Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pittsburgh Population redux

So the city population numbers are out. See PG  Census estimates see Pittsburgh's population standing still or Trib: Pittsburgh region's population decline continues

Note the new data is all about municipal level population change, the county and regional population estimates for 2016 came out earlier in the year and had their micro news cycles already. All we just learned was about the pattern of estimated population change at the municipal level.

As follows from the Allegheny County population estimates released earlier this year, the city of Pittsburgh's population is estimated to have continued a decline that goes back to 2013.  What is also interesting is that the city's population decline (-239) is proportionally much smaller than the county's population drop between 2015-2016. There have been years (and decades) when the city made up a disproportionately larger (not smaller) part of the county's population change.

Here's the deal, IMHO. These municipal level estimates really reflect the pattern of building permits issued in the the county. So pretty much this is all saying there have been more residential units planned in the city than the county average.  Building permits lead to housing in the future, which presumably lead to new residents is the logic. Implicit assumption is that they are all occupied and the new units do not displace residents elsewhere. Important to note that the estimates assume a lag in the time from when permits are issued to when population growth happens.  So for the mid-2016 population estimates just released, you need to look at past levels of building permits.

So go back to one of my rarer and rarer recent posts from a year ago suggesting data on building permits is something to take note of: Um, building Permits in the city of Pittsburgh anyone?   Take a look at the graphic showing recent building permits data.


So you can tie up a lot of things with that one time series on building permits.  Everyone who says the city is growing, a conversation I have a lot, always cite as their only evidence the many new big residential projects they see in concentrated in the East End of Pittsburgh.  I always ask how that balances with new construction in Pittsburgh's West End, across the South Hills and Hilltop neighborhoods and across  the northern reaches of the city. Most people extrapolate way way too far from construction concentrated in the East End.

But there is indeed this spike of new units in the East End, and you can see just how unusual that has been for the city in that building permits graphic. That big spike does indeed get factored into the current population estimates we are now seeing for 2016. The result is the city showing far less population decline than the county overall.  I also suspect that the natural population decline in the city is not as true in the city any longer because, as we have gone into here, the city's age demographic became much younger earlier this decade. Take that into account and it is probably true that the city's population is not even declining, but probably about net even.

But, can it continue? If true that the city's population is stable, it took a big spike in building permits in one year to get that result. Can the city sustain that level of building permits every year into the future? That is another topic.

6 Comments:

Blogger joe said...

To continue the trend we need to lead the world in de-age-segregating our communities.

Build multi-generational housing that's affordable with built-in human capital (young families/college students living amidst older adults and others needing short- or longer-term care and support) + community catalyzing with living wage jobs.

Here's where you tell me how that's already happening someplace in Pittsburgh...

Saturday, June 10, 2017 7:15:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

I'm looking at your real estate tweets and post. I'm pondering if this is a good time to buy a bigger house?

Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger roba. gad3 said...

http://www.prokr.net/2016/09/eliminate-cockroaches-companies-11.html
http://www.prokr.net/2016/09/eliminate-cockroaches-companies-10.html
http://www.prokr.net/2016/09/eliminate-cockroaches-companies-9.html
http://www.prokr.net/2016/09/eliminate-cockroaches-companies-8.html
http://www.prokr.net/2016/09/eliminate-cockroaches-companies-7.html

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 2:48:00 PM  
Blogger قمة الدقة said...

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017 4:47:00 PM  
Blogger صيانة اريستون said...


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Sunday, August 06, 2017 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Subsidizing coal from one specific part of the county? At least he switched parties before he proposed it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017 10:12:00 PM  

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