Monday, April 09, 2012

The Triumph of Pittsburgh

Harvard and Manhattan Institute scholar Ed Glaeser is going to be in town today (looks like it has been cancelled for today) speaking at Pitt.  Professor Glaeser is one of a very few wont to quote the late Ben Chinitz who was at chairman of the Economics Department here in the 1970s I believe.  Chinitz along with Edgar Hoover were pretty much the folks behind the 4 volume Economic Study of the Pittsburgh region that was completed in the early 1960's and remains a personal Rosetta Stone for much of my work.

Glaeser's latest book The Triumph of the City has been in the news. On the book the Trib quoted him in an article lastyear.. the whole story is worth reading, but note this one quote: 
"(T)he reason why ... I would argue that Pittsburgh is successful is that it has smart people. ... (A) third of Pittsburgh residents above the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree, as opposed to 27.5 percent for the U.S. average -- that's very different than Detroit. Detroit's at 11 percent. ... That's absolutely crucial to Pittsburgh's success."

Sort of connects everything in the news of late doesn't it?  If anything Professor Glaeser understates the emergent Pittsburgh exceptionalism (as contrasts to past Pittsburgh exceptionalisms).  Note again that when you benchmark educational attainment for the entire population 25 and over you kind of are missing the Pittsburgh story.  As we all know we have a skewed older demographic and the older generations did not go to school as much as younger generations do today.  So when you look at specific age cohorts, and specificically younger working age cohorts the educational attainment of Pittsburgh jumps off the chart.    Then consider that younger college educated workers are the most mobile parts of the population you will see why migration has turned positive of late for Pittsburgh more than for any other reason.  It really does all tie together as much as many try to deny it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like this seminar has been cancelled for today?


Monday, April 09, 2012 10:37:00 AM  

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