2020 Census: Pittsburgh’s Black population dropped 13%

by Charlie Wolfson, PublicSource

Pittsburgh’s overall population didn’t change dramatically in the 2010s, according to the 2020 U.S. Census, but the city underwent notable change in terms of race and age.

“These are all important things in a region that has seen decline for many decades,” said Christopher Briem, a University of Pittsburgh demographer. “The city is still declining, a little slower, but there’s been massive changes within the composition and characteristics of the city’s population.”

Pittsburgh in 2020 had 302,971 people, a 0.89% drop from its 2010 population, according to data released Thursday. The rate of decline in the decade was much lower than what the city experienced during the 2000s, when it decreased by more than 8%.


Pittsburgh’s two largest racial groups declined faster than the city overall during the 2010s. The city’s Black population dropped by 13.4% (about 10,500 people) while the white population fell by 5.6% to 187,099.

Meanwhile, the census showed that the city saw a boom in its Asian, Hispanic and multi-racial populations. The city’s Asian population rose by 47%, and the number of respondents indicating two or more races almost doubled over the decade. (The census relies on self-response, so it’s possible that some individuals marked more than one race in 2020 after marking just one race in 2010).

Briem said data over the last 50 years shows strong symmetry between Black population decline in Pittsburgh and growth elsewhere in Allegheny County, which indicates that most of the Black residents who left in the 2010s likely didn’t move far.

“I think there are suburban communities that are themselves seeing pretty rapid changes in the characteristics of their populations,” Briem said. “Even if their overall population is relatively flat, there’s probably a greater level of change in the characteristics of who’s living in some communities.”

Allegheny County grew by 2.2%, or about 27,000 people, since 2010, according to the 2020 Census.

A number of Allegheny County municipalities saw their Black population rise dramatically in the 2010s. Small municipalities like Oakmont, Harmar, Blawnox, Brentwood and Pitcairn saw an increase of 100% or more, while larger municipalities like Monroeville, Shaler and Bethel Park saw more modest increases as well.


2020 Census: Pittsburgh stays above 300,000 people and Allegheny County grows

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