New Trend? Some post-industrial cities are shrinking and revitalizing simultaneously.

Fewer people are now living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 95,000 fewer than in 2000.

But the remaining residents are growing wealthier even as the Steel City shrinks: Income per capita is up 24 percent during the same period.

Providence, Rhode Island.
Photo via Adobe Stock.

Population growth also has decoupled from average income in Buffalo and Utica, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Gulf Coast cities such as New Orleans, Louisiana and Beaumont, Texas.

Even Huntington, West Virginia, hit hard by the opioid epidemic and the decline of coal mining, has experienced a growing income per capita despite a shrinking population.

Some of these metro areas have high-paying jobs in energy, health care or education. Others have managed to reshape their manufacturing legacies for a new economy.

All of them are evidence that despite conventional wisdom, cities don’t necessarily need population growth and more jobs to be economically healthy.

Featured photo (by Wvfunnyman via Wikipedia) shows Huntington’s historic Third Avenue across from Pullman Square, where you can see the renovation of the old Stone & Thomas Building.

See full article by Tim Henderson in GOVERNING.

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