Pittsburgh May Show a Way for Shrinking Cities to Thrive.


As Pittsburgh's population shrinks, with 95,000 fewer residents than in 2000, per capita for those residents is up 24 percent. This is a trend noted in other U.S. cities, including Buffalo and Utica, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; Springfield, Massachusetts; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Beaumont, Texas, according to analysis by Stateline. "Even Huntington, West Virginia, hit hard by the opioid epidemic and the decline of coal mining, has experienced a growing income per capita despite a shrinking population."

Some of these metro areas have high-paying jobs in energy, health care, or education, the analysis notes. "Others have managed to reshape their manufacturing legacies for a new economy. All of them are evidence that despite conventional wisdom, cities don't necessarily need population growth and more jobs to be economically healthy. In fact, fast job growth can be unhealthy, if most of the new positions are low-wage jobs that don't increase income per capita. In contrast, higher-paying jobs have a multiplier effect because they...

To continue reading