Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Talent Geography: Pittsburgh

Chris Briem has written an excellent post about the myths and realities of Pittsburgh talent:

Something I put together long ago and reflects the Census 2000 data now 9 years old take a look at what you get when you compare the educational attainment of those age 25-34 across the 50 largest metro regions in the country. and something I will stipulate up front is reflective of how small the city of Pittsburgh is within the region (although that observation cuts many ways when it comes to policy and is at least somewhat true of other cities as well... but hold that thought) take a look at similar benchmarks of just for the City of Pittsburgh.

Again, that is all data reflective of 9 years ago. There really isn't data with enough precision out there to say how those rankings have changed since then, but I would be surprised if we went down. What you see are some curious things. The region ranks pretty high on these.

But the city of Pittsburgh ranks really high. The proportion of population with a graduate degree is highest in 1) Wash DC, 2) Boston, 3) San Francisco and 4) Pittsburgh. I'd argue that the Washington, DC metric is a really artificial comparison due to the concentration of federal jobs there.

There's a lot more to the argument, but the above three paragraphs capture the gist. The myth is that Pittsburgh is a talent backwater. The reality is that Pittsburgh counts brain density as a major economic asset.

Concerning the talent dividend, Pittsburgh is a relative winner. I have two blog posts that strongly support this assertion. The first one cites a Brookings study that is full of good news about Pittsburgh's educational attainment demographics, echoing Briem's assessment. The second post links to data revealing how aggressively Pittsburgh has built up regional human capital. I contend that Pittsburgh is finally reaping its talent dividend, some 40-years in the making. Since I'm on record as saying I'm bullish on Pittsburgh's future, today's post explains why.

No comments: