The Super Bowl (Economic Version): Phoenix vs. Pittsburgh

Harold Miller has an interesting blog post, featuring a few graphs, comparing the economic growth of the Pittsburgh region to the Phoenix region – the two hometowns for tonight’s Super Bowl competitors.

Over the past 16 years, however, the Phoenix metro area has almost doubled in population, and is now the 13th largest region in the country, while the Pittsburgh metro area has fallen from 18th to 22nd. A lot of the population growth in Phoenix was fueled by the kind of immigration that Pittsburgh has failed to attract. In 2007, 58% of Phoenix residents were born in another state, compared to only 13% in Pittsburgh, and 17% of Phoenicians were foreign-born, compared to only 3% of Pittsburghers.

While the Phoenix area has been dominant over recent decades (the reverse of the football team’s fortunes), they have struggles more recently, fueled by the collapse in their housing market, a problem Pittsburgh hasn’t faced (as it hasn’t had a strong housing market in decades). Of course, none of this should have an impact on tonight’s game. Nor will the Steelers win impact the region’s economy.