FAQ




Who decides which topics to cover?

The members of the Topic Area Committee and Pittsburgh Today Staff decide which indicators to develop. They recommend their choices to the organizing committee, which makes all decisions on what is published.  When available, experts from outside the committees are brought in to offer their knowledge.

Why is there more than one definition of Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh refers to different places because circumstances dictate it. The federal government keeps comparative data on what it calls Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The Pittsburgh MSA is made up of seven counties. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission defines the Pittsburgh region as 10 counties. Pennsylvania law defines the Port of Pittsburgh as covering 11 counties. The Pittsburgh International Airport considers 25 counties in three states to be its primary market area. With Pittsburgh, one size does not fit all.

Why are Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia included in a site about Pittsburgh?

The U.S. Commerce Department defines 183 regions of the country as functioning Economic Areas. The Pittsburgh EA has 19 counties, including nine in Ohio and WV. Because the three-county Morgantown MSA is so integral to the lives of Greene and Fayette County residents, it is included in a 22-county regional configuration.

Where does your funding come from?

To date all the money to support this project has come from private foundations whose names are featured among our partners. Because institutions like Carnegie Mellon and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission have contributed research time and counsel in creation of Pittsburgh Today indicators, the public and private funds that underwrite them are also going indirectly to the project. That said, philanthropy is what underwrites Pittsburgh Today.

Can I suggest or submit data that I think should be included?

Absolutely “yes.” Click Contact Us at the top and bottom of every page for directions on how to do that. You should understand, however, that the appropriate topic committees will make the decision on what to do with your material and how to proceed. Committee members have wide experience and knowledge about you areas of concern.

Why does it matter how Pittsburgh compares to benchmark regions?

Comparisons matter because presenting data without context is like boxing with one arm tied behind your back. You might think that an unemployment rate of 6 percent was good, because three years ago the rate was 7.2 percent. Your opinion might change, however, if you learned that in Cleveland and Boston unemployment is 4.8 percent today.  Rather than a system to rank cities, benchmarking explores the strengths, weaknesses and connections between indicators.

Who verifies your data?

The first level of verification is the federal government, which is the source of approximately 70 percent of the data used in our regional indicators, with state and local governments accounting for another 20 percent. The topic committees, which contain experts, look very closely at new data produced by commercial or academic institutions, as well as take great care that the government-supplied data are accurately reported and fairly organized for purposes of comparison. They also confer with colleagues. Finally, there is the organizing committee itself: five local leaders who have dealt for many years in specialized work that required high-level knowledge in fields like economics, education, health, journalism and science. Nothing is published by Pittsburgh Today without their approval.

Are you another one of those organizations touting Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh Today is from Pittsburgh and for Pittsburgh and hopes to serve Pittsburgh’s interests. It does this by providing Pittsburghers with better intelligence. It believes that providing good, easily understood information day in and day out, year after year, is a public service. By providing good descriptions of reality there is at least some chance that when people or governments choose to act their decisions will be informed; without a factual basis for action it is difficult for democracy to work.

How can I use your data for my report, article, or other work?

There are a variety of ways to use our data. For media inquiries, click here. For personal use guidelines, click here. For press releases and flyers to print, click here.

How can I contact you?

Click “Contact Us” at the top or bottom of every page. You can contact the staff or some of the Committee members. If you would like to contact someone who is not listed, please forward your request to pittsburghtoday@gmail.com.