The high cost of low living
Pittsburgh's civic boosters like to talk up the region's low cost of living, but as this writer in the Post-Gazette points out, low cost of living is offset by low salaries. He relies largely on anecdotes to make his case, but I think it's an argument worth considering. What do we talk about when we discuss the region's cost of living.?Does it merely include housing and consumer goods, or do we also factor in taxes? Does it consider the hidden costs of living with aging and inadequate infrastructure? For example, I'm guessing that brakes and shocks wear out a lot sooner on western Pennsylvania roads than elsewhere.
Perhaps the cost of living is not so much of a draw for recent college graduates and young professionals, who don't mind living in a small apartment or sharing costs with roommates, and want more money for some of the extras that Matthew Dillon ticks off in his Post-Gazette essay, like eating out, vacations and a nice car. It might be that cost of living tips the scales in our favor with older professionals who have either been able to cash in on a hot real estate market, or have a salary or savings commensurate with a higher-cost region. I'm not sure that's what the boosters want to hear.