In its quest to become a leading world city, Chicago may have relinquished power within its region. The City of Big Shoulders could continue to shrink if the Steel City successfully rebuilds its job market and reverses its population decline.
Before you dismiss this as a joke, do check out the referenced post. It is full of interesting data. What sticks out to me:
|Metropolitan area||GMP in US$ billions (2010)|
Chicago's economy is almost 5 times bigger than Pittsburgh's. Chicago is on a different planet. The slowing horse egging Pittsburgh on is Detroit. The Eastern Rust Belt is in need of an anchor.
Whatever was beyond the pale of Chicagoland used to belong to Detroit, the Rust Belt's Second City. In many ways (particularly in terms of migration) Detroit was Chicago's equal. Detroit was a great and global city.
Detroit remains an economic power, perhaps in spite of itself. Most telling is the decline (i.e. transformation) of immigration:
Metro Detroit is no longer the immigration gateway it once was, according to a report released last week by the nonprofit Brookings Institution, but the region remains home to one of the nation's highest concentrations of high-skilled immigrants.
Regarding immigration, Detroit is looking a lot more like Pittsburgh. That is to say, it is following instead of leading. Detroit is trying to catch up to Pittsburgh. The larger economy in terms of GMP is largely symbolic. Pittsburgh is already the center of gravity for the Eastern Rust Belt.