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Preliminary Survey Ahead Of 2020 Census Suggests Pittsburgh, Allegheny County May Have Halted Decline In Population

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The City of Pittsburgh has lost half its population in the past 60 years.

And it's not much better for Allegheny County.

But new census estimates suggest that the population is finally showing signs of stability.

"I think it is great for our region that we are stabilizing in population," said Jessica Mooney, who manages the Complete Count Committee, a joint city-county program with 30 organizations.

The good news of population stabilization comes just before the official 2020 census is taken on April 1st.

According to the most recent census survey, Allegheny County's population has increased by about 2,500 people in eight years, a far cry from the loss of 58,000 people in the decade before. In 2010, the county's official census was 1,223,066. In 2018, the five-year estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau is 1,225,561.

In the City of Pittsburgh, the numbers show a slight decline, a little more than two thousand people, but nothing like the loss of nearly 30,000 residents between 2000 and 2010. In 2010, the city's official census was 305,704. In 2018, the five-year estimate is 303,598.

"Young people are moving into Pittsburgh, moving because of some of the tech that we have and all the things that are happening," Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday.

Those young people are helping, but they are not the only factor, immigrants help, too.

"We are seeing an uptick in our Asian population. We are seeing an uptick in our Hispanic population. Obviously, we came from a very low base, but we see a lot of growth. Again, it's because of jobs, because of vibrancy that people are moving here," said Fitzgerald.

But local demographer Chris Briem of the University of Pittsburgh sees one big change.

"The city is certainly losing its African American population, probably at a faster rate than any recent decade," said Briem.

Briem says black residents are moving into the suburbs.

Mooney says it's critical that everyone, whether a citizen or not, is recorded in the April 1 Census.

And this year's Census features new ways to fill out your Census form.

"You actually have a couple of different options," says Mooney. "You can fill it out online. You can call, they'll provide you with a phone number so you can fill it out on the phone. Or you can fill it out on paper."

Now, again, these numbers are estimates and mean nothing if the 2020 Census doesn't make them official on April 1st.

Experts also say that lots of people are undercounted, including low-income residents, minorities, and children under five.

While Pittsburgh and Allegheny County may have stabilized their populations after decades of losses, it's not clear that the same is true in the outlying counties.

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