It’s a very good time to be in Pittsburgh if you're a young person (need we really call them "Millennials"?). So, if you’re roughly in that age cohort and now living somewhere else—in a place where opportunities seem limited—consider a move to the City of Bridges. It would be a wise decision for a whole bunch of reasons, the least of which is that Pittsburgh is a really beautiful city.
But let me back up. Recently, Derek Thompson wrote a piece here at The Atlantic called “Why It’s So Hard for Millennials to Find a Place to Live and Work.” Before reading a word beyond the headline, I thought to myself: It isn’t hard. It’s only hard if they limit their horizons to a select number of cities. And I'm right. (Well, yes, he’s correct, too, but I’ll bury further acknowledgment of that many paragraphs below. You’re a trouper if you persist long enough to see it.)
Thompson’s case in a nutshell: He writes about a study that looks into which cities in the United States still offer some opportunity to pursue the American Dream—those having a magical combination of social mobility and affordability. He reports that the top three cities touting that combo are Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and San Jose. In most other places, he says, the dream is dying, because there’s either no mobility or no affordability. And in many places, both are absent. It’s an interesting article, so be sure to look at it.
The reason I’m horning in on this topic is that I have some grist to add to Thompson’s mill, at least about the top-ranked city, Pittsburgh. When I was there in September for our American Futures series, I met a lot of young people who had interesting things to say about why they’re in Pittsburgh and why they prefer to be there over other places. Some of them fit the definition of a "Millennial," and some are a little older. In either case, it’s worth adding their voices on this topic to show what that enchanted combination of affordability and mobility looks like in real life, not just as a line in a dry statistical table.