The Future of Pittsburgh

KDKA Radio Report Looks at Region's Population and Its People

Joe DeStio
October 04, 2018 - 5:00 am
As Pittsburgh prepares for the 2020 U.S. Census, a KDKA radio report looks at the future of Pittsburgh’s population and the people who live here.
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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – As Pittsburgh prepares for the 2020 U.S. Census, a KDKA radio report looks at the future of Pittsburgh’s population and the people who live here.

It’s no secret the city and region population continues to decline, however slightly. Pittsburgh’s population in the 2017 estimate stands at 302,407, down 2,610 from the year before. That’s a .86 percent reduction. The number for the metro area in 2017 stands at 2.3 million residents, also a slight decline.

But given a double digit tech hiring boom in recent years and the boom in new hospital and Shell cracker plant  construction, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald sees reason for optimism. “Right now because of all the vibrancy that’s happening in Pittsburgh, we have so many new people that are moving in. Not just moving in from other parts of the region and other parts of the country, but from around the world,” said Fitzgerald.

Given the prospects for growth, some are questioning if Pittsburgh will retain the unique features that make it so attractive to long-time residents. Other activists and local leaders  want to make sure long-time residents and poorer residents who put up with the hard times after the steel industry collapse aren’t forced out by the rising cost of housing.

To people like Doug Heuck who edits Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine and directs the Pittsburgh Today project mapping statistical trends, the lack of rapid growth isn’t a bad thing. “That may turn out to be a blessing,” says Heuck. “We’re not this place that massively overcrowded.”

WQED-TV documentarian Rick Sebak also sees the value of holding onto things. “We manage to remain quirky,” says Sebak. “I know a lot of people who say that’s what I do (in my documentaries), I celebrate the quirky around here, but there’s plenty of it.”