Last week's news that the Pittsburgh region continued to lose population was disappointing, but it came with an important consolation.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the seven-county metro area had an estimated 2,967 fewer people last July 1 than the previous year, making Pittsburgh one of 50 regions in the nation's 363 to lose residents. But the loss was the smallest of the decade.
The sharpest recent drop came three years earlier, with 15,526. One year before last July's decline, the projected loss was 6,591. All of this points to a day when Pittsburgh soon may see its population fortunes reverse.
Why not? Its unemployment is lower than the national average. Its housing market, which famously went boom-bust elsewhere, has been a portrait of stability. The region is renowned for its family-friendly living, a strong cultural core, good public schools, low crime rate, outstanding medical institutions, topographical beauty and some dynamic visitor attractions that can't seem to stay out of the national press.
There is plenty here to like, not to mention four seasons to shake up the landscape just when the weather gets a little stale. And did we mention professional sports?
Now if only the region could make a name for itself by consolidating its many tiny governments, expanding Downtown's hours of operation and achieving a renewable energy renaissance. Now that would be a place worth moving to.