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TheGerbil

Ugh

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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06172/699910-53.stm

According to this article the city lost 4,000 people between 2004 and 2005.

My initial reaction was "why?" -- but I know the reason. High percentage of elderly people, which means more deaths than births. Combined with low international immigration.

I just keep hoping that this will finally change. With all of the good news on the job front, all the improvements to the city, and keeping more college grads than we used to... But I guess what we really need is more immigrants. And more jobs than we have been creating so far (ahem, state gov't, how about that business tax reform already??)

On the "bright" side, the following cities lost more than us: Cleveland, New Orleans, Detroit, Boston, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Norfolk, Va.

What pattern do I see here? Most of the cities listed as losing people are rust belt cities. Make of that what you will.

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It's just an estimate based on questionable methodology IMO. We'll see where we stand for sure in 4 years.

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I'm curious now. What is this questionable method?

Is this number just an estimate based on past changes, or do they do some kind of count? Because if it's a pure estimate then it is very silly of the PG to report on it the way they did. That kind of irresponsibilty only perpetuates negative stereotypes and hurts the city's image. Could even be self-fulfilling prophecy.

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According to this article the city lost 4,000 people between 2004 and 2005.

My initial reaction was "why?" -- but I know the reason. High percentage of elderly people, which means more deaths than births. Combined with low international immigration.

That's pretty much it. I wouldn't get too hung up voer it though. What really matters is the economic mix of the population that is left. In most cities that expereince population decline, there tends to be major disinvestment in the city because the people moving out are middle and upper class people. That's what you see in Cleveland, St. Louis, and Detroit. Pittsburgh has somehow managed to remain a working/middle class city with several well-off upper class neighborhoods wihtin city limits. If you ask me, that's actually a very unique situation. I attribute it to the fact that, unlike Cleveland and Detroit and St. Louis, people aren't actually leaving Pittsburgh in droves. Rather, the population loss seems to stem from the fact that few people are coming to Pgh and because the city's population is disproportionately old and thus the death rate is comparatively high.

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^^great analysis urban,

As far as bringing up foreign immigration that is very much a two edged sword in this era of "anything goes immigration".

I think a more compelling question not only for Pittsburgh but for all facets of second-third-plus generational America is how sans immigration numbers the U.S. for the first time in centuries is dying out. Pittsburgh, Detroit and other rustbelt cities I feel aren't doing anything "wrong" really except being victims of a tidal wave of cultural and economic forces that are incentivizing non-immigrant families to have zero or negative population growth. This might sound rather irrelevant to Pittsburgh but the social and economic consequences of this trend are a bit like going down the rabbit hole, think of the dominos that will fall because of this trend. A good read on this is "Death of the West".

Sorry if I got too far afield here but my theory is that Pittsburgh's problem is not lack of immigration but lack of what Pittsburghers (both immigrants and non) have done for centuries, have postive population growth. That issue is just a small piece of a wave of shifiting societal goals in the last generation or two throughout the industrialized world. It's great to have immigration, bad to be totally dependent on it for basic services and support because there is no "next generation" to fill every retirement.

Pittsburgh is just part of one of 49 states that have this generational crash facing them. I say all this because before we solve that underlying problem of industrialized socities throughout the globe, we can't begin to solve the problem within city limits JMHO.

I think on a local level Urban's take is excellent, we should focus on quality over quantity, even with foreign immigration. Not to sound crass but there is just no way we are ever going to beat LA or Phoenix or Miami at the immigration game, so why not be their alternative?

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I'm curious now. What is this questionable method?

Is this number just an estimate based on past changes, or do they do some kind of count? Because if it's a pure estimate then it is very silly of the PG to report on it the way they did. That kind of irresponsibilty only perpetuates negative stereotypes and hurts the city's image. Could even be self-fulfilling prophecy.

I'm no expert on it but from my limited experience with these things it is pretty scientific and though not perfect (and from what I've seen the official census every decade has been way off the mark at times) is the truly best estimates that they can derive.

It would be like anything else really, ratings #s for local stations and networks, tax revenue projections, in high finance and big organizations (city, county, state, Mellon, US Steel) projections and the science of them is big business and accurate enough most of the time to bet huge sums of "other people's money" on. It is not 100% but neither is much in life, heck the Census at times (I believe this to be correct) is actually recalculated and amended a few times, so real #s really don't "shake out" to the last man woman and child for years after the prelims are published. Unless you want to pay higher taxes for the massive undertaking an every two year census would require, and then even have those "solid" numbers be strewn in controversy and complications that develop from trying to accurately "heard cats" in the millions for every metro area, then the current set up, though flawed, is better then a complete info vaccum on the matter. JMHO. :)

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^^great analysis urban,

A good read on this is "Death of the West".

Read it.... Almost chilling that we could be immigrated and bred out of our way of life. It's already starting to happen in Europe.

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If you ask me, that's actually a very unique situation. I attribute it to the fact that, unlike Cleveland and Detroit and St. Louis, people aren't actually leaving Pittsburgh in droves. Rather, the population loss seems to stem from the fact that few people are coming to Pgh and because the city's population is disproportionately old and thus the death rate is comparatively high.

Pittsburghs population is disproportionately old because of the mass out migration of the 1980's. The prime earners left with their kids and removed a large portion of a whole generation from Pittsburgh. The effects are still apparent today. That happened long ago and Pittsburgh is recovering from that, but it takes a long time, a whole generation.

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Pittsburghs population is disproportionately old because of the mass out migration of the 1980's. The prime earners left with their kids and removed a large portion of a whole generation from Pittsburgh. The effects are still apparent today. That happened long ago and Pittsburgh is recovering from that, but it takes a long time, a whole generation.

Yep. I just hope we're almost to the point of being recovered. Judging by the number of young couples I see with kids, I would guess we are close. But maybe being young myself means I am more likely to be in places where I see that, so it may just be perception.

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Just my view, but I still see the population of Pittsburgh being stagnant for a long time to come. The metro population declined for about 20 years. I feel it's leveled off but the influx of younger people is going to just match the elderly dying off for another 10 or 15 years. Unless a major change in the economy prompts a large spurt of immigration to the area I don't see even low to moderate growth of 1% to 3% kicking in until around 2020. This may sound pessimistic, but that's the way I see it. Pittsburgh is ahead of the curve on most of the rustbelt cities, and I see it growing before the others.

On the flip side I see the sunbelt cities doing the exact opposite. Most will go through a second round of huge population growth from the continued immigration and from the high birthrate of the young families that relocated there and their kids who are now having kids.

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Well the fact is that immigration does play a significant role in city population growth - both foreign and yes obviously domestic as well.

growing cities have momentum from immigration - people know that they can get jobs in Atlanta, so they go there. These people rent apartments or buy homes. These apartments and homes must be built. These people open up local bank accounts, shop and buy local goods... this is all obvious but it all feeds into growth of services and the growth of service jobs... Companies know that they can recruit easier in areas with good/high growth, so local white collar services, tech whatever - increases

We all remember the Lycos situation (though I still have a hard time believing that they couldn't get who they wanted locally).

In any case, jobs will lead to people, but low in-migration to begin with, means slower growth.

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This seems to refer specifically to the city's population and not the metro area. I would think that a lot of the loss is that larger, typically urban families, particularly minorities, are moving out of the city to larger houses of the older suburbs of the 50s. Judging by the major transition of our city neighborhoods (East Liberty, South Side, Oakland, Downtown etc) the people that seem to be moving into the city are young singles and empty nesters. Smaller households but deeper pockets. Perhaps the population is still slightly dwindling but the tax base might be rising. Just a hopeful speculation on a speculation

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It's sad though, the city might be "lucky" to have 300,000 residents.

For the trend to be reversed job growth must be better.

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I think this will help - this is makes some excellent points:

In this data Cresecent Township grew by an amazing 9.3% between 2004 and 2005. Did it really and if so why? Well... in 2004 there were building permits for 96 single family homes for the township, more than 10 times the average of 9 per year over the previous 5 years. Thus the model allocated a lot of growth to that one municipality this year. Looking forward, it is an easy prediction that next years number for the city of Pittsburgh will be worse than this year. Consider that next year's population estimate will be based on the number of building permits in 2005. The census shows that only 65 permits for private residental single family homes were issued for the city in 2005, the lowest number in a decade.

http://nullspace2.blogspot.com/2006/06/eve...nking-city.html

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One thing we should all consider is that we will gain population from people who are fleeing higher priced markets. That is why we came here from Los Angeles in 2004, and I have met many people who have done the same thing from other larger, "hotter", urban areas. Many of us find the citys amenities to be much more desirable than the suburbs and you don't have all of the nasty commute times on the areas underdeveloped highway system.

I always question data such as these because we do not know how they come to the total figures that they release.

The city can't be doing all that poorly with all of the new development that is happening that is changing the face of the city forever. Yes the demographics are changing, but that is happening in every city. The population figures say that Manhattan and D.C. are still losing populations, but these places are becoming more and more attractive to live and you see redevelopment everywhere. Just because non-"traditional" types of families are not moving in doesn't mean that the city is in collapse. The new smaller family is better educated, earns more money, and demands less services. It is just smarter in the modern era to have a smaller household. It will start to happen in "emerging" countries as well. This is just a direct result of education. You can't get out of poverty with many mouths to feed.

The biggest enemy to Pittsburgh that I have encountered so far? Negative "long-timers" with no forward vision or hope for the future. I say if you think the grass is greener then go and find your way because Pittsburgh doesn't need anymore of this to drag it down. No this is not your father's Pittsburgh, but I am thankful for that or I would not be here today.

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I am in complete agreement with mercurypa on all points. From the negative oldtimers to the fleeing highpriced markets.

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^^great analysis urban,

As far as bringing up foreign immigration that is very much a two edged sword in this era of "anything goes immigration".

I think a more compelling question not only for Pittsburgh but for all facets of second-third-plus generational America is how sans immigration numbers the U.S. for the first time in centuries is dying out.

A good read on this is "Death of the West".

I'm sorry you had to read that terrible book by that terrible man.

Here's the down and dirty truth about population growth. As countries become industrialized and modern, the first things that happens is life expectancy goes up and infant mortality goes down, but birth rates stay at the same high rate as before. This increases the total number of people alive at one point and population begins to mushroom. The next step, which in the western world has taken at least a century, is for the birth rates to go down and return the population growth rate to the same sustainable rate as it was prior to the industrial boom. This is a natural and healthy process resulting from higher education and quality of life. Not only do couples have less children, but the span between generation is longer as women wait until later in life to have kids. Put together, a smaller western population is many times more productive over its life cycle than a much larger third world population.

In developing countries, this entire process has been compacted by the uneven impact of modern medicine, nutrition, and manufactured goods... while the education levels and quality of life remain low. But on the bright side, we're seeing that what took western countries centuries to develop is being done in third world countries in a matter of decades, thanks to the technologies already existing. Their growth rates won't mushroom forever so long as they are allowed to develop healthy economies and advance in education and quality of life.

What Mr Buchanan's solution is, in veiled language, nothing more than to suggest that we go back to the stone age, screw like a bunch of happy apes, and let the third world countries bail us out a couple centuries down the line after we "caught up" to their population levels. Let's abandon education, quality of life, and things like having enough food for everyone, because obviously the most important goal of the great white race all of a sudden is to dominate the world by simple head-count. Hey, karma is a mother, I suppose quite literally, because it seems that by exploiting other parts of the world through centuries of colonialization, the western world has created this developmental gap and uncontrolled population growth. And to their credit, it is the very people like Mr. Buchanan who are feeding the beast by having spent years opposing nonsense like family planning, abortion, contraceptives, and sex ed all around the world.

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Take the religious righteousness away from Buchanan's book and you're still left with the fact that American's are having 1.9 children per couple. That is below the replacement figure of 2.1 births per couple. Plain and simple fact is that if not for immigration the US population would be in decline.

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Take the religious righteousness away from Buchanan's book and you're still left with the fact that American's are having 1.9 children per couple. That is below the replacement figure of 2.1 births per couple. Plain and simple fact is that if not for immigration the US population would be in decline.

Birth rate for 2006 is 2.09 children per couple. It hits the replacement rate head-on, you can't ask for better than that. CIA World Factbook

As far as Buchanan's "colored people" scare, white people (including whites grouped under "Hispanic") make up 82% of the population. Unless by "white" you mean just upper-income anglo-saxon protestants who vote Republican, buy lots of guns, and avoid military service.

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