Friday, January 26, 2007

International Migration Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has expended resources to stem the tide of out-migration, but the region has failed to do enough to attract outsiders. As an article in today's Post-Gazette points out, Pittsburgh is in dire need of more international migrants:

The region currently is home to about 62,000 foreign-born residents, the fewest of any major metro area, and local business leaders say they need a lot more.

"A steady influx of working-age immigrants in their 20s and 30s would gradually enlarge the region's working-age population," a crucial factor in wooing more companies and offsetting a potential crisis as baby boomers begin retiring and the region's population continues to stagnate, said Peter A. Morrison, a demographer with think tank Rand Corp.

While Pittsburgh does have the organizations and infrastructure to help new arrivals thrive in the area, there seems to be a lack of institutional push to get immigrants here in the first place. The Jewish Family and Children's Service is attempting to fill this void, seeking out immigrant populations in "gateway" cities.

Pittsburgh could become a secondary migration destination, like Reading, PA is for Dominicans from the gateway city of New York. But the region needs to pave the way for this relocation of people. I think the Burgh Diaspora could be of some assistance. Pittsburgh expatriates living in gateway cities and possessing contacts with various immigrant communities are well positioned to sell the upside of living in their hometown.

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