PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Simone Baer came from Seattle to go to college in Pittsburgh.
At age 27, she’s still here.
“I just really enjoy the energy here and the people,” says Baer. “And I want to be here and continue to help Pittsburgh go in the direction it’s going.”
That direction, says the 2010 census, is a region that is younger than it used to be.
It turns out that old myth that Pittsburgh is just an old city with lots of old people is simply untrue.
The number of young people between the ages of 20 and 35 are more than double those seniors over the age of 65. The number of older residents in Allegheny County dropped by more than 20,000 in the last 10 years from 225,000 seniors in 2000 to 205,000 in 2010.
The key is more young people. The number in their early 20s grew 22 percent in Pittsburgh, in part because local universities are growing.
“We are attracting more young people who want to come to Pittsburgh because of the strength of our programs and because of what they know about the community,” says University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.
This dropped the median age from 35.5 years to 33.2, while cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati got older.
Erin Molchany who leads PUMP, the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project, says more diverse companies attract people.
“That’s exciting to young people,” she says. “That’s where young people want to be. They want to work there. They want to be part of that innovation.”
For a graduate student from Nebraska, it takes a job.
“I would be happy staying in Pittsburgh,” says Jessica Isaac. “But the job market will probably decide where I end up.”
Professor Sabina Deitrick says Pittsburgh’s job scene has improved since steel mills closed years ago.
“That’s the main reason why people left and that was jobs,” she says. “And one of the reasons people can stay now is our job growth isn’t so different from the rest of the country.”