A Greener View
People in the heart of southwestern Pennsylvania have adopted a rosier view of the region’s environment in recent years.
In the minds of half of Allegheny County residents, the overall environment found in the region is improving. Seven years earlier, only 39 percent felt the same way, according to surveys done by Pittsburgh Today and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research.
The views are influenced by a number of factors. Age, for one, makes a difference. More than 22 percent of young adults aged 18-29 years believe the environment is worsening in the region. But that view is held by less than 9 percent of those 65 or older, the most recent survey suggests.
A surge of optimism among people 30-44 years old is one reason for the improving perspectives of environmental quality. More than 30 percent of people in that age group saw the environment worsening in 2011. That fell to only 14 percent when county residents were surveyed 10 months ago.
Education tends to shade views as well. People with a college degree are more likely to feel the environment is getting worse. On the other hand, the higher their income the more likely people are to believe the environment is improving – and the more likely they are to recycle paper, plastic and glass.
Recycling is one of the easiest ways to improve the environment. More than 83 percent of Allegheny County residents say they do that. It takes more effort to join a group that helps protect and preserve the environment or to volunteer for one. About 16 percent of county residents take that step.
Pittsburgh Today and the University of Pittsburgh University Center Survey for Social and Urban Research conducted the Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life in June 2018. 1,881 Allegheny County residents drawn from the UCSUR Research Registry completed the online survey. Data were adjusted to make the survey sample representative of the demographic characteristics of the county. The complete set of data tables are available at: