It’s getting easier and easier to see the changing demographics in our region. Yes, we’re still one of the “oldest” metros in the country, but on average we’re not aging as fast as we used to and the median age in Allegheny County is actually going down. The population in the City of Pittsburgh is getting younger fastest of all, with a median age that’s now below the national average. Not only that, we are among the top metros in the U.S. in terms of concentration of well-educated young people, especially those with advanced degrees.
You can see the change at lunchtime and during happy hour in Market Square, elsewhere Downtown, along the riverfront trails, and in the Strip where folks just seem to be younger than they used to be. And you see it in Pittsburgh’s East End, where Google has put down roots and entrepreneurs and innovators have begun to follow.
To build on that success and accelerate the momentum, a group of young people, natives and newcomers, have come together to organize the Thrival: Music + Innovation Festival on the weekend of Sept. 13 and 14. A sort of hometown twist on SXSW, the festival will feature 15 international, national and local music acts and more than a dozen innovation events … all of it packed into Bakery Square and the construction site across Penn Avenue that’s becoming Bakery Square 2.0.
In just its second year, Thrival has already outgrown Bakery Square 2.0, which is filling vacant land with new apartments and office buildings. There will be a new location for the festival in 2015. With hard work and creativity it has the potential to become a signature event for our region to attract and retain young people.
The Allegheny Conference, through our ImaginePittsburgh talent attraction and retention initiative, is joining PNC and others as a sponsor of this year’s festival. Best of all, we’re able to offer limited-time discounts. Click here and enter the coupon codes 10OFFSAT, 10OFFSUN, 10OFFVIPSAT and 10OFFVIPSUN for 10 percent discounts. Resulting savings could be as high as $20 per person, depending on the ticket option you select.
In addition to showing up, please help us spread the word about this emerging festival. Check out Thrival’s website, link up through Twitter and Facebook, and refer friends!
Happy, but never satisfied
It’s been great to see the reaction to #HappyinPittsburgh, the grassroots effort to counter recent research by the University of British Columbia and Harvard thank ranked Pittsburgh after New York as the second unhappiest city in America. As noted in my last Note, the survey did seem to be a bit puzzling given all the positive momentum our region seems to enjoy right now. All the more so because Pittsburgh was ranked as 5th happiest as recently as December by an iPhone app company called Jetpac. (Quite a swing in six months from one of the happiest to one of the saddest at a time when our economy and quality of life have only been getting better.)
The dissonance may make more sense if you look a little bit closer at the research, in particular the question they actually asked people, “In general, how satisfied are you with your life?”
I’m not sure that satisfaction is the same thing as happiness. People can be happy and still want things to get better. In fact, that may be something both Pittsburgh and New York have in common. People move to New York because it’s the Big Apple, they’re striving for something better. As a result they might be more likely to be less satisfied with their present state, whatever it is. Pittsburgh’s been striving for something better for the past 70 years, from Renaissance One when folks set out to clean the place up to the past 35 years or so when they transformed the economy.
One thing about any place: no matter how good it is, it can always be better. None of us should ever be satisfied. But there’s no reason we can’t be happy, too – about our progress to date and about our potential for the future. At the end of the day, that’s how we’ll thrive.
See you at Thrival on Sept. 13 and 14 at Bakery Square.
And, as always, thanks for your commitment to our region and for you help in spreading the word.