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The whole Pittsburgh population loss thing is kinda blown out of proportion. Yes, it is losing population. But the net loss doesn't tell the whole story. If you break it down, people don't leave here any more than your average city. It's just that deaths are outpacing births. Some cities have enough in-migration to make up for their losses. Pittsburgh doesn't get quite enough in-migration to make up for our normal losses. (But people *do* move here).
I don't know anything about Madison, so I can't make any comparisons here. But I wanted to throw in that information because I noticed people were talking about the population issue.
I currently live in Pittsburgh and have stayed-in/visited Madison many times. I think this is comparing apples and oranges as Madison is more like a really-big small-town and Pittsburgh is like a little big-city. This all really depends on ones own personal preferences....no one can answer this question for another person.
As an example. I like Pittsburgh because I can get on the Parkways and traverse the entire metro in under an hour. Some people hate Pittsburgh because they can get on the Parkways and traverse the entire metro in under an hour. Or, I don't like Madison because it seems a little Leave-it-to-Beaverish. While others love Madison because it seems a little Leave-it-to-Beaverish.
You have to first let us know what you primary concerns are.
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Pittsburgh's population loss is not simply a matter of deaths > births. I looked at the figures one time and found that only accounts for about half the population loss. The rest is more people leaving than are coming. This at a time when the US population is growing, has doubled since 1950, when Pittsburgh was about at its peak.
I have never been to Pittsburgh before, but maybe a student perspective from this area will help your decision.
I've lived in this area my whole life (lived in Cottage Grove just east of Madison until college), and have been living downtown since I started going to UW-Madison 3 years ago. Even though this city is without a doubt left-leaning, that doesn't mean that's the only type of people here. I definitely don't "fit the mold" for Madison politically (and neither do my roommates; but maybe that's just an example of how like minds stick together...or whatever), but I really like living here. Some possible areas to stay away from (mainly because of crime) are south Park Street, south Fish Hatchery Road, and some areas south of the Beltline (ex: Allied Drive).
As for high schools in the area, I've visited all of them (West, East, Memorial, LaFollette) and attended Monona Grove, which is in Monona, but 2 blocks away from LaFollette. MG gets ripped on for being "snobby", but in reality all the districts here are very good. I never had any problems with my teachers here, and other students are for the most part helpful and friendly (of course you can't have a perfect student population).
Downtown has a variety of cool shops/bars/restaurants, most notably on State Street. I love walking down that street at night in the summer...it's just got an awesome feeling to it, I don't know how to put it.
As said earlier, Madison just feels like a really big small-town. I've been all over this country, and I think I can say without much bias that the people here (and possibly just the Midwest in general) are the friendliest in the country.
Oh, it gets cold here. VERY cold. It doesn't bother me personally, but some people just can't deal with it. It's all worth it because we get gorgeous summers and all 4 seasons.
Hi, I lived in Madison for many years and loved every moment of the experience. Thankfully I now live in the mountains of North Carolina. Madison has always been a city of diversity and while it is as described a city with a liberal attitude, I believe that slo means acceptance. No worries it is not about the military for most it is about the politics. Enjoy..
Move to Madison - It is liberal but because of that everyone is tolerated. Your kids will have a great cultural experience as we have people in Madison from all cultures and religions.
I live in Verona WI - a suburb of Madison and our schools are rated top in the Nation. It is one of the best public school systems you could send your children to in the Nation. Because of the good school system taxes are pretty high. We bought our house 5 years ago for about 225,000 dollars. It is now worth around 325,000 and we pay about 6200 per year in taxes. However, that is worth it to have our children attend an extremely great school
I have many family and friends in the Military - either in the guard or fully time army. In fact one of my family members is a captain working full time at the Army base in Madison. I have seen no issues with the Military folks in Madison.
Madison also has lakes that are wonderful, rivers, skiing near by, biking is everywhere, many trails and also has many malls for shopping and great grocery stores everywhere.
Downtown Madison is fun and we have some of the best restaurant selections anywhere. In fact people that live other places love to come to downtown Madison to eat and enjoy the atmosphere.
My husband and I moved away from Madison a few times and week keep returning because we miss it so much and we miss the nice people - great roads - and great schools.
Move to Madison - It is liberal but because of that everyone is tolerated.
I've got no beef with the rest of your post, but this is too much. "It's liberal but because of that everyone is tolerated." Sure -- as long as you are also liberal. The only way I was "tolerated" in Madison is if I kept my mouth shut about social, political and economic issues. I have never lived in a more blatant echo chamber or witnessed a more monolithic expression of "tolerance" in my life.
Oddly enough, Drover, even though I'm one of those dreadful liberal Madisonians, I've had a similar experience, and have at least some idea of how isolating it can feel. My spouse and I spent close to two decades living in an extremely conservative region in another state, and I encountered the same sort of "tolerance" that you describe: as long as I didn't open my mouth about my own beliefs and opinions, I was tolerated. Heaven help me if I had the temerity to voice an opinion contrary to those held by the conservative majority.
What I think this emphasizes for all of us, both liberal and conservative, is that the political slant of a community is as important to the sense of fit we experience as are the kind of shops and businesses, the neighborhoods, and the economy of the place. Whether you're a liberal or a conservative, you'll find places where you can wear your politics on your sleeve, as it were, and you'll also find places where you'd best not admit to anyone which primary you voted in.
Well I'd still prefer to live in a place that's eclectic like Madison, even if that means I have to keep my opinions to myself to "go with the flow."
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