10 Pros and Cons of Living in Pittsburgh, PA

Updated On October 9, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh sits at the junction of three rivers in western Pennsylvania.

The city has a population of approximately 300,431 residents.

The thing that this city is most renowned for, amongst other things, is the fact that it offers a high standard of living in relation to a low cost of living.

In addition, the amenities offered to residents in Pittsburgh are of a very high quality, which further contributes to the good quality of life.

However, when you consider making the move to Pittsburgh, you may want to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of living in this city. 

Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA

Pros of Living in Pittsburgh, PA

1. A good quality of life

According to Numbeo.com, the estimated monthly cost for a single person, without rent, is approximately $1,200.

In addition, living in Pittsburgh is roughly 20% less expensive than living in New York.

Furthermore, Payscale.com indicates that the housing prices in Pittsburgh are roughly 8% lower than the national average.

If you take into account that Pittsburgh is a metropolitan city, comparable to other big metropolitan cities like New York and Chigaco, the picture becomes quite clear. 

Housing and transportation costs are usually the factors that drive the cost of living up quite substantially.

In both of these areas, Pittsburgh is below the national average.

In addition, groceries, utilities, and leisure costs seem to all fall below the national average, making it quite affordable to live in Pittsburgh. 

2. A good education system

Pittsburgh is considered a mid-sized city in relation to other bigger cities like Houston, San Antonio, or San Diego, for example.

According to research conducted, it was revealed that Pittsburgh’s public schooling system is amongst the best in the US.

There seems to be a year-on-year trend, for the past decade, of improved grades at most, if not all, of the public schools in this district. 

It was further determined that the reading scores in the state of Pennsylvania were amongst the best in the nation and that the math scores in this state are among the highest in the US.

Furthermore, it was revealed that more than half of high school graduates in this state plan to continue their education and that the state ranked fourth, nationally, in terms of students who graduate with their bachelor’s degree, after starting college. 

3. The people

Here is a great reason to live in Pittsburgh.

The people.

One thing you may notice when you first move to Pittsburgh is how friendly and accommodating most people are in this city. 

It may have a lot to do with the low cost of living and the high quality of amenities that the residents in this city have access to.

It is not uncommon to have a Pittsburgh native strike up a conversation with you in line at the local store or to meet people at a concert or sporting event.

You will often be greeted by strangers in the streets.

Local residents often inquire about your day with genuine interest. 

Neighbors are helpful and kind, and always willing to lend a helping hand.

This hospitality makes Pittsburgh a great place to live. 

4. Great for sports fans

If you are a sports fanatic, then this is the ideal city for you.

Pittsburghers are crazy about sports and you will quickly come to realize this once you get settled in.

There are a host of sports that are often played in the area, from pro hockey and football to basketball and baseball.

Pittsburgh residents are loyal to the black and gold teams that call this city their home.

Their patriotism for their sports teams is most evident during the big games and the whole city gets behind the players that represent the city.

And, sitting in the stadium, you will feel an overwhelming sense of community and comradery with your fellow Pittsburgh residents. 

5. Culture

Pittsburgh is rich in culture.

From history and art to music and festivals.

You will find it all in this great city.

There is a plethora of activities and festivals that you can enjoy in and around this city.

If you are someone that enjoys musical or theatrical entertainment, you may find a host of shows and events at the Heinz Hall of Performing Arts and the Benedum Center.

There are several restaurants around the city that offer international cuisine and some of the best wines from all corners of the globe. 

If you enjoy going to museums, you will be happy to know that the city has a plethora of museums ranging from obscure to world-class museums.

Two of the most popular museums in this city include the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Museum.

In addition, the city is home to four Carnegie Museums:

  • Carnegie Science Center
  • Carnegie Museum of Natural History
  • Carnegie Museum of Art
  • The Andy Warhol Museum

Furthermore, there are a host of annual events that take place in the city, including the Pittsburgh Pride Revolution, the Dollar Banks Three Rivers Arts Festival, and the Pittsburgh Black Music Festival, to mention a few.

Cons of Living in Pittsburgh, PA

1. Crime

Pittsburgh is considered to have one of the highest crime rates in the US.

Even in comparison to other cities of varying sizes, this city still holds the title.

There are an estimated 42 crime incidents reported per 1,000 residents in this city.

It is estimated that residents have a one in 24 chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in the city of Pittsburgh. 

.The city has a crime index of seven, which means that it is safer than 7% of all cities in the United States.

When you compare Pittsburgh to other cities of similar size and the crime stats in those cities, it becomes quite alarming how high the crime rate really is in Pittsburgh. 

There are predominantly two categories of crime: violent crime and property crime.

Pittsburgh has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the US, with property crime not far behind.

This does pose quite a problem for people who wish to move here.

One of the most important factors most consider when moving to a new city, amongst others, is the rate of crime.

Safety is a primary concern for everyone and this could be a major deterrent when considering the move to Pittsburgh.  

2. Pollution

Pittsburgh is one of the most polluted cities in the US.

The city is ranked 6th in the nation for air pollution, or more specifically, soot pollution.

Furthermore, the city has been rated an “F” by the American Lung Association for its air quality.

This does not paint a pretty picture of Pittsburgh.

In fact, air pollution is a major threat to candidates who suffer from asthma and can even bring on severe asthma attacks. 

For candidates who suffer from asthma or similar conditions, moving to Pittsburgh may not be an option at all.

There are several industrial facilities that contribute to the major air pollution in the area.

Several organizations in the area are fighting to reduce air pollution and get these facilities to comply with regulations in order to protect the residents that live around these facilities.

3. Traffic

The United States has approximately 20,000 cities across all states.

Pittsburgh ranks 35th, nationally, when it comes to congested traffic.

It has been reported that residents in Pittsburgh lose an average of 18 hours a year in congested traffic.

Furthermore, this number increases to 57 hours if your commute to and from work has you sitting in rush hour traffic every day.

There are many factors that contribute to the traffic congestion in this city and may include bad driving by many of the drivers on the road, badly laid out roads and bridges that connect various parts of the city to each other, bottlenecks, and a lesser scale, traffic lights. 

If you prefer to live in a city with little to no traffic congestion, this may not be the ideal city for you. 

4. High-income tax

Pennsylvania has a flat income tax rate of 3.07%.

This means that, regardless of income, each resident of the state is taxed at the same flat rate. 

In addition to this rate, Pittsburgh residents have taxed an additional 3% income tax for money earned. 

In comparison to California, the state with the highest income tax rate, which sits at 12%, Pittsburgh’s income tax may not seem as high.

However, it is still much higher than some other states. 

5. The weather

Pittsburgh experiences warm and pleasant summers.

But, it is the winters you should be concerned about.

The temperatures throughout the year range between 23°F to 83°F.

It is rarely below 7°F or above 90°F in this region.

The winters, however, can be extremely brutal. 

The coldest part of the year, in Pittsburgh, usually lasts for approximately three months, from December to March.

The temperature range during the period is 24°F on the low end and 37°F on the high end.

Keep in mind that these temperatures are hardly as extreme as other cities that experience temperatures that drop well below 20°F in the wintertime, but it is still very cold in this region during the winter. 

Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA

Pros and Cons of Living in Pittsburgh, PA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Pittsburgh, PACons of Living in Pittsburgh, PA
1. A good quality of life1. Crime
2. A good education system2. Pollution
3. The people3. Traffic
4. Great for sports fans4. High-income tax
5. Culture5. The weather

Pittsburgh Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Pittsburgh Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania a good place to live?

It is a great place to live but it does have many disadvantages, such as crime and colder weather conditions during the winter.

Does it snow a lot in Pittsburgh?

It does not snow excessively in Pittsburgh, but the city does see a fair amount of snow each year.

What is the biggest attraction in Pittsburgh, PA?

There are several attractions that are worth visiting in Pittsburgh, but the attractions that most appeal to everyone are:

  • Carnegie Museum of Art
  • Independence National Park
  • Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
  • The Andy Warhol Museum

What food should you try in Pittsburgh, PA?

If you intend on visiting Pittsburgh, you should absolutely try the Primanti Sandwich, Pirogies, and potato patch fries.

No visit to Pittsburgh is complete without having tried these dishes.

And, if you move to the city, you best become familiar with the foods that this city is most known for.

What is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania famous for?

Pittsburgh is known for its steel industry with over 300 steel-related businesses, and has earned itself the name “the Steel City”.

And, thanks to nearly 450 bridges, the city has been dubbed the “City of Bridges”.

Apart from this, the city is known for its patriotism to the various sports teams and has over 30 skyscrapers.

6 Comments on 10 Pros and Cons of Living in Pittsburgh, PA

  1. I have to disagree, no, the people are not friendly.

    1. P
      Pgh ghost says:

      They must not be truly from here! Our people are extremely friendly compared to other cities!

  2. J
    Jose Pabatao says:

    I agree for the most part.

  3. J
    Jose Pabatao says:

    Pittsburgh does need to hire more police. And have more present in the downtown and south side areas. Other than it is a great city to live and work.

  4. Agree except for schools, city schools are not good at all, people are wonderful, true pittsburghers are! Our weather is awful, period

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