Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pittsburgh Hot Migration Destination

“It’s the economy and hipness,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, who analyzed the census data comparing the 2005 to 2007 period with 2008 to 2010. “Young people are going to places that have a certain vibe. If there’s a recession, they want to ride it out in a place like that. And Washington has the extra advantage of being a government town that’s not as hard-hit by recessions as others.”

<---------------End Update--------------->
The lede is that American geographic mobility continues to decline. The trend would seem to benefit the Rust Belt. As usual, a finer grained analysis is warranted:

Other bright spots in the housing bust included urban, high-tech college meccas that are proving to be a draw for young, college-educated adults of all races and ethnicities. The data covering 2008-2010 show that Raleigh, N.C.; Austin, San Antonio and Houston, Texas; Denver; Pittsburgh; and Baltimore and Washington, D.C., all of which tend to promise specialized tech jobs and hip lifestyles, had some of the biggest gains in residents.

William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer who reviewed the education and race data, said many of these cities will continue to attract new residents after the economy fully recovers. He said other cities must seek ways to diversify their industries, draw new investment and build partnerships with local universities to attract young talent, much like Pittsburgh has been striving to do after the collapse of its steel industry.

"Right now, the 'cool' cities are serving as way stations for the small number of adventurous young people who are willing to move in a down economy. But when the broader economy picks up, a much larger group of people will move to wherever the jobs spring up," Frey said, noting that people are staying put for now because they have to, not because they want to.

Emphasis added. Like Austin, Rust Belt Shittsburgh promises "specialized tech jobs and hip lifestyles". Who knew?

Pittsburgh is one of a handful of cool cities serving as a way station for young talent. I'm reminded of Seattle and Minneapolis during the Gen X recession of the early 1990s. Those two cities blossomed as a major national destination during the Dot Com boom. Similar growth doesn't seem likely in today's global economy and I think that will impact the recovery migration, effectively muting it.

Regardless, Pittsburgh stands out as a new winner in the war for young talent. The city is emblematic of the economic transformation catalyzed by the Great Reset. There are always emerging landscapes from such a calamity and Pittsburgh is it.

No comments: