The city of Pittsburgh was rated the No. 3 most liveable city in the U.S., according to the Economist Intelligence unit. However, Pittsburgh is quickly becoming one of the most unlivable places for black men and women.
Pittsburgh is home to some 302,500 people, 66.64% of which are white. The second largest demographic is the 23.63% who are African-American.
Difficulties begin at birth: A study by the city of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission found that fetal deaths are twice as likely among Pittsburgh’s black women compared to white women.
“For Pittsburgh’s black women, 18 out of every 1,000 pregnancies end in fetal death.”
Being white and living in Pittsburgh is for the most part a comparable living experience in cities elsewhere in the country. For black residents, on the other hand, any other city is immediately more “livable.”
“What this means is that if black residents got up today and left and moved to the majority of any other cities in the U.S., automatically by just moving, their life expectancy would go up, their income would go up, their educational opportunities for their children would go up, as well as their employment,” said Junia Howell, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and a co-author on the study.
The economic opportunity for black Pittsburghers is diminishing. According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Pittsburgh is the eighth most gentrifying city in the U.S.
The continued gentrification of lower-income neighborhoods is slowly pushing portions of the black population out of the city. For the continuation of economic growth of this city, it is necessary to invest in the people. Opportunity is out there, but for black residents, it is not in Pittsburgh.
If the lives of black residents are more likely to improve immediately upon leaving, the irony of rating Pittsburgh one of the top liveable cities is immediately present.
Pittsburgh should not be touting a “most-liveable” status without taking into consideration its population as a whole. Being a top-rated place to live for only a single demographic is not something that should be celebrated, but rather an example of precisely what needs to be changed about this city.
Pittsburgh is in need of change; it has the potential to be a phenomenal place to live for all, but not if it continues to sweep the black population under the rug.