What's it like to live in Pittsburgh, PA?


Cheryl Werber

Profile written by local expert:

Cheryl Werber

Known by nicknames like Blitzburgh and Steel City, Pittsburgh is on the verge of greater heights. Emerging from a dying steel industry, Pittsburgh is earning another name: reinvention city. Since the steel mills closed in the 1980s, Pittsburgh feels cleaner and full of energy. Pittsburgh encompasses almost 2,000 acres of land in just its city parks, and offers county parks, state parks and riverfront parks to its residents.

The area is also attracting major corporations looking to set up shop. Transplants are surprised to find a hub of technology and education in the area. A rise in job opportunities has made Pittsburgh an attractive place for families and graduates. Pittsburgh also offers a cheaper housing market than other large cities. Its old blue collar reputation is being replaced and the quality of life continues to improve with new industries that make Pittsburgh home.

In addition to the ample green space and increased job opportunities, Pittsburgh has wooed residents with its strong sense of community.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is ranked:

#57 in Best Places to Live

#5 in Best Places to Retire

6.5

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    6.4
  • Value
    7.8
  • Job Market
    6.1
  • Quality of Life
    6.2
  • Net Migration
    5.6

Read how we rank places

Pittsburgh, PA Quick Stats

  • 2,354,926

    Metro Population

  • $47,360

    Average Annual Salary

  • 60.6° / 41.9°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 42.9

    Median Age

  • $137,550

    Median Home Price

  • 38.2 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 5.0%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $749

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 26.5 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Pittsburgh, PA?

While housing is cheaper in Pittsburgh than it is in other major cities, residents note the housing costs are gradually rising. Some residents worry they will be priced out of their homes in neighborhoods being rebuilt by developers, while gentrification has pushed lower-income residents out of some neighborhoods.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.8 /10

How we calculate this.


Pittsburgh offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year


Pittsburgh
$137,550

USA
$222,408

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Pittsburgh, PA.

What's the weather like in Pittsburgh, PA?

Pittsburgh summers are hot and humid while winters are cold and snowy. Spring and autumn are unpredictable: frosty and cold in the mornings, warm and muggy in the afternoon.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

30.6°F


Winter

50.2°F


Spring

70.9°F


Summer

53.2°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.9 in


Winter

4.0 in


Spring

4.3 in


Summer

3.2 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Pittsburgh, PA?

With many residents relying on automobiles to get to work, traffic on weekday mornings and afternoons can be problematic. Commute times average about 27 minutes, though they can reach upward of an hour.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County, which includes the bus and light rail system, is another major mode of transportation. The bus system services the downtown area and suburbs of Allegheny County. The light rail, or T, has two lines running from points south into the downtown area and the North Shore.

Downtown Pittsburgh is very walkable. Meanwhile, more people are commuting by bike; there are bike rentals throughout the city proper that Pittsburghers can rent by the hour or the entire day. 

With three airports (Pittsburgh International Airport, Allegheny County Airport and Arnold Palmer Regional Airport), an Amtrak train station downtown and a bus terminal downtown, Pittsburgh is very accessible. 

Commuting in Pittsburgh, PA

Means of Transportation
Driving
86%
Equal to national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
3%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
5%
Equal to national average
Average Commute Time

26.5 minutes

0.4 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Pittsburgh, PA?

More than 20 years ago, Pittsburgh lost its younger population to other metro areas due to a poor job market. Now, they are returning, thanks to affordable housing and job growth. With Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University and other higher-learning institutions in the area, there is a population of students from around the country and world. Many college graduates choose to remain, finding opportunities with the many companies that now call Pittsburgh home.

Pittsburgh is generally a Catholic area. The Diocese of Pittsburgh, however, was forced to close parishes as the Catholic population passes away or moves. Squirrel Hill, the Jewish center of Pittsburgh, has a thriving community, several day schools and roughly a dozen synagogues. Pittsburgh also has service organizations designed to help immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe settle here.

The middle class generally lives in the city and in neighborhoods such as Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, while neighborhoods like Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar, the Hill District and Homewood are predominantly lower-income. Affluent residents tend to live in suburbs like Upper St. Clair, Fox Chapel and Sewickley.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Pittsburgh as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Pittsburgh, PA?

Pittsburghers are known for their devotion to their professional sports teams: the NFL Steelers, NHL Penguins and MLB Pirates. Heinz Field, PPG Paints Arena and PNC Park can seat thousands of fans during home games, and every Pittsburgher is affected by heavy traffic when a game is in progress.

The city also hosts a number of cultural festivals each year, including the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta and the St. Patrick's Day Parade. 

There is never a lack of museums, events and restaurants to sample in Pittsburgh. In the South Side, the bar scene reigns, while a dance or live music performance is available almost every night of the week in the Cultural District. The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, The Andy Warhol Museum and other art galleries infuse Pittsburgh with culture.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Pittsburgh, PA