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Key Indicators for Understanding Our Region

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Explore the Key Indicators

Governments, businesses, and citizens depend on relevant, accurate, and timely data and statistics to make informed decisions about a range of issues.

You can read more about choosing indicators or about the history of our regional indicators project.

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Pittsburgh residents are serious about the arts and take considerable advantage of the region's many arts organizations. This category includes data on the number of different types of arts organizations in the region and their comparative employment levels.

Economic transformation has shaped the demographics of the Pittsburgh region over several decades. Job destruction during the 1980’s induced significant outmigration of younger workers and dampened migration flows into the region. The unique demographic profile of the region that has resulted is set forth in seven indicators organized into fourteen charts.

Manufacturing, while still important, is not the dominate regional reality of 30 years ago. Jobs in health, higher education, business services and technology-based enterprises now dominate the regional economy. Twelve indicators are organized in four clusters: Jobs and Employment, Wages and Cost of Living, General Business Conditions and Comparative Measures of Success.

The level of educational attainment of a region’s population is an important measure of its potential for achievement and comparative advantage in a global environment. Pittsburgh’s achievement rankings are available in seven separate categories. Equally important are data on student performance, teacher education and training and resource allocation. None of these second cluster of indicators is beyond the development stage to date.

Air quality in the Pittsburgh Region has dramatically improved over the past 60 years, but concerns still exist about less visible types of pollution, specifically particulate matter and ozone. These pollutants are caused by both local emission sources and by sources in upwind states.

The Pittsburgh region has many local governments and school districts. Per capita rankings in three separate categories of local government are available. There are also comparative indicators on spending, debt, tax and revenue levels by local governments.

A region's overall health has far-reaching effects on other measures such as economic conditions and quality of life. This category explores issues related to Child Birth, as well as various public health concerns: Smoking, Diabetes and Nursing Homes to name a few.

Housing is a key quality of life issue, and the Pittsburgh region is characterized by a generally favorable housing situation by national standards. This is in part the product of a relatively low cost of living and static population trends. Not surprisingly, Pittsburgh's housing stock also is much older than average.

Crime data are organized into three indicators: burglary, murder and robbery. The region has a reputation for low crime rates and the data support that conclusion. However, data that measure annual levels of the same crimes in the core cities alone show a more negative result for Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh region, with its rivers, steep hills and temperature swings, places unusual demands on its transportation system. Information on air travel, traffic congestion, transit use, road conditions, and water freight provide insights on comparative economic advantages (or lack thereof) for the region.

Regions across the country and world are adapting sustainable practices. Sustainability is the capacity of a region to use these practices to to help the region flourish in ways that increase livability and prosperity for its citizens, while ensuring the longevity and health of its environment.