Beginning in the early 19th century, Pittsburgh's proximity to large coal deposits and excellent positioning along major trade routes made it one of the world's leading industrial powerhouses. Steel production was a major industry for many years, earning the city its nickname, "The Steel City". Pittsburgh lies at the confluence of the Monongahela River and Allegheny River, which merge to form the Ohio River, ultimately draining into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. As an industrial city, Pittsburgh was also a major hub of early railroad activity. Millions of European immigrants settled in and around Pittsburgh in the 19th and early 20th centuries to seek employment in the steel mills[?], coal mines[?], railroads, or numerous associated industries.
The collapse of the US steel industry in the 1970s marked a major turning point for the city of Pittsburgh, and brought with it an unexpected renaissance as the mills closed and Pittsburgh shed its image of a dirty, smoky place. Pittsburgh was spared the fate of other postindustrial rust belt cities as the basis of the economy dramatically shifted from heavy industry to services and high technology.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 151.1 km² (58.3 mi²). 144.0 km² (55.6 mi²) of it is land and 7.2 km² (2.8 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 4.75% water.
Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 334,563 people, 143,739 households, and 74,169 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,324.1/km² (6,019.0/mi²). There are 163,366 housing units at an average density of 1,134.9/km² (2,939.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 67.63% White, 27.12% African American, 0.19% Native American, 2.75% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 143,739 households out of which 21.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.2% are married couples living together, 16.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% are non-families. 39.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.17 and the average family size is 2.95.
In the city the population is spread out with 19.9% under the age of 18, 14.8% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $28,588, and the median income for a family is $38,795. Males have a median income of $32,128 versus $25,500 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,816. 20.4% of the population and 15.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 27.5% are under the age of 18 and 13.5% are 65 or older.
Economy Pittsburgh has exhibited amazing adaptability in the wake of the steel industry's collapse. The primary industries have shifted from steel manufacture and heavy industry to high technology, biomedics, banking, and service based fields.
Culture Wealthy area businessmen of the 19th century donated large sums of money to local educational and cultural institutions. As a result, Pittsburgh is rich in art and culture. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is world-class. It owns and performs at Heinz Hall, which also plays host to a number of other events throughout the year. The Benedum Center (http://www.pgharts.org/venues/benedum.cfm) and Heinz Hall provide venues for numerous musicals, lectures, speeches, and other performances. There is a large museum dedicated to the works of Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol. The collection of the Carnegie Museum of Art (http://www.cmoa.org/) is home to works by such luminaries as Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and many others, along with galleries of sculpture, modern art, the Heinz Architectural Center, a large film and video collection, and various travelling exhibits. The Pittsburgh Playhouse (http://www.ppc.edu/playhouse/) at Point Park College[?] has four resident companies of professional actors. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History (http://www.carnegiemuseums.org/cmnh/) has extensive dinosaur collections on display, including the complete first Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered, and an Egyptian wing. Kennywood Park is widely regarded by rollercoaster connosieurs to have one of the best collections of functional rollercoasters in the world, including several early 20th century wooden coasters.
Education Pittsburgh is home to many universities and research facilities. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (http://www.clpgh.org/) has over 2.1 million cataloged items available for circulation. The Health Sciences Department (http://www.health.pitt.edu/) at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (http://www.upmc.com/) operate some of the finest hospitals in the world, and an advanced medical research center that performs pioneering work in organ transplantation, AIDS and cancer research, and many other fields. Carnegie Mellon University is a leading computer science research center, and also has a renowned music program.