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Northeastern Pennsylvania Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pocono area
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:15 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,626 posts, read 65,680,831 times
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On the flip-side of the equation and to play Devil's Advocate, does anyone see the region losing population as being a positive? At this rate of population decline traffic congestion should decrease over the coming decade, stores and restaurants will become less crowded, and perhaps urban sprawl will decelerate.

I haven't drilled down deeply enough, either, but I'd hazard a guess to say the majority of the population decline in the region is due to deaths outpacing births. If this is the case, then the median age of the region should start to decrease slightly as more and more elderly residents begin to die off. In addition, since younger people these days are overwhelmingly more formally-educated than their older counterparts the proportion of residents in the area who possess a degree should rise, which might make NEPA more attractive to prospective skilled (i.e. high-paying) employers looking to tap into that workforce.

I'm surprised there's been so little discussion about this. Has everyone in NEPA just given up hope?
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:36 PM
 
Location: The Flagship City
2,395 posts, read 2,864,399 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
From 2012 to 2013 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to have experienced a very drastic population decline.

Luzerne County: -1,320
Lackawanna County: -497
Wyoming County: -190

TOTAL: -2,007
While I agree that this area is experiencing a decline, "drastic" is a rather for lack of a better word, drastic term to use. Luzerne County has a population of over 300,000 so losing 1,320 people is really not much more than treading water or a rather small decline in population. The same applies to Lackawanna (200,000+) county and the only measurable decline is Wyoming county because the population is much lower (28,000+). There are many possible reasons for this population decline, but I would guess a lack of births and a significant number of deaths are probably an issue in this case. This projection map for 2010-2040 has some interesting information about this issue: http://pasdc.hbg.psu.edu/sdc/pasdc_f...ections_RB.pdf

Here are the population projections for 2010-2040:
Luzerne County: -5.0% to +5.0%
Lackawanna County: +5.1% to +20.0%
Wyoming County: -5.0% to +5.0%

So it looks like two counties treading water or growing slightly and one county experiencing pretty significant growth.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
13,189 posts, read 10,591,250 times
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Did anybody see the program "Vice" on HBO yesterday? I presume that it has been on many times before and will air many times in the future. The episode I am talking about is American Scrap. It talks about how we are picking the bones for our cities and abandoned houses and businesses. Then we are packing it all on boats and sending it off to China. Our Country is descending into the Third World while the Third World is climbing to the top.

I have to wonder how much the illegal scarp trade is paying a roll in the decline of our local cities? I know that I hear of copper theft almost everyday in Monroe County. Is the Scranton/WB area also having major problems with scrapers?

PS Here is a YouTube 'debrief' on that Vice program:
VICE on HBO Debrief: American Scrap - YouTube
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Scranton
1,384 posts, read 2,616,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtab4994 View Post
Without a charismatic Corey Booker or Rudy Giuliani type political figure on the horizon, you'll never get "aggressive new leadership". Is there anyone like that on the city council, in the DA's office, a regional business, or county government? Or has everyone with a 3-digit IQ left for Harrisburg and beyond?
Pat Rogan seems to be the only decent person on Scranton's city council. I'm not sure if he wants to run for mayor, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
On the flip-side of the equation and to play Devil's Advocate, does anyone see the region losing population as being a positive? At this rate of population decline traffic congestion should decrease over the coming decade, stores and restaurants will become less crowded, and perhaps urban sprawl will decelerate.
NO! The Mall at Steamtown is getting less crowded for sure. Scranton/WB doesn't have traffic congestion issues caused by volume. Whenever there's congestion is always caused by construction or accidents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
I'm surprised there's been so little discussion about this. Has everyone in NEPA just given up hope?
Our newly elected mayor seems to have given up hope already. Diversified and VaxServe are leaving downtown, taking almost 300 jobs out of Scranton and our mayor has nothing to say about it.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
22,738 posts, read 21,787,854 times
Reputation: 27806
Quote:
Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
Did anybody see the program "Vice" on HBO yesterday? I presume that it has been on many times before and will air many times in the future. The episode I am talking about is American Scrap. It talks about how we are picking the bones for our cities and abandoned houses and businesses. Then we are packing it all on boats and sending it off to China. Our Country is descending into the Third World while the Third World is climbing to the top.

I have to wonder how much the illegal scarp trade is paying a roll in the decline of our local cities? I know that I hear of copper theft almost everyday in Monroe County. Is the Scranton/WB area also having major problems with scrapers?

PS Here is a YouTube 'debrief' on that Vice program:
VICE on HBO Debrief: American Scrap - YouTube
I'm sure that it's a problem. To what extent, I don't know. In 2012 my mom's church in Wilkes-Barre was broken in to and all of the copper pipes stolen. How low can you go? On a brighter note, a member of the congregation made all of the repairs at no cost to the church and even paid for some of the materials out of his own pocket.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
13,189 posts, read 10,591,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerania View Post
I'm sure that it's a problem. To what extent, I don't know. In 2012 my mom's church in Wilkes-Barre was broken in to and all of the copper pipes stolen. How low can you go? On a brighter note, a member of the congregation made all of the repairs at no cost to the church and even paid for some of the materials out of his own pocket.
I was just curious how much is in your local papers? There is hardly a day that goes by down here that we don't hear something.

That was great that you had such a generous patron in your church! I hope that they replaced it with PEX pipe - it doesn't pay to have copper plumbing anymore.

Although we recently heard of arrests for stripping Buck Hill Inn; we very rarely every hear of an arrest.
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Tobyhanna, Pa
431 posts, read 521,418 times
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I think one problem is that no one is investing in these areas. Money makes money and companies and rich people only want to invest where they can see a profit. So what can attract people to the area? You need just one great idea to get people's interest. I also know in a lot of these towns in Pa the residents do not really like out of towners coming in. Just one really good business or attraction can be the backbone of other businesses and it can snowball from there. The people have to be willing to accept change to grow and flourish. May be its too hard to explain but I hope you get what I'm trying to say.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Hanover , Virginia
331 posts, read 521,363 times
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A quick job search for openings in my technical area yields 10 results for the Scranton area, 70 for Allentown, 95 for Syracuse, 120 for Buffalo, and 1300 for NYC. I left because there were no opportunities for me, and I think it's even worse now. I live in Northern NJ, but am looking to move back to a lesser populated area soon. NEPA isn't even on my list. If I were to lose my current job, I'd be forced to move again. And let's be honest, the area is too large land-wise to make entertainment options viable. Then you have the underperforming schools...

The good thing about modern day transit is that I can love two hours away from family and still make a nice living.

I don't see this reversing. There are too many lifers stuck in the ways of old, reliving their glory days of manufacturing and mining to modernize the economy. It's easier to just move on.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:13 PM
 
298 posts, read 301,312 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
To be fair the Marcellus Shale industry IS going strong in Washington County, PA (suburb of Pittsburgh), yet the population of this county is also projected to have SHRUNK from 2012 to 2013. The same can be said for other Marcellus-related counties in PA such as Bradford, Susquehanna, Tioga, or Lycoming. There's just not enough activity in PA to stimulate the type of population growth North Dakota, for example, has been experiencing.
I spend most of my time in Tioga County as a student, but my parents live in Bradford County and I grew up there, finishing school just as all of the gas stuff was coming in, with a lot of my classmates going directly into the workforce doing that stuff. I also spend a lot of time in Lycoming and Sullivan counties for entertainment.

Between 2012 and 2013 I have noticed a major decline in the amount of "gas people" in town. Before it took me an hour and a half to traverse 220/414/514/6 to get to school, but this year I have been making it in under an hour, just because there are never any large "gas trucks" on the road. "White trucks" have become less common, making my drive a straight shot with literally no traffic to get stuck behind, while before you were in a line of 20 vehicles on a road with 3 passing zones.

State Rep. Tina Pickett expressed anger towards Chesapeake for coming in and acting helpful and then leaving as soon as they got their things in line, however I don't see any other companies coming in to help the area as much.

There are no white collar jobs in Northern PA that I would want to take, as a Computer Science student the highest salary in the area I could find was $35,000, even Corning, NY had a high of $45,000. I have friends that made 3 times that the year that they graduated high school working for Chesapeake and other contractors, granted they work 80 hours a week. I can find listings in Scranton or Binghamton, but they aren't much better, they all want crazy experience with a starting salary around $55,000.

However, I have no problem applying to other states and major cities, where I can get $60,000 with benefits with no experience, where the cost of living is actually lower. Brain drain has made this area impossible for people who want good paying white collar jobs, there are no reasons for corporations to move in because there is no talent.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,626 posts, read 65,680,831 times
Reputation: 15081
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghdana View Post
However, I have no problem applying to other states and major cities, where I can get $60,000 with benefits with no experience, where the cost of living is actually lower. Brain drain has made this area impossible for people who want good paying white collar jobs, there are no reasons for corporations to move in because there is no talent.
There is plenty of talent in NEPA. The problem is it's very nomadic. Just about every person I graduated with from Pittston Area who went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree (or beyond) is now living outside of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. MANY (not all) of those bright young minds earned their degrees at Wilkes, King's, University of Scranton, Penn State, Marywood, etc. and then left after graduating. As a relatively recent alumnus of King's College I can confirm the majorty of recruiters that the campus powers-that-be invited in the accounting/finance/business sectors were from DC/NoVA; NNJ/NYC; SEPA; or Baltimore. It's almost as if they wanted graduates to leave NEPA and earn higher salaries so they could funnel money back to King's instead of encouraging them to stay and help reinvent an area that's been dying since before I was even born. Even in high school many teachers encouraged us to leave. It was depressing to face such overwhelming negativity about the area at such a young and highly-impressionable age.

I'm currently at a crossroads, as I'm hedging between opening my business either in Pittsburgh or in Scranton. I've done some very detailed analysis that shows it would be feasible in either city. Instead of encouraging me, though, many people tell me "there's no hope for Scranton" and that I would be crazy to leave Pittsburgh. Do I really want to open up a business venture in a city that doesn't believe in itself? As was reinforced upthread the new mayor of Scranton has already given up---not even being fazed by the fact that hundreds of jobs are in the process of leaving the city, which will undoubtedly cause a ripple effect that will shutter some nearby Downtown businesses that were reliant upon these workers.

I definitely see your point, though. It seems like the cost-of-living between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and my current Pittsburgh is comparable, yet workers here tend to be paid more, on average, which means they have a greater purchasing power while those in NEPA continue to be squeezed with less discretionary income. My business venture would net me in the low-$100k range in either area, and other than family ties I do wonder why I'd want to take that profit to a more expensive area.
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