Saturday, October 29, 2011

Young, Educated Flock To The Steel City

I'm still sorting out the wonderful migration news for Pittsburgh. I mentioned the William Frey numbers yesterday, which I found at The Washington Post:

Here's a list of large U.S. metro areas ranked by the estimated annual net migration of people age 25-34. The 2008-10 numbers were released Thursday.

Frey compared the new 2008-10 numbers with those from 2005-07. Pittsburgh stands out as doing much better over the later three-year period. How much better? Net migration is up 6,768, which is 7th best on the list. That number is how much migration has improved from the 2005-07 benchmark. On the balance, Pittsburgh lost young adults during 2005-07. It's a remarkable turnaround.

No matter how you look at the list, Pittsburgh is doing a lot better than Minneapolis. This morning, I read about how the young, educated are flocking to the Twin Cities:

"There is a growing divide between areas that are experiencing gains or losses in their younger populations," Brookings Institution demographer William Frey reported last summer. "Large stretches of the nation are sustaining only meager growth, or even declines, in their youth population." ...

... Partly because they are smallish cities in a major metro area but with a teeming university campus sprawling across both of them, demographer Frey found that Minneapolis and St. Paul are the nation's fifth-youngest when lined up against the primary cities in other metro areas. They're in the same league with college towns such as Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio.

The Twin Cities area as a whole, his analysis showed, stayed even in its share of under-45s during the past decade, even as many others fell: not just Rust Belt cities like Akron or Milwaukee but more happening cities such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Gainers, however -- those doing better than we are -- included key competitors such as Seattle (up 4 percent), Portland (up 7), Denver (up 9) and Atlanta (up 15).

Emphasis added. Ironically, Pittsburgh is now on the right side of that divide. The metro is getting younger and smarter. The recession has hurt young adult migration to Minneapolis. In some respects, the loss of the Twin Cities is the Steel City's gain.

A more useful contrast is with Cleveland. a metro that gained migrants aged 25-34 over the 2005-07 period. The recession hit Cleveland hard and it shows up in the numbers. (Note: An astute reader noticed I misread the chart and that Cleveland slightly improved its migration situation during the recession. Meaning, the metro lost more than less of the 25-34 age group.) Cleveland lost almost 2000 young adults during 2008-10. In terms of Frey's "divide", there is Pittsburgh and then you have the rest of Cleveburgh.


BrianTH said...

Pittsburgh may have had the second-biggest improvement in percentage terms after New Orleans (which is a special case because of Katrina).

Anyway, unless I am reading the Post's chart wrong, Cleveland slightly moderated its net loss (by +191). Buffalo was also still negative but +1732, which again is very impressive in percentage terms. Columbus was +2288, putting it in positive territory. Finally Rochester was +835 and in positive territory overall.

So Cleveland's slight moderation wasn't great, but I think it is indicative of the fact that Cleveland has one foot in the Auto Belt (bad) and one foot in whatever we are calling Pittsburgh's greater region (good).

Jim Russell said...


I think I misread the chart. So, Cleveland's bleeding of young people slightly improved thanks to the recession. I'll have to fix that.