Graduating students prove what census numbers are starting to show: High-tech jobs, medical institutions, higher education and finance are motivating them to stay in Western Pennsylvania, reports the Tribune Review.
"Pittsburgh has so much to offer young people, from available jobs to high quality of life and affordability, and I'm happy to remind them that Pittsburgh has what they need and want after college," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. His "Pick Pittsburgh" initiative touts the region's benefits in a letter to graduating seniors at Pitt, Carnegie Mellon and Point Park universities and Community College of Allegheny County.
"Pittsburgh is very friendly for young people just starting out," said Totten, 21, a Churchill native who will graduate from Pitt with an exercise science degree. She lined up a job in West Mifflin while she works toward a master's degree online from California University of Pennsylvania. "It's inexpensive, and I had no problem finding a job."
Western Pennsylvania began suffering an "inordinate" job and population decline when the domestic steel industry began to suffer in the 1980s, said Chris Briem, chair of Pitt's Center for Social and Urban Research and an expert on census data analysis. In 1980, the number of people ages 18 to 24 living in the city was 67,445, census figures show. By 1990, the number fell to 51,692.
"Specifically, the people who were leaving were the young, 20-something, professional and educated workers who we really needed to transform and move our economy forward," Briem said.
By 2000, the number fell to 49,461, but the 2010 census numbers show the first increase in 30 years: a 16 percent boost to 57,745 people ages 18-24 living in Pittsburgh.
The rebound over the past decade came from investments and growth in the high-tech industry, engineering, the medical field, higher education and finance, said Court Gould, executive director of the nonprofit Sustainable Pittsburgh.
"It essentially took a generation, an entire career-span, to turn this around," Gould said.
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