Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Wish The News Covered MY Pittsburgh

It's funny, I used to often talk to friends that aren't from this area about my city and my less than positive opinion of it.  Most of those I talk to a pretty smart and know there way around the internet.  I would tell them about how much I dislike my city and why, while they would see different articles online about how livable or affordable it is.  I would always tell them that its great if you're white, but as a Black person . . . not so much.  The images of Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers are pretty much whitewashed on a nationally.  The successful Blacks in the city are primarily athletes that play for local teams (read: STEELERS) and are just passing through.

This post was inspired by a sad stat spotted over at Jack & Jill Politics that hit REALLY close to home. Apparently while being named the most livable city in the country we also have the poorest Black community in the country according to the U.S. Census. Here are some of the high . . . er . . . lowlights of CMU Professor, Harold D. Miller's piece on the matter:
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Pittsburgh region has the highest rate of poverty among working-age African-Americans of any of the 40 largest metropolitan regions in the country. More than one-quarter (28 percent) of the region's African-Americans ages 18 to 64 lived in poverty in 2008. That's twice as high as in regions such as Baltimore and Charlotte, N.C.

Even more shocking is that the Pittsburgh region is No. 1 in the country in the rate of poverty among African-American children under age 5. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of these youngsters lived in poverty here in 2008, more than double the percentage in regions as diverse as Atlanta and Boston, and quadruple the poverty rate for white children under age 5 in the Pittsburgh region (14.6 percent).

A key reason that so many African-American children here are poor is that more than 80 percent of African-American women who have babies are unmarried (compared to 26 percent of white mothers). This is the highest rate among any of the 40 largest metro regions.

. . . a major cause of high rates of poverty is unemployment, and even before the recession started in the Pittsburgh region, 38 percent of working-age African-Americans were either unemployed or out of the labor force, the second highest rate among major regions (Detroit is No. 1). But even the African-Americans who are employed are disproportionately working in lower-wage jobs; in the Pittsburgh region, 20 percent of African-Americans working in full-time positions make less than $20,000 per year, compared with 11 percent of whites.

These high rates of poverty, unemployment and underemployment existed here in 2008, before the recession hit. It's likely that they're even worse now, and that the slow recovery from the recession will make it particularly challenging to improve the situation.

You can read the full article here.


Anonymous said...

You know, after I saw that news article about Pitt being so affordable, I wanted to ask you about the disparity in your opinion and the public's.
Good post, B.

Unknown said...

Yeah, another friend of mine happened to mention that and the only thing I can think of is that it's a lot cheaper to buy a home, but I don't think there's much of a difference in regards to renters. Not to mention the quality of the place and it's location. Public transit sucks here for certain neighborhoods.