Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Scratch That Itch

This post is dedicated to Amos_thePokerCat. Amos was kind enough to drop a few links on me that strengthen my position on Pittsburgh's migration woes. I'm trying to exhaust my recent obsession with people moving hither and yon. As far as I'm concerned, the issue is settled... until the next comment or new report.

Stop worrying about the people leaving Pittsburgh. According to this study, "out-migration from the Pittsburgh region was lower than nearly all other regions of comparable size." That statement carries considerable shock value, even for me.

Pittsburgh obsesses the recently departed, unjustifiably so. The media coverage is largely to blame. Young people leave home, all around the world. In the United States, moving to improve is what defines us as Americans. As a recent article in The Economist (July 1st-7th issue, "Lexington: Pursuing happiness") points out, 40 million Americans move annually.

Get used to it. We are rootless vagabonds at heart.

My dream is to see Pittsburgh as the center of R&D on labor mobility. You are not going to see a long and sordid tale about the Phoenix diaspora. Pittsburgh could be the model for community overcoming distance.


tannybrown said...

I remember when I left for San Diego in 2000, the girl I was dating looked up some census info. Her city, Buffalo, had lost the highest percentage of people between 1990 and 2000 out of any city in the US. And Pittsburgh had lost the most people during that time period. (Or maybe I have the cities reversed...maybe Buffalo lost the people and Pittsburgh lost the percentage.).

Assuming my memory isn't failing me, how does that mesh with the idea that Pittsburgh's had very little out-migration?

Jim Russell said...

When you see data on how many people a city has gain or lost, you are usually considering net migration.

The reason Pittsburgh had a notable net loss of population was the dramatic lack of people moving to Pittsburgh. The number of people leaving Pittsburgh was well below average. In fact, one of the studies I referenced stated that Pittsburgh did too well in retaining residents, creating an environment unfriendly to outsiders.

tannybrown said...

Well that's good news then. A small amount of in-migration will have a large effect, right?

Amos_thePokerCat said...

Thanks for the mention, and while I am pleased with my movie quotes on my blogger profile, that link is available on any of my comments. What no like to my slow motion bloog web page? All this data, and numbers talk might force me to actually make an entry for this month.

Actual data and link to young adult migration refuting your argument comming.