“The American Dream begins with a good job and place to live that you can afford,” writes Derek Thompson writes in the Atlantic Mobile. “But today, those two halves of the American Dream are living apart. The good jobs and high wages are in unaffordable cities. The affordable homes cluster in the cities with lower wages and less upwardly mobile families.”

Except for Pittsburgh, that is.

According to Thompson’s research, only three U.S. cities have an affordability rating that is higher or comparable to their upward mobility. Those three cities are Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis.

Thompson bases this conclusion from statistics gathered both by Harvard economist Raj Chetty and Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko, whose data points out that the cities with the highest capability of propelling young people toward success, “to work his or her way into the middle class and beyond”  are also the cities that are the least affordable for a median income.

No wonder “it’s so hard for millenials to find a place to live and work.”

Luckily, our three “outliers” as Thompson calls them, are buckingthe trend.


“There are the only three cities in the United States with (a) at least 50 percent of houses affordable to middle-class Millennials and (b) a top-10 finish in Chetty’s mobility calculations. These are the outliers: Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City,” he writes.

“The best advice for young people seeking the American Dream isn’t “go west, young man” or “go east, young woman.” It’s: “check out Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City.”

Read the full article here.

Rebekah Zook

Rebekah Zook is a Duquesne grad and all-around story-telling enthusiast. A former fellow at WESA, she worked as a production assistant for their daily talk show. Most recently, she taught in the Propel Charter School system as a visiting artist. When she isn’t writing, Rebekah is a trip leader for the local non-profit organization Venture Outdoors. You can usually find her in a bright yellow kayak.