Pennsylvania is a state with a rich history and diverse culture, but not all of its cities are thriving. According to the latest population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, one city in particular has been losing residents at an alarming rate. That city is McKeesport, located in Allegheny County, near Pittsburgh.
McKeesport’s Population Decline
McKeesport was once a booming industrial city, known for its steel mills and coal mines. At its peak in 1940, it had a population of over 55,000 people. However, as the steel industry declined and the mines closed, McKeesport suffered from economic hardship, unemployment, crime, and poverty. Many residents left the city in search of better opportunities elsewhere.
According to the 2020 census, McKeesport had a population of only 17,731 people, a decrease of 26.8% since 2000. This makes it the fastest shrinking city in Pennsylvania among the 100 largest cities in the state. In fact, McKeesport has lost more than two-thirds of its population since its peak in 1940.
McKeesport’s Challenges and Opportunities
McKeesport faces many challenges as a shrinking city, such as maintaining public services, infrastructure, housing, and quality of life for its remaining residents. The city also has to deal with environmental issues, such as pollution, flooding, and abandoned buildings. Moreover, McKeesport has a high poverty rate of 32.5%, compared to the state average of 12.5%, and a low median household income of $28,750, compared to the state average of $61,744.
However, McKeesport also has some opportunities for revitalization and growth. The city has a strategic location along the Monongahela River, which connects it to Pittsburgh and other markets. The city also has a rich heritage and culture, with historic landmarks, museums, festivals, and a diverse community. Additionally, McKeesport has some assets and initiatives that aim to improve the city’s economy, education, health, and environment. For example, the city is home to the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus, the McKeesport Hospital Foundation, the McKeesport Collaborative, and the McKeesport Rising Project.
McKeesport is a city that has been facing a severe population decline for decades, due to the loss of its industrial base and the resulting social and economic problems. It is the fastest shrinking city in Pennsylvania, and one of the fastest shrinking cities in the nation. However, McKeesport is not a hopeless case. The city has some potential and resources that can help it overcome its challenges and create a brighter future for its residents. McKeesport is a city that needs support, investment, and innovation to reverse its decline and restore its vitality.