So much for the brain drain, or the oft-repeated plaint that young people can’t get out of this city fast enough. A Sept. 22 Wall Street Journal article identified Pittsburgh as one of the 10 U.S. cities with the biggest growth in its college-educated population the past decade. According to newly released U.S. Census data cited by the Journal, the Pittsburgh metro area’s college-educated population grew by 5.7 percent to 29.1 percent between 2000 – 2010, placing us alongside such cities as Boston, Baltimore and Madison, Wis. for the briskest “brain gain” in that time.
The report underscores a new reality: Pittsburgh is growing younger. Over the past 10 years, the region has seen an uptick among 20- and 30-something professionals attracted by our quality of life – which for them means such things as affordable housing in the urban core, a vibrant music and film scene, and an abundance of outdoors recreational options amid our hills, rivers and trails. The median age of city residents has dropped (now at 33) over the decade, while the number of 20- to 24-year-old city residents increased by 22 percent.