For Southwestern Pennsylvania, a Few Reasons to Be Thankful
In the Thanksgiving tradition of reflection and expressions of gratitude, here are a few trends that have raised the quality of life a bit in southwestern Pennsylvania, which is always a reason to be thankful.
The region has enjoyed a run of low unemployment this year, as has the nation as a whole. More people finding work that puts money in their pockets is news everyone should cheer, particularly local businesses that rely on consumer dollars to thrive. Several times this year, unemployment dipped below 4 percent, something the region hadn’t seen in decades.
Our health and the quality of our lives go hand in hand. And having health insurance is essential to being able to afford the care that helps keep us healthy. Nearly 95 percent of people living in southwestern Pennsylvania can be thankful they have it. That’s the highest percentage of people with health care coverage among the 16 Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions, much greater than in Austin, Texas, where less than 82 percent of the population is covered.
Part of enjoying a higher quality of life is avoiding the bad things that can happen to us. We can be thankful we live in a region with consistently low crime rates. Only Boston has lower crime overall among benchmark regions. And the burglary rate in Pittsburgh is the lowest.
Finally, although southwestern Pennsylvania’s overall population has been slowly shrinking, there is a bright spot. The region’s foreign-born population is growing steadily. In the last year reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, it added 4,359 people. That’s more than double the number of immigrants who arrived 10 years earlier to be introduced to our Thanksgiving tradition of food, family, friends and reflecting on all things good.
Have a happy Thanksgiving.
—The staff of Pittsburgh Today