Sunday, October 16, 2016

Credit-worthy Yunzers

So here is a factoid of note.  Completely incidental to a recently released report from the Urban Institute focused on Detroit is a table of data on the credit worthiness of residents of 'Rust Belt' cities.  While it is interesting to see what others define as the list of places that constitute the 'Rust Belt,' what jumps out is how Pittsburgh compares.  Here is a figure made from their data:

The metric there is the percentage of credit scores that rank in what is considered 'prime' or above, so higher numbers are better. Prime credit scores representing better credit worthiness.  The source is a the recently released Urban Institute report: The Fiscal Health of Detroit Residents.  Pittsburgh has the highest percentage of credit scores that have "Prime" credit scores.  Conversely Pittsburgh has the lowest percentage of residents with "Subprime" or lowest ranking of credit scores.  But in almost all measures Pittsburgh compares favorably to all the other cities. Take a look at the report to see some other factoids worth thinking about more. For all the attention to student debt, the percentage of student debt in collections is pretty low (2.8% for Pittsburgh).  Pittsburghers also seem to have the lowest credit card utilization ratio and lowest delinquency rates and what may be even more significant, compares favorably to the national average in almost all metrics identified.

I guess my biggest caveat to interpreting the numbers there is that the cities grouped together might all be "Rust Belt" cities in some sense of history, but differ markedly in size and any recent history.  For example, the City of Detroit is over 680K, while the city of Pittsburgh hovers, arguably, around 300K. To be clear, the report was focused on Detroit and not intended to be a comprehensive benchmarking exercise.  But I do wonder a bit how the cities would compare if the geographies were redefined a bit more consistently, but that is harder to do than to conceptualize. I also have to wonder about how age and student populations impact these numbers. Might be worth someone to look into more? Nonetheless, (City of) Pittsburghers seem to be far more able to access credit markets than folks in Detroit and have better credit than all those specified regions and that has to have a lot of implications across the board, not the least of which is in real estate markets. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Saying Goodbye to the Greatest Generation

It is one month until Veterans Day 2016.  I just thought it worth noting just how few World War II veterans are still with us.  In Allegheny County the number of World War II veterans once exceeded 200K, but only small fraction are still with us.  I know it has been a long goodbye in a sense, but maybe it is worth noting there are WW2 vets around. The estimates available from the Census are a little above 6K just in Allegheny County as of 2015.  As 2016 draws to the close, I am sure we are down well below that number.

A more amazing statistic.  This is a number so small that survey error makes it hard to say for sure it is not actually zero, but the estimate for 2015 is that there were 41 Allegheny County veterans who served in WW II, Korea AND Vietnam.  I think for Veterans Day this year - and the ulterior motive for posting this a month early - we should find any local vets who served in all three of those wars.