Downtown Pittsburgh in Autumn
Photo by PatrickRohe / Flickr

Pittsburgh has made yet another national list for being one of the best, most affordable places to live in America. Yawn. We know, right?

CNBC published a write-up of a report by job-hunting site Glassdoor that culled the 12 cities “where your pay will go furthest, based on salaries and home values,” they explained. Pittsburgh is known for its livability, so it’s no surprise that we came in at number three. With a reported median base salary of $56,896, median home value of $126,700 and 46,379 open jobs, we were edged out only by Memphis at number two and Detroit at number one, where the median salary actually falls north of $60K.

What was a surprise, though, was how CNBC billed the list. “The 12 cities where you can live large on $60,000,” read the headline. Or, as Apple News might feed it to you, “A dozen cities in America where you can live like royalty on a $60,000 salary.”

Royalty? Really?

Look, one of the things we all love about Pittsburgh is how affordable it is. The fact is, you can certainly do a-OK here on $60,000. If that’s what you’re making, you obviously have a decent job, your house is heated, you’re probably putting food from Market District on the table and have no trouble springing for a Pulled Pork Pierogi Stacker at PNC Park.

But did that decent job require a degree? And are you paying the student loans you needed to obtain that degree? Do you have childcare bills and car payments and college funds to think about? Are you scraping as much as you possibly can into a Roth IRA because there’s no trust fund coming your way, and do you cringe at the mortgage insurance you have to cover every month because putting 20 percent down on your house was a bit of a stretch?

We’re pretty sure Wills and Kate don’t have these concerns.

But the national media just can’t help themselves sometimes. Typically these outlets are based in cities like New York, L.A. or San Francisco where $60,000 pretty much gets you a crappy studio and a bus pass. It’s easy to think that people who live in smaller, more manageable cities like Pittsburgh have no financial woes simply because we can afford a modest pile of bricks.

Lucky for us, no matter what your income, Pittsburghers understand simple pleasures. As NEXTpittsburgh colleague Amanda Waltz opined in response to this piece, “Pittsburgh’s not a ‘live large’ kinda town. It’s more of a ‘live for pierogies and beer’ kinda town.” And when you’ve got that, who needs champagne wishes and caviar dreams?

Ali Trachta joyfully returned home to Pittsburgh after a long stint at LA Weekly. Most recently she served as its online editor as well as digital strategist for its parent company, Voice Media Group, which owns seven alt-weekly newspapers. She lives in Stanton Heights with her husband and little boy.