March 2019

The Pittsburgh we know? ... and love.

There are a couple questions you are sure to be asked when you meet someone new in Pittsburgh: What part of the city do you live in? (We apparently can’t be friends if someone has to cross a bridge or go through a tunnel to pay a visit). And more significantly: Are you from here?

Pittsburghers can be warm and welcoming, but many of us have roots that go deep in western Pennsylvania with an accompanying large network of family and lifelong friends, meaning there’s often little compelling us to make new friends. That is compounded by the fact that, for decades, Pittsburgh has struggled to attract newcomers. According to the latest Census estimate, our population is down 1 percent from 2010 to 302,407.

Our educational institutions are a reliable pipeline for bringing people from other places to Pittsburgh. For example, according to the University of Pittsburgh Office of Institutional Research, more than 11,000 of Pitt’s students come from out of state (not to mention the number who come from counties across Pennsylvania) and more than 3,000 students are from other countries. And that is just one of our many colleges and universities. Add in the people who come to Pittsburgh for work, and there is a significant opportunity to see our population grow.

Pittsburgh can be a tough place for newcomers. Our geography is confusing (the North Side, North Shore, North Hills and North Boroughs are all distinct places, sort of), the patchwork of city neighborhoods each has its own secrets that only residents seem to know, the roads show little awareness of what a grid pattern even is, and since so many of us were born and raised here we sometimes forget to make an effort to reach out to the strangers in our midst.

Oftentimes when people move to new cities, there is the honeymoon period when they love everything about their new home. It’s not until later that the reality sets in and the challenges of living there emerge. That’s not what happens here. Inevitably someone moves to Pittsburgh and struggles to fit in. But if they stick it out and come to know the city and meet the natives, they grow to love it as much as those of us who grew up here do.

Pittsburgh Magazine tries to be a resource for people new to the city and for those who are from here and want to discover things about it. Now we are going to test your knowledge — whether you’re a newcomer or a native. How Well Do You Know Pittsburgh not only will introduce you to some little-known facts about our city but it is accompanied by an online quiz you can share to brag about your knowledge — and to show lifelong Pittsburghers that they don’t know as much as they think.

Brian Hyslop can be reached at ​bhyslop@pittsburghmagazine.com or 412/304-0921.

Categories: Editor