'll look forward to seeing some hard numbers from Chris.

Incidentally, I understand there is still depopulation going on in many City neighborhoods, but I think it would be easy to confuse yourself by counting neighborhoods or adding up land area and then try to guess at net effects. Lots of these neighborhoods have already lost lots of people such that their utilization is only a fraction of what it once was. Thus what would count as big percentage reduction for them today no longer equate to large reductions in gross terms.

Monday, August 01, 2011 1:49:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Incidentally, I also wonder if we can assume grad students with spouses are as itinerant as the single ones. I ask because I was once a grad student with a spouse in the area, and we ended up settling in the area long term in part because her job here, particularly in light of the cost of living and overall family-friendliness of the area, was too good to give up.

This is just another small way in which I think it is likely a mistake to simply zero out the likely secondary effects of an increasing student population. Young adult students may be way more likely to leave soon than non-student young adults, but they aren't all going to end up leaving, and some will likely stay in the City (although as previously noted, we were already living just outside the City when I was still a grad student).

And so if the total number of students is increasing, likely so is the number of ex-students that ends up staying around, including some in the City. All at a small percentage, of course, but any growth factor is notable.

Monday, August 01, 2011 1:57:00 PM  
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