Pittsburgh Fares Better Than Other Rust-Belt Cities Thanks to Education

From 1970 through 2006, rust-belt cities Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh have all seen a considerable decline in neighborhood population, but Pittsburgh has fared better than the rest.

A new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland finds that universities and colleges have helped the Steel City weather the economic woes experienced more acutely by the other one-time manufacturing cities. As the Pittsburgh Business Times reports:

Pittsburgh is faring better than some of its fellow Rust Belt cities because residents became better educated and because of where the colleges and universities are located, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland study that also looked at Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit.

Pittsburgh, once known for its steel industry, is now known as a hub for education and technology. In 2009, Pittsburgh was host to the G-20 Summit, and President Barack Obama heralded the city's success in transforming from a manufacturing city to a more technological city.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland study found that incomes in higher-income neighborhoods grew faster in Pittsburgh than the other cities, and that the number of residents with college degrees in low-income neighborhoods is also increasing. Again, the Pittsburgh Business Times:

Incomes surged in the highest home price neighborhoods between 1970 and 2006 by almost 50 percent in Pittsburgh and 20 percent in Buffalo, according to Hartley’s report, reflecting the fact that these neighborhoods are located near centers of higher education, which in turn attracted highly skilled residents.

This story demonstrates just how important it is to regional economies for Pennsylvania to invest in K-12 and higher education.

With Pennsylvania entering the final weeks of the state budget process, the conversation is once again turning to education funding. If you are free Tuesday, May 28 at 4 p.m., join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for a webinar on the state of education funding in the commonwealth.


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