Education über alles?
The thing is, is it even possible for Pittsburgh (city, region, or pick your definition) to really increase educational attainment in percentage terms more than how much other cities and regions could improve in the future?
Remember that once you adjust for age, we really are off the charts in terms of educational attainment here as it is. I'll keep this short since we have been through this so many times before. This all becomes a very specific issue for this contest though. So for us to successfully increase in percentage terms (that seems to be the contest criteria) the number of college graduates would seem to me to be an uphill battle because we are starting out so far ahead of the average. It would essentially require making everyone get a college degree.. or at least get awfully close. There are regions that are far far below us in terms of educational attainment at the bachelors degree or graduate degree level and thus probably have a lot farther to improve in the near term. It was not always the case which is the big point here. If you ever see a factoid that makes it appear Pittsburgh has an average level of educational attainment, it is most likely conflating the patterns of educational attainment for younger and older generations. For Pittsburgh like almost no other place in the nation the shift in the educational needs of the labor force decades ago vs. now has created a unique shift. Put simply, if you look at folks graduating in the most recent decades, we are pretty much among the most educated places in the nation.
Still the most remarkable chart that in itself describes the transformation of Pittsburgh in so many ways is this. Same as posted before and an update on previous work: