Pittsburgh ranked as 3rd-best Rust Belt comeback story in nation | TribLIVE.com
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Pittsburgh ranked as 3rd-best Rust Belt comeback story in nation

Nicole C. Brambila
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Comeback city.

A new study ranks Pittsburgh No. 3 among the 17 most successful Rust Belt comebacks.

Using U.S. Census data, the commercial real estate information services provider CommercialCafé evaluated a city’s performance across a number of indicators, including population and income growth, unemployment and poverty, educational attainment levels, and median home price, among others.

Diana Sabau, author of the report, noted that Pittsburgh had the highest income growth increase on the list, with median wages increasing 25% over the past decade.

“Much like New Orleans, Buffalo or Providence, Pittsburgh has managed to decouple population growth from rising incomes for its residents,” Sabau wrote. “In doing so, it has created a model and has managed to regain some of its momentum despite a net demographic loss since the 1950s.”

Pittsburgh ranked fourth with a 5% poverty reduction since 2008, behind Grand Rapids, St. Louis and Chicago.


Pittsburgh is routinely cited as a post-industrial success story, with international recognition peaking when the city hosted the G-20 Summit in 2009. More recently, SmartAsset deemed the city the best bargain in America for the second straight year; Pew Stateline noted that residents are better-off even as the population of the metro area has shrunk 4% since 2000.

Grand Rapids, Mich., took first place in the CommercialCafé survey. It scored the highest for its labor force participation and decreasing the city’s poverty rate.

Madison, Wisc. came in second. Other notables included Philadelphia (No. 9), Baltimore (No. 11) and Detroit (No. 17).

Five states, including Pennsylvania, had multiple showings on the list, but Ohio had the most with five comeback cities.

To read the full report, click here.

Nicole C. Brambila is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Nicole at 724-226-7704, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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