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Pittsburgh Perspectives  

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Thursday, March 28, 2024  12:00 PM  (62)

2023 Census Population Estimates for the Pittsburgh Region

In March, the Census Bureau released 2023 population estimates for counties and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) across the United States. These new estimates reflect the population as of July 1, 2023, and are based on the 2020 Decennial Census and estimates of population change over the following years. Annual population estimates are for the population as of July 1 of each year.

The Pittsburgh MSA is currently comprised of eight counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, including Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Lawrence County was added to the definition of the Pittsburgh MSA in 2023. These 2023 population estimates are the first to reflect the new eight-county definition of the Pittsburgh MSA.

The estimated 2023 population of the eight-county Pittsburgh declined by 9,907 or -0.4% between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023. The Pittsburgh MSA’s total population of 2,422,725 ranks as the 27th largest MSA in the nation. Over this year, the rate of population decline across the Pittsburgh MSA ranked ahead of only Los Angeles (-0.6%).

Pittsburgh continues to be impacted by natural population decline, a result of annual deaths exceeding the number of births within the region. Natural population decline is a result of the older age demographics of the region, and the Pittsburgh region has been experiencing natural population decline since the mid-1990s. Over the most recent year, deaths exceeded births by an estimated 8,225 people. Among the forty largest MSAs in the nation, the Pittsburgh MSA is one of only five MSAs currently experiencing natural population decline.

Migration flows also impact the region's population. The Census Bureau estimates two types of migration: domestic migration and international migration. International migration is the movement of individuals to or from places outside of the United States. Domestic migration is the movement of individuals between places within the United States. For both types of migration, net migration is the difference between inflows and outflows of population over the previous year.  

Overall net migration for the Pittsburgh region was negative, but only resulted in an estimated population loss of 1,541 between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023. Over this period, the population of the Pittsburgh MSA gained 3,153 due to international migration. As a proportion of the population, the Pittsburgh region has the lowest estimated rate of net international immigration among the 40 largest MSAs in the nation. At the same time, the region is experiencing population loss due to domestic migration. Over the previous year, a total of 4,694 more people were estimated to have moved away to other parts of the United States than arrived in the Pittsburgh MSA.


Within the Pittsburgh MSA, only Butler and Washington counties gained population between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023. Fayette County (-1.2%) experienced the fastest decline over the year, while Butler County (+0.5%) experienced the most rapid population growth. All counties in the region experienced some level of natural population decline over the year.


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