Becoming a city in 1816, Pittsburgh rapidly grew into a key manufacturer in the following decades. Its strong start wasn't halted even by the Great Fire of Pittsburgh in 1845; the city quickly rebuilt, and in fact experienced a boom in the aftermath. During the Civil War, Pittsburgh's economy was boosted yet again, as it had come to be a major manufacturer of many things essential to the Union's war effort, particularly iron.
In the 1870s, the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie led the way in Pittsburgh's steel production. In 1901, Carnegie Steel Company was one of several steel companies to be consolidated into U.S. Steel, which was the first billion-dollar corporation in the world. Pittsburgh continued to live up to its reputation "the Steel City", especially as World War II led to a huge increase in demand.
Following this, the city embarked upon two "Renaissances", in which it made huge strides towards improving its air quality and developing its neighborhoods and culture. The city's economy suffered when its pivotal industrial sector fell away in the 1980s, but in the aftermath it diversified its economy into such sectors as education, tourism, medicine, finance, and robotics. This economic rebirth was highly successful, and has seen the city doing such things as becoming a major tourist destination, being considered a leader in environmentally conscious design, and adding jobs when most cities were losing them during the 2009 Great Recession.
The city has a rich musical and art scene. It is the birthplace of Andy Warhol and is home to the Andy Warhol Museum, among many other renowned art museums. In addition, the Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh are both among the foremost higher education and research institutes in the country, and both are located in this Steel City.
- 1st "most liveable city" in the US, according to a 2011 study by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
- Number 1 on Movoto's list of "America's Smartest Cities".
- Number 1 on National Geographic's 2012 list of "Best Trips".
- Number 2 in a 2014 study of "Intergenerational Mobility in the 50 Largest Community Zones".
- Number 10 on NerdWallet's 2013 list of "Best Cities for Recreational Activities".
- Number 11 on Businessweek.com's 2012 list of "America's 50 Best Cities".
- Number 11 on Forbes' "2012 Best Cities for Working Mothers".
- Number 30 on newgeography's 2013 list of "Best Cities for Job Growth".
Major Industries and Employers
The city has adapted very well and very distinctly from its former focus on the steel and electronics industries to a much broader, more modern set of focuses. For this, it has even been called the "poster child for managing industrial transition" by Dr. Robert Mauro.
The tech industry now plays a large role in the city's economy, with firms such as Apple, Google, and Intel having a substantial local presence. The area has also served for a long time as a central point in federal programs related to cyber defense, software engineering, energy research, nuclear navy, and robotics.
Education is another key sector, with the University of Pittsburgh being the city's second largest non-governmental employer. It's next largest employer is the closely related University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which is at the forefront of the city's large health care and biomedical research industries.
Other major industries in Pittsburgh include tourism, finance, and retail services. The city is home to six Fortune 500 companies: U.S. Steel, PNC Financial Services Group, PPG Industries, H.J. Heinz, Wesco International, and Allegheny Technologies.
Pittsburgh's 2012 population was 306,211, with the median age being 33.5. People between 20 and 29 years old comprise 22.5% of the population. 21,820 residents of Pittsburgh were born overseas, and 20,145 are veterans.
Pittsburgh boasts educational attainment significantly ahead of the national average. Of residents aged 25 or over, 89.8% have graduated high school (the national rate is 85.7%) and 35% have achieved a bachelor's degree or higher (the national rate is 28.5%).
The mean yearly income for a Pittsburgher is $26,535, and the city's homeownership rate is 49.0%. Pittsburgh's unemployment is 5.8% (compared to the national 6.7%), and 22.5% of the population lives below the poverty level (compared to the national 15%).
Pittsburgh's median yearly income and the homeownership rates are both somewhat below average, and its poverty rate is higher than you would wish. However, the city does boast a low unemployment rate and a very high educational attainment rate, and it is home to a strong, diversified, modernized economy. In addition, after a successful reinvention, Pittsburgh now stands as a place with forward-thinking environmental programs, a high standard of living, and a vibrant cultural scene. For job seekers who want an enjoyable mix of work and play and to live in a city not just poised for the future but helping lead the country into it, Pittsburgh would be a good choice.