Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Area Lags in the Very Wealthy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Area Lags in the Very Wealthy

Article excerpt

If you don't know many people earning nearly $200,000 or more in annual income around Pittsburgh, there's a good reason for it other than the run-of-the-mill crowd you hang with -- relatively speaking, we don't have many high earners.

A census publication released Monday showed that of the 40 largest metropolitan areas, only Tampa and Cleveland had a smaller proportion of high-end income households during the 2007-11 span. The report focused on households earning at least $191,469 per year, as that would put them in the top 5 percent of all U.S. households, using 2011 dollars.

The 3.8 percent of households in that category in the seven- county Pittsburgh region was barely half that of Los Angeles, Seattle or San Diego. Highest of all were San Jose (15.9 percent), Washington, D.C. (14.1), San Francisco (13) and New York (10).

Of course, there are wealthy Pittsburghers living the very, very good life -- if measurements of material success are any indicator - - in Fox Chapel, Sewickley and throughout the region, but in general there may be fewer than in other cities of similar size or larger.

"Why it's this way would be reflective of our recent economic history," said Christopher Briem, a University of Pittsburgh economist and demographer who had not examined the census report. "We have not created a lot of income and job generation over the last 20 or 30 years, so we're not seeing a high concentration of folks at the higher end. It's going to take some time to grow out of that."

He noted one other fact that would affect Pittsburgh's standing: its high proportion of elderly residents. An older person of considerable means would be less likely to show up in data focusing on households just with high income, as opposed to other sources of wealth. The data come from the American Community Survey, a sample survey of the population that asks people to provide their income but not other financial information such as stocks and overall assets.

In Allegheny County, 4. …

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