ShareThis Page

Survey: Living in Pittsburgh is good

Jason Cato
| Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, 12:20 a.m.

National publications have identified Pittsburgh as America's Most Livable City, and a new survey shows many people who live in the region agree.

Residents of 32 counties in the four-state region around the city gave it outstanding marks for overall quality of life and their own happiness, according to the Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life Survey that PittsburghToday and the University of Pittsburgh conducted.

“I'm not surprised by the survey, but I am pleased,” said Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “But there are areas where we can improve. There is no paradise out there, as far as I can tell.”

Although people said they are satisfied with their lives, the survey released Tuesday also showed they are concerned with health, transportation and racial disparity.

Respondents to the survey rated their personal happiness at 7.8 out of 10. The national average is 7.4. The study surveyed 1,800 people and had a margin of error of 3 percent.

The survey, which cost about $100,000, is the first of its kind, said Doug Heuck, director of PittsburghToday, which tracks statistics on the region.

“I think that it verifies something we hear anecdotally, and that is that the social fabric in the Pittsburgh area is strong and therefore the quality of life is high,” Heuck said. “People are invested here, they have family here. They know their neighbors and live here a long time. That underscores the national rankings.”

Various groups have called Pittsburgh the country's most livable city, in 2007, 2010 and 2011. In 2009, The Sporting News named it the nation's best sports city, and Forbes included it as a Top 10 city for job growth.

“I think Pittsburgh has a lot to offer,” said Ruth Lloyd, 55, of Avalon, a Western Pennsylvania native who spent seven years in Manassas, Va.

She and her husband spent their past two vacations in the region, visiting places such as Fallingwater, Moraine State Park and Amish country, she said. The couple often go to the theater and Pirates games.

More than three quarters of survey respondents said they attended a museum, gallery or cultural event in the past year.

“I think family ties are important to people in this region, and when I lived outside D.C., people there didn't have those family ties,” Lloyd said. “I'd probably say happiness is a nine out of 10 for me because my family is here.”

Black respondents had less positive feelings. Just a quarter of blacks surveyed rated the overall quality of life as good or excellent, while nearly half rated it fair or poor.

“It depends on where you are in life,” said Marlon Smith, 55, who is black and lives in Bellevue. “I guess the things that make people happy are if you can pay your bills. And it helps to have spirituality and God in your life.”

Like many survey respondents, Smith highlighted public transportation as a serious issue for the region. Port Authority of Allegheny County recently raised rates again and might make drastic route and job cuts because of continued budget shortfalls.

“That's one thing that is depressing right now,” Smith said.

He highlighted the Three Rivers Arts Festival, free jazz concerts Downtown, restaurants and the sports teams as highlights that add to the region's quality of life.

“There's a lot here if you are outgoing,” Smith said. “And if you can afford it.”

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.