Why Is Pittsburgh’s Population Declining?

largest city in the state of Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is the second largest city in the state of Pennsylvania, and it’s also popularly known as the ‘Steel City’ for its major role in the US steel industry and the ‘City of Bridges’ for its 446 bridges. While the city has so many attractive features and job opportunities, there has been a steady decline with respect to the population. As of recent population data of Pittsburgh, there are about 310,000 people in the city. With nearly 51.9% females and 48.9% males, the city is facing a gradual decline in population growth. What are the reasons behind the fall in population growth? Let’s find out!

Pittsburgh’s Population In The 20th Century

Steel industry in the USA was booming during 1940’s and 1950’s. Around this time, many European immigrants moved to Pittsburgh, and the city saw a huge rise in African-American migration. It became the ideal destination for jobs due to the growth of the steel industry. The population had swelled to nearly half a million people in the 1940s. During World War II, the demand for steel skyrocketed, and Pittsburgh became the preferred destination for steel production. A larger number of people moved in due to increased job opportunities in steel factories. By 1950, Pittsburgh’s population rose to 680,000. Currently, the population in Pittsburgh is less than half of the population in the 1950s. What do you think led to the steady decline of the population of Pittsburgh?

Reasons Why Pittsburgh’s Population Is Shrinking

In the post-war era, the leaders of Pittsburgh started to increase investment in health, education, technology, and art. As a result, investment in manufacturing industries declined, and many companies were closed down, leading to massive lay-offs in the 1970s and 1980s. The majority of the companies and employees moved out of Pittsburgh in search of better opportunities. However, the drastic diversion in the investment has led to a clean city with less pollution and stunning riverfronts. Despite the decline in the Pittsburgh population in 2024, the real estate industry is growing at a steady phase year-on-year.

An overwhelming number of deaths in Pittsburgh is another reason attributed to the population decline in the city. Pittsburgh’s population ranks higher in having the oldest population in the country. The COVID outbreak increased the number of deaths, and the aging population is worsening the population decline. Plus, a recent trend suggests that older people move out of Pittsburgh to seek warmer climates.

Similarly, young people who move out of the city to look for better economic opportunities take their families with them, contributing to the population decline. According to US Census 2021, Pittsburgh registered more deaths than births. It lost nearly 10,838 in the year 2021.

The Road Ahead

Despite a massive fall in population growth, Pittsburgh remains one of the vibrant cities with attractive opportunities for job seekers. The city has taken significant strides in finance, education, healthcare, and various other industries, attracting people from other parts of the country to move here. However, the city administration must take serious steps to retain them and increase the young population.

Home to multi-ethnic groups, Pittsburgh has the majority of white population, ranging 64.5%, followed by African American (23.2%), Asian (5.6%), American Indian (0.2%), and many others. Housing demands are still on the rise, as more people express interest in purchasing new homes.

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