Open Thread: Why Did You Leave Cleveland? Or Detroit? Or Pittsburgh? Or...?

With the launch of Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey (go here for full viewing guide and other resources), we'd like to ask those of you who shuffled off from Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and any other place you left: Why did you leave?

Consider it Reason.com's open thread on urban decline.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Buck Wing||

    Don't try to find me as I'm shuffling off to Buffalo.

  • Bank Quixote||

    This should be good!

  • Pat Buchanan||

    Because all these minorities started moving in.

  • ||

    I left Chicago because it was cold.

  • ||

    Same here.

    And I didn't really like Chicagoistas all that much.

    And I hated trying to get around there.

    And I could get perfectly good jobs elsewhere.

  • ||

    And I stayed in Chicago because I own a winter jacket.

  • BPorter||

    I just left Pittsburgh for job reasons, but I have to say I'm not sure it belongs on this list. Sure, the city government is kind of a mess, but when I moved there in 2004 I was expecting a sort of lesser Detroit, all industrial blight and closed steel mills and the like, and I think that's a lot of people's "idea" of Pittsburgh, but if you ever actually go there, Pittsburgh was one of the few rust belt cities that actually made some right choices. Starting in the 80s they began investing in local tech, medicine, higher ed sort of stuff (rather than desperately trying to save their old industries and throwing everything at create short-term bouys for the citizens and municipal coffers, and moving to a more executive and elected system of county management), and these days it's an amazingly techy, intelligent, green, artsy place. People who have never been are always surprised by how different it is than its reputation.

    In fact, usually when Pittsburgh is mentioned in the context of those other cities, it's about how Pittsburgh was the exception to the rule, and what those other cities can learn from their example.

  • BPorter||

    Bonus: Pittsburgh even makes Howard Fineman sound libertarian.


    Pittsburgh's rebirth is about the grit, sacrifice and hustle of locals—not the sweeping plans and power of federal bureaucrats.


    As the steel industry was dying, no one (certainly no one in Pittsburgh) suggested or would have accepted a federal bailout, let alone a federal takeover. There was and is too much pride and stubbornness; the Whiskey Rebellion was two centuries ago, but the suspicion of Washington's motives remains.[...]


    When the industry faltered—hit by cheap imports, lax management, labor strife and declining domestic demand—steel's leaders sought and won years of tariff and quota protection. So to that extent, the city and its leading industry did turn to the feds.


    But ultimately a sense of realism—a trait of the city that sometimes borders on bitter cynicism—won out. The locals realized that the old steel industry was a lost cause, and they moved on.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    On the other hand, the 'burgh did build new stadiums for the Steelers and the Pirates, and is building an arena for the Penguins.

    (The last I obviously support because the Pens are AWESOME and The Cup = taxmoney-deservedness (even though supposedly no taxmoney is going to the project).)

  • BPorter||

    Yeah, and the city government is more or less unraveling at this point, and recently has fallen for the trend of big capital projects to save us (the stadiums you mentioned; the casino; the convention center), trying to squeeze the golden goose for revenue (proposing a "student" tax out of pure vindictiveness, and then relenting when CMU and Pitt essentially agreed to bail the city out)(increasing drink taxes to screw bars), of course moving ahead with efforts to consolidate the city and county, thus essentially doing away with municipal government entirely (which I believe Cleveland has considered as well), and finally all the ridiculous state laws LarryA mentions (oh lord is it a pain in the ass to buy liquor).

    On the plus side, you can totally flip off cops. So, they've got that going for them. Which is nice.

    In any case it's not a libertarian paradise by any stretch. But, as far as rust belt devastation goes, I think Pittsburgh escaped the worst of it and, as Fineman mentioned, they did that by giving up the ghost on their failing industries decades before other rust belt cities have (if they have at all---hello Detroit) and actually trying to stay ahead of the curve rather than rigidly try to prop up the past.

  • Johnny Cash||

    "On the plus side, you can totally flip off cops."

    Fuck yeah!

    http://bighollywood.breitbart......finger.jpg

  • ||

    FoE, I think the arena's main financing comes from the SEA, which is to be payed back by the Pens and whoever owns the casino now. The terms a very generous though. When they were issuing the slots license one bidder offered to pay for the entire arena, he was denied(?!). The people that eventually got the license, I think, had to pay homage to the godfather (lemieux), though.

    I may be wrong on some details, it has been a while. If anyone has an updated and correct assessment of the situation feel free to correct me.

    Bporter, don't forget about mayor Murphy's hamfisted attempts at downtown revitalization in the 90's.

  • ||

    SEA is the Sports Entertainment Authority, not where da fishes are. Sounds Orwellian.

  • LarryA||

    I spent a year working in Lebanon, PA. Pennsylvania is on my short list of places not to return to (despite the fact that all my in-laws came from Pittsburg area) simply because of the overwhelming bureaucracy. Sending off to the state capital for auto license tags, state and local income tax, having to hire a lawyer to buy a house, for instance. PennDot lost both of our car titles, in separate incidents, and forced us to pay a fee to replace them. I’ll take Texas.

  • ||

    LarryA, perhaps you meant:

    Pennsylvania is on my short list of places not to return to (despite the fact that especially because all my in-laws came from Pittsburg area)

    Or maybe I'm just projecting. Again.

  • ||

    Starting in the 80s they began investing in local tech, medicine, higher ed sort of stuff (rather than desperately trying to save their old industries and throwing everything at create short-term bouys for the citizens and municipal coffers

    You must not know about Mayor Lego-Head's plan to levy a tax on college tuition to prop up the public pension system here.

  • ||

    My friend Bob says that Buffalo, NY is an intelligence test... and if you still live there, you've failed!

  • ||

    (Oh, yeah, he was born and raised in Buffalo).

  • ||

    Don't blame me, I moved to Seattle.

  • ||

    I left Buffalo in '96 because I had ambitions to work in higher tech than the region supports. Government is the only growth industry in WNY, and I wanted no part of that.

    It's worthwhile to note that it isn't just the city. Erie county's power lust and Albany's Bridge-And-Tunnel vision are complicit in its decline. But Buffalo for its part has far too much pride to accept that it's not the crown jewel of industry any more, and that all the Bass Pro shops in the world won't save a region that chooses propping up social welfare over attracting investment.

    I do miss it, though.

  • Patrick Kane||

    I moved from Buffalo to Chicago for job purposes. Well, that and the cabbies in Buffalo are a bunch of dicks.

  • LibertyBill||

    Im still in the Hudson Valley area of NY

  • ||

    I left Philly to live in the Hudson Valley, Saratoga County. I like it here.

  • ||

    I'd like to leave DC, being that it's entrenched with gummint workers and it just being a fairly sucky and expensive place to live, but I don't see that happening until the kids are in college.

  • Xeones||

    I bought some bad drugs off these snotty little rave kids i met
    And shuffled off to Buffalo

  • Warty||

    Holy shit, Xeones, you have good taste? NOWAI

  • Warty||

  • ||

    I grew up in Detroit, but graduated from an "oil belt" area college in 1980 - the last time the auto industry nearly buckled under. Going home for a job wasn't much of an option & the local economy in Oklahoma was booming. Now I'm in the Northwest - why on earth would I go back?

  • Thanzor||

    I left detroit. Im pretty sure i dont have to provide an explanation

  • Mark Trueblood||

    I lived in Cleveland (University Heights to be exact) from June of 2003 to January of 2006. Honestly, Cleveland really does have merits. I think many of the insults heaped on it are unfounded. Also, some Clevelanders have an inferiority complex about their city which doesn't help.

    However, one often has no choice but to leave NE Ohio if they want to move onwards and upwards in their career. The local income taxes charged by municipalities, along with high sales tax in Cuyahoga County, are a major drag too.

  • ||

    Let's add Milwaukee to that list.

  • Mr Bob||

    My dad and mom left Illinois (Chicago Area) because it was time to retire. The cost of living, especially property taxes are so high they could live much better in another state a few hundred miles away. Illinois doesn't deserver their hard earned money.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    St Louis is another crap hole that used to be a powerful economy and is now sucking the life out of the midwest. With high taxes and a corrupt (litteraly) government it really has no redeming qualities.

    But it's better than the East Side

  • ||

    I left Seattle after they spent billions of tax payer dollars on a couple of sport stadiums despite the fact that voters voted against it twice.

    I moved to Portland. Great city...but they are just as fucking doomed. I since moved to a small town in central Washington and work as a land developer. It is in this capacity that I have really come to grips with how fucking doomed we all are no matter where we live.
    Your house will always be at least twice as expensive then it should be and your kids will not learn shit in public schools. And any business that does something great and innovative will be crushed in 5 to 10 years with regulations and taxes....of course most potential great and innovative businesses have no chance to even start to begin with as the current regulations and taxes make it impossible.

  • Nick C.||

    Left Buffalo for school; never returned to live there because of the dreadful taxation. Sought out low-tax states as a matter of principle.

  • ||

    I left San Diego for Tacoma because I love actual weather.

  • ||

    If not for the taxes, politicians, waether and the Cubs Chicago would be an American Utopia.

  • ||

    You forgot the traffic.

  • ||

    I left Cleveland because the game was over. Living in Akron has its advantages.

  • ||

    Lived in Cleveland Heights from 1992-1996. Loved the city, really. The weather sucks, but the region is brimming with cultural activities. It has a world class university in Case Western Reserve. The MetroParks are a gem of outdoor activities.

    Why did we leave? Our kids were hitting school age and didn't want them in the public schools. Forget the city schools and even the suburban ones were not.

    So we decamped...landed in Central Pennsylvania...which has its own issues, but is safe and with decent schools.

  • ||

    Jesus Christ. My memories of Central PA were of 6th graders smoking in the park near the college in Williamsport. LOTS of 6th graders smoking. I found it to be a mountainous version of Massillon - depressing as hell, failed old industry (lumber) town - except with a similar population spread over a huge area. The Susquehanna Valley blows.

    I hope there are better places in Central PA than that.

  • ||

    Landed in the State College area. Has the advantages of a a decent economy, lowerish taxes, cheap housing and decent schools.

  • ||

    I left the Youngstown-Warren area... no check that, I RAN from the Youngstown-Warren area as fast as I could. No work (steel mills are gone, not that I really wanted to work in one anyway) and high crime (like people getting car-jacked and stabbed in front of the police station in broad daylight) make for an utterly soul-crushing existence.... I'll never go back.

  • ||

    Pussy.

    Seriously, Youngstown is probably the only remaining place outside New Jersey where the old-school Italian mafia still operates.

  • ||

    I left Detroit about 4 years ago for Minneapolis. The main reason was the lack of diversity in the economy. Just about anywhere you worked, you were tied to the Big 3 in some way. The suburbs where we lived were fine, no big complaints about it. I just didn't see any opportunities out side of automotive so we decided to look elsewhere. Seeing how things have gone the past few years, I'm glad we moved when we did.

  • darjen||

    I lived in Cleveland for three years and left for... Toledo. Another mini Detroit.

  • Xeones||

    Living in Akron has its advantages.

    Like what? Your city is located in an earlier volume of the encyclopedia?

  • ||

    Not as big of a pain in the ass to get around during rush hour, lower sales tax, cheap-ass home market (recent development), and proximity to the still large amount of culture in Cleveland when the mood strikes. I'm sure there are others.

  • ||

    HAHA The only advantage I saw to living in Akron when I did was getting to see The Black Keys play live before they got big. Other than that, the place is a depressing shithole. I moved to Minneapolis after the 3 yr experience.

  • skr||

    I'm fron Canton originally and I'll second that.

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    I was born in Pittsburgh and left with my family at the age of 14. Lived in DC in the 80's and left there for work in New York City in the early 90's. Left New York for Albuquerque due to family reasons (ill step father) but since is where my extended family hails from and a place I've long loved, the move was one of the best things I ever did. I will never leave New Mexico.

  • ||

    1990. We had high hopes for the neighborhood when the couple bought the apartment building on the next street over. He soon began doing extensive renovations.
    Then one evening I heard the sound of breaking glass. I looked out over the backyard at the building to see a new toilet flying through the window. Shortly afterward, another one came from the adjacent apartment. It soon became obvious that about a half-dozen youths were systematically tearing the place apart, breaking anything breakable including the plaster walls.
    When my 911 call was answered, I was curtly told that they would not respond unless I could provide them with the exact address. I asked them to be reasonable, but they insisted that I get the street address from the front of the building, not just tell them that it was the only one on the northeast corner of that intersection.
    So I went and got the address. Fortunately the vandals were occupied enough not to notice me.
    When I phoned the Cleveland police back with the address, I was challenged as to whether anyone's life was at risk. When I answered not, I was given a stiff lecture about misuse of the 911 system, and how I could be prosecuted for wasting their time. They would not give me the number of the local precinct or tell me which of the many nearby precinct stations was the correct one to call. I tried several of them on non-911 numbers from the phone book. None of the calls were answered.

  • anonymous||

    FWIW, if they were throwing toilets out the window, it's fair to say that it was a situation that could have killed or injured someone.

  • ||

    Vandals were removing new toilets and chucking them out of windows? Punk kids were removing toilets? The police wouldn't respond? Something is fishy here. This building being renovated didn't happen to shun union labor, did it? Because if they had, I would think it's more likely the unions laborers ransacked the building and the union police and 911 operators refused to respond. But, hey I'm a cynical prick, so...

  • prolefeed||

    I left Seattle because it was too cold.

    Then I left San Francisco because it was, while warmer than Seattle, still too cold.

    You can probably guess that I'm not too worried about alarmist predictions of the world getting slightly warmer over the course of the next century or so.

  • CRB||

    You left Seattle because it was too cold??? It was in the mid 50's most of Feb. this year, you pussy.

  • ||

    I left Pittsburgh (or more properly, the wasteland that is everything east of Pittsburgh and west of Altoona) because wages were low, jobs were scarce, and the people were bitter. I guess that's Rust-Belters for you.

    After graduating from high school, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I've heard the city has improved a lot (I remember driving around North Braddock and seeing nothing but boarded up buildings for about a mile) but I haven't had the inclination to return. Maybe once I finish my education. But probably not.

  • hurly buehrle||

    Honestly, it is better now. I found myself there in the summer of '04 doing some consulting for UPMC. I was amazed by how much had changed. The Mon riverfront, in particular, is almost unrecognizable from what I remember.

  • spreng||

    I was born in Dallas over 60 years ago, and I am still here. But the population has more than tripled in those 60 years. I guess a few of you guys came here.

  • Warty||

    I left Pittsburgh because I went to high school there and have an unrelenting hatred of it, its people, its people's accent, and its football team. I came to Cleveland for school, and even though I love it, I will most likely be leaving as soon as I think I'm overeducated enough. The NEO tech sector is not so great at the moment.

  • hurly buehrle||

    Yins don' wanna go see dem Stillers play an' 'at?

  • Warty||

    ARRRRRGH KILL YOU

  • hurly buehrle||

    Don't be nebby.

  • ||

    Fuckin' yinzer.

  • Almanian||

    And drop your h's - "humid" = "yoomid", "huge" = "yooj".

    And "Giant Eagle" = "Jine-iggle" (on word)

    Worked for a company based in Butler back in the 80's - loved listening to them talk.

    "Why don't yuns put a gumband on the Jine-iggle ads we'll use them to start a yooj bawnfire." Love it...

  • Almanian||

    Oh, and I forgot "donton" and "Picksburg"...the SW PA lingo is the gift that keeps on giving.

    To hear her speak, you'd never know my mom was born out there...in "Warrrrshington" PA.

  • Warty||

    Ever notice that the accent is even worse south of Pittsburgh than north of it? A lot of people in Butler County say "yuns", or even "you-uns", but "yinz" is almost universal in the South Hills. It's just that much more horrible.

  • hurly buehrle||

    If you think it sounds bad in the South Hills, don't ever go to Wheeling.

  • Warty||

    The first clause of your sentence is pretty unnecessary, don't you think?

  • hurly buehrle||

    Well, yeah, you've got me there.

  • ||

    I hate you.

    You're a bad, bad person.

  • ||

    Warty you are right about the southwest pa accent. It has no redeeming value whatsoever.

    A beautiful woman with that accent is instantly ugly.

    No one will ever accept a nobel prize speaking like that.

    There is no romance or history with the southwest pa accent. Unlike a southern draw, cockney/posh british, or a new york accent it's pretty much unidentifiable to outsiders. They don't even use it in movies taking place here because it sounds so lazy and hard on the ears.

  • Warty||

    It's like burning needles in the ears, dude. Horrible.

  • hurly buehrle||

    I didn't get much of an upgrade from it when I moved to wicked fackin' Boston. This is the first place I've lived where I felt like I needed subtitles to follow conversations for the first couple months.

    But yes, I don't miss the yinzer accent at all.

  • ||

    Chicks with Philly/South Jersey accents are just as bad. Next up is North Jersey. New Yawk. Pretty much the entire northeastern seaboard and Pittsburgh.

  • hurly buehrle||

    The Massachusetts accent is pretty horrible. It doesn't help that it's coming out of the coldest, most hateful people on God's earth.

  • hurly buehrle||

    Bad accents are more widespread than that. I couldn't stand the nasally accent when I lived in the upper Midwest either.

  • Warty||

    The nasally Great Lakes accent is horrible. But if you go a bit south, you get the flat Midlands accent, which is the most inoffensive English accent in existence.

  • ||

    Pittsburgh is the Galopogos Islands of dialects.

  • hurly buehrle||

    I grew up in Pittsburgh, and left after college for a variety of reasons. Some personal (family and friends left the area), some professional (better job and grad-school opportunities elsewhere). I did grad school near Detroit, and have to say that lumping Pittsburgh in with Detroit is very misleading: I would 1000x rather live in Pittsburgh than anywhere in southeastern Michigan.

    Pittsburgh has its negatives, obviously. It's provincial as hell, which I was glad to get away from, and as politically corrupt as, well, you'd expect from somewhere in PA. There's also a sense that any kind of business success requires political connections, which sucks. There was the G20. And yes, they take sports way too seriously there.

    But in lots of ways it's quite livable. Low cost of living, decent schools, safe, good museums, beautiful natural setting, friendly locals, good neighborhoods, etc. It's a better place to live than to visit; like a Bizarro California.

  • ||

    Agreed about California. I will up and go as soon as I'm done with college. On a personal level, I find the only redeeming thing about Los Angeles (I live close to Ventura) is the Getty Museum.

    Otherwise it's a corrupt, run down hell-hole in need of a bulldozer. Ever wonder about the fires here? I think Nature is trying to remove the blight.

  • ||

    Left Buffalo so I could make more than $9/hr. Miss the pizza.

  • ||

    Plus the people DO NOT SHUT UP about football.

  • ed||

    It's all they have. That's right. The Bills.

  • MJ||

    No, they also have the Sabres and are just as passionate.

  • ||

    The Bills are playing half their home schedule in Toronto starting in 2012.

  • ||

    You better have a link Or I'll stab you in the ear hole.

  • ||

    MIGHTY TACO!!!!!!!

  • Mike Kole||

    I left Cle as the last of my close friends and cousins to do so. I went to Indiana and gave myself a huge raise. No more 2% municipal income tax to Cle (where I worked) and 2% to Parma (where I lived); my state income tax went from 7% to 3.1%; my sales tax went from 9% to 7%. Insurance was more expensive in Cle because of the higher crime rates.

    Would have to be a fool to choose a place like Cleveland, with the dismal cloudy weather, the sense of hanging on to a distant past, high unemployment, crime. Forget it.

    Indiana may not be my final home, but I'll NEVER move back to Cle without gigantic changes.

  • bob||

    I'm probably the only person on earth who left the DC area to work in Toledo, OH, a strong contender for worst city in America. At least the store owners are better shots than the robbers! Today's newspaper: 2 stores robbed, one dead robber, one wounded robber. nuf said.

  • Almanian||

    I'll forever remember that "T" city as the place that tried to kill me. It is never referred to by its name in my household any more - always as "That Shithole".

    It does make me like Cleveland better, having seen the contrast with That Shithole.

  • ||

    They have the Hippoquarium at the Toledo Zoo, which is a definite plus. If there's an appropriate mascot for Toledo, it's the hippopotamus -- the most disgusting and dangerous animal in Africa.

  • ||

    Why did you leave?

    I left Los Angeles 'cause my real estate development deals weren't going anywhere for the time being, and there wasn't any reason to chase new ones in Southern California, for the time being...

    And I knew some people in southern Mexico, in Merida, so I relocated there for a while. I swam in some cenotes, climbed some pyramids, ran around with my dog on the beach (perfectly legal there). I learned some Spanish, swam in a crystal clear turquoise sea everyday. ...I slept in a hammock. I didn't work too hard.

    Don't tell anyone I work with, but it turns out there's more to life than working 14 hours days, six days a week. Sure, there's the thrill of the chase, and I need a certain amount of competition in my life just to feel alive...

    But playing on the beach with some kids and a dog, the IRR function on that returns a #NUM! error on my spreadsheet.

    "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

    I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

    For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them."

    We're all gonna get to wherever our character, intelligence, work ethic and random fish nets take us. The only question is the route we take to get there and who we want to be once we arrive.

    ...and besides, even in the downturn, I'm still outperforming the competition. ; )

  • Jordan||

    Just out of curiosity, how did you earn a living down in Mexico? That sounds really damn appealing...

  • ||

    I can't be too specific, but digital media has given rise to all sorts of opportunities to work online.

    It's hard to get a job or open a bank account in Mexico, even after you get an FM3, nevermind without one. Your second best bet is to get a job you can do online working for an American, Canadian or European company. ...do all your banking online, etc.

    Your best bet, and I think this goes for anywhere in the world, is to just go. Go to the place you want and hook up with the expats there. The expat networks in such places are all about finding work and a place to rent.

    Join an expat forum based in wherever you want to go, and you'll find tons of people all about exactly what you're looking for.

    The journey of a thousand miles starts with typing in expat wherever... Have fun!

  • skr||

    Sounds like someone runs a porn website.

  • ||

    Never before. Not now. Not ever.

    Shows where your mind is, I guess, 'cause it never even occurred to me that someone might think that!

  • skr||

    I can't be too specific, but digital media has given rise to all sorts of opportunities to work online.

    Aww c'mon you never thought that evasiveness about an online digital media job would be construed as porn? Maybe something illegal then? What are you trying to hide? ;P

  • VikingMoose||

    folks moved away for positive reasons when I was in college (retirement, second career elsewhere - a unique opportunity).

    terrific, fond memories of growing up where i did.

  • ||

    I left Memphis.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hIBp-qSyRc
    Reason 1. Crime and parts of the culture
    The above clip is a PSA from Memphis reminding us not to murder Children. Highest infant mortality rate in the country. Somebody tried to burglarized both houses in which I lived in college. Being accosted by the homeless weekly.

    2. Lack of opportunity. Even before the recession, Memphis was subpar. When placed in an average graduate income bracket against other teams that had made the 2009 tourney, U of Memphis finished among the last, getting routinely whooped by 16 seeds. Among the highest unemployment in the country.

    3. Some of the highest percentage of failing schools in the Country. If I'm too poor to afford private school, then my kids would end up worse than I was after attending public schools, which are ignorance and drug abuse breeding grounds.

  • The Gobbler||

    Every morning, Satan shits in Memphis. I truly hate that city.

  • Yup||

    Memphis is pretty awful and I live in the city's safest zipcode.

    We have empty condos all over downtown and more are being built. There's a building that's been halted on production for the last 3 years because there 26 different law suits. The pyramid has sat empty for three years, FedEx Forum has a no competition clause. BassPro Shop had interest in buying it, but the city simply does not want them here. Mud Island residents in particular said they don't want gun sales in their neighborhood. Then theres the multi million dollar Tram that no one rides. And the constantly rising utilities. The cancelled 1 Beale Street project.

  • ||

    I didn't leave; I returned.

  • DMXRoid||

    I left Cleveland in '03. Grew up there, born and bred Tribe fan, went to college at Pitt in '00/'01, and then went back home. Mostly I left because there isn't shit for IT jobs there, but partially because it's just such a dead, sad city. So much of the city proper is run down and gray, and the suburbs are so goddamn cookie cutter white bread that it makes you sick. It's just a depressing place to live.

    I ended up in Austin, and it's been the best decision I've ever made. It's the exact opposite of Cleveland (and cheaper!).

  • Rhywun||

    I left Buffalo because I was bored, the job market sucked, crime was through the roof, the locals are largely into football and bein' racist... need I go on? It was a great college town--not so great after you've graduated with a useless degree. There are things I miss but they are vastly outweighed by the problems above.

  • ||

    I grew up in rural Western PA, went to college at Pitt, and moved away for work in 2005.

    Only thing is, I wound up in frickin' Baltimore...possibly the one city in the Northeast that's weathered the loss of its heavy industry more poorly than Cleveland or Buffalo.

    I echo the sentiments above regarding the 'burgh. Pittsburgh's done much better the last twenty years than its rust belt brethren. The reasons for this are highly debateable and you could easily spend 5,000 words hashing them all out, but suffice it to say I don't think it has much to do with differences in city or state government, which is kind of the point of the whole Reason Saves Cleveland thing.

  • ||

    Why isn't Rochester NY on this list?

    Man I don't miss that place.

  • ||

    What's wrong with Rochester? I've had a completely random obsession with that place (snow! technology!) for several years...

  • Rhywun||

    If your hometown was Rochester you wouldn't need to ask that question. It's worse than Buffalo in every way but it's too small to make it onto the list.

  • ||

    It's pretty safe to treat the entire swath of I-90 in New York as one big Rust Belt wasteland. Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Rome, Albany. Well at least Albany has govt jobs, I guess.

  • ||

    It's not worse than Buffalo though. Buffalo even took away Rochester's status of highest murder rate in NYS a few years ago, the bastids.

  • Almanian||

    I'm so fortunate that I got transferred by my employer from Detroit to Cleveland. And that was a GOOD move as far as I'm concerned. When your expectations are low to begin with...

    One of the "features" of being a wage slave rather than an independent bidnessmanperson - sometimes ya gotta go where your job takes you.

    The good news (?) - I'll get transferred back to the D in another year or so. Woo hoo!

  • ||

    A Quicken Loans person?

  • ||

    I left DC for Minneapolis (long story). Minneapolis is a great city to live in and would boast a population of 15 million (as opposed to 500,000) if it wasn't so damn cold. But on the plus side, the cold keeps out the riff-raff, cockroaches and for six-seven months a year, flies.

  • skr||

    I left Canton (read Akron) in '93 for school in Los Angeles. I never returned because the weather sucks compared to here (80's today) and there simply isn't very much demand for a modernist architect in Canton. I have plenty of work in LA right now even with the housing market in bad shape.

    Did I mention the weather?

  • Almanian||

    there simply isn't very much demand for a modernist architect in Canton

    That pretty much says it, right there.

    Well, that and the weather...:)

  • Warty||

    Is there even any demand for regular architects in Canton? I heard that the last time a building was built there was in 1988.

  • skr||

    For some strange reason rich people keep building McMansions out there.

  • ||

    I mean this totally seriously: that would get maddening for me. As someone from The Cloudiest Place on Earth and of Northern European extraction, I feel the need to suffer for some extended period of time so that the summer (which is actually quite excellent most years) is that much sweeter.

    That and too much persistent sun gives me a headache and makes me more tired. Darkness is your friend.

  • Rhywun||

    I totally agree with this. I hate the sun in general, and the boiled crab look that's so prevalent in places like CA and FL doesn't suit most people, either. I'll take four full seasons any day.

  • skr||

    Seasons are only a 45 minute drive away.

  • skr||

    I just want to mention that I have been in a lot of seedy club districts and the scariest place has been the west side of the flats in Cleveland. I had a guy walk past me in a club holding a silver baretta after shooting someone in the club. Also, the dark broken streets just scream "Gotham"

  • ||

    I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and left many years ago, but according to my wife and friends, Pittsburgh has never left me. I've been away from the city for most of my adult life, but I still miss it and fondly return two or three times a year to visit family and friends and to go to a Stillers game whenever I can get tickets.

    As for the reasons for leaving, well, they're pretty common: limited job opportunities and cold weather. I live in the Research Triangle now, and while the 'Burgh is a great place to visit, it just can't compete with the quality of life here in North Carolina. That's not something I could've ever imagined saying growing up in Western PA.

  • ||

    I've been to Cary a few times. Pretty nice town.

  • The Gobbler||

    I left Maryland for the Twin Cities. Inherited an estate, and liked it.

  • ||

    I left Pittsburgh ten years ago because I wanted to move back to a more rural area. One friend of mine asked, "Won't you miss civilization?"
    My reply: "In what you call 'civilization', I had my dog stolen, I have been attacked on the street by random thugs, I have been robbed at gunpoint in my own business, and I have watched people in rush hour traffic pull out into the path that other drivers cleared for an ambulance -- blocking the ambulance's way. If all of this is civilization, give me savagery any day."

  • Sarah||

    My parents left:

    - California, in the late 1980s, because there were much better jobs and much lower taxes in Texas;
    - Texas (near Dallas,) in 1991, because the company was bought by someone in Michigan;
    - Michigan (just outside of Detroit,) in 1993, because it was impossible to find a job and RoboCop seemed less and less fictional on a daily basis; and,
    - Connecticut, in 1995, because we needed permanence for my little sisters and my mom, and because it was really expensive to do anything.

    They've been in central Ohio ever since.

    I, personally, left Los Angeles after trying to make it there as a young adult, because I could make twice as much in Ohio, after comparing both wages and prices. Registering my beat-up used car in California cost as much as the car itself did, for example.

  • Brian||

    I grew up in Cleveland, went to college elsewhere, and ended up staying in New York. This makes me want to move back to Cleveland eventually for the lower taxes and more permissive government (also to own a car again). But the job is currently in NYC, and so is my bar admission, so I have another 3.5 years here before I can move without having to retake a bar exam. I'd happily return to the Cleveland suburbs at that point, if I can find a decent patent law firm that wants me there.

  • Keith||

    I left New Orleans because of the lack of companies or jobs in the field I wanted to work in.

    Besides that though, turns out it really really sucks. (really).

  • TR||

    I moved from Detroit, and a job with Wayne County, to Atlanta about two months ago. The county was forcing employees to take furlough days, and my benefits package had been whittled to nothing. When I moved, I found a job with far superior working conditions, benefits and pay almost double what I made in Detroit. Best move I ever made.

    Plus, the city is one of the most depressing, angry places I've ever lived. And I served eight years within the City of Detroit. I may never return.

  • Brett Knoss||

    But Detroit is the Paris of the MidWest. Both cities were founded by the French, both rest on past glories. Both cities have entered a fallen state of grit, grime and crime.

  • Banjos Kick Ass!||

    I occasionally consider moving out of Phoenix, but I get cold when it's 70 degrees.

  • Doc Merlin||

    I'm in the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington metroplex, and it seems as if the rest of the country is trying to move here.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    I left Detroit to go to college in Michigan's UP.

    I didn't go back to Detroit after college because there aren't any jobs there and I have a kid to feed.

  • Kevin||

    I was born & raised in Detroit, and I'm about to leave for San Diego in June after I graduate from UM. Here's the reasons I'm leaving:
    1) Jobs. I do not know one person in my graduating class that is staying in the Detroit area with a real career in hand. I will easily make 1.7x-2x the salary in San Diego with my degree than I could in Detroit. Unemployment and under-employment is sky-high around here. My high school siblings can't find minimum wage jobs because the minimum wage jobs are filled by adults.
    2) Nightlife. Detroit always gets ranked pseudo highly in the nightlife rankings, its a lie. Metro Detroit has a horrible nightlife/bar/club/dating scene. I'm not gonna spend my 20's in a city like Detroit.
    3) Detroit is a dead city. Every other big city I go to, east coast, west coast, europe, even other midwest cities, feels alive and safe. I was in Pittsburgh last week, and was floored by how much better a city [even?] Pittsburgh was.
    4) Detroit plain doesn't feel safe. I went to high school on 7 mile, and it never felt like a place I could relax in. SKR mentioned "Gotham City". Detroit is like Gotham, but without the redeeming qualities Gotham has.
    6) The Lions. Moot point perhaps, but they haven't been good for the entirety of my life.

    It grieves me that I have to move from my family to find a decent job, but I'm excited to move to sunny San Diego!

  • Amber Pawlik||

    I left Erie, PA for the same reason most college-educated people from Erie do so: money. Upon graduation, I made $28K in Erie. I moved to Arlington, VA and made $51K. I now make even more than that, which is nearly unheard of in Erie. There is a major brain drain. The whole place reminds me of the movie, Walking Tall: all the factories have shut down and the Casino has moved in. It seems the only way people can make money is off of gambling or selling used stuff. No one actually MAKES anything. The City Council is completely corrupt. And, when a Tire Plant wants to move in, which would create jobs, you have a bunch of yuppies with their "STOP THE TIRE PLANT" signs everywhere. The real estate is dirt cheap; I don't know why more businesses who don't depend on a particular location aren't moving in.

  • MJ||

    I left Buffalo to find work, which was greatly affected by the local and state governments horrible tax policies. If you don't mind the winters Buffalo is great little big city. While there are the rust belt parts, the country surrounding is beautiful.

  • Throwball_fan||

    I left Cleveland (well, OK, Parma) in '86 for norther California. Yeah, that was a hard decision: Mountains (OK, the locals called them "hills,") the ocean/beaches, the redwoods, the weather, the high-tech jobs, oh, and my fiance at the time.

    With CA circling the drain, it's time time to move again...

  • Rhywun||

    Detroit is like Gotham

    Gotham isn't like people's imagination of Gotham anymore. Crime is a fraction of the level seen in the rust-belt cities, and vacant lots are a thing of the past. These cities are far more hopeless than even NYC at its worst a generation ago.

  • ||

    Born and raised in Northern New Jersey; left after 44 years because the property taxes on my family's small house (3 BR/1 Bath on less than 1/3-acre) hit $12,000/year. This, on a house that my parents paid $20,000 for in 1959. Most of our neighbors left sooner, selling their property to developers who, before the ink on the closing papers was dry, brought in the bulldozers and built $2.5M McMansions, further driving up the taxes and screwing the old-timers who were unable to move. My wife and I moved to Texas because her family is here, but if not Texas we would have found another state. Bonus: my Second Amendment rights are still valid and respected here.

  • Erhan Altay||

    I was born in and spent my early childhood in Paterson, NJ. When I was old enough for school, we moved out. Public schools are a travesty here though today there are some private/charter options including those run by a religious Turkish organization which has hundreds of schools around the world.

    I still live very close to Paterson. My father was an immigrant to the city from Turkey and many of his friends are deeply connected to the city (local business, factory owners, etc.) According to them, the single largest hit to the city was public housing. Immigrants tend to be more racist, but the (mostly black) people who the public housing policy attracted were on everyone's sh*t list. Crime went through the roof, so did drug related issues, etc etc. Eventually the public housing units were closed, abandoned or demolished. The city is making a slow recovery now, mainly due to Arab & Turkish immigrants. The immigrant sections have houses and commercial real estate values that rival or surpass the local suburbs. The black/hispanic areas are still mostly dumps.

    Solution? Allow more immigrants who give a damn into the city. What's left of the native population are the least motivated. The smart ones all moved out, and I can't blame them...

  • ||

    The great thing about Pittsburgh is that you can get a decent sized house for around $25,000 if you're not picky about location or the smell of cat urine.

    As for me? Grew up in Rockford, IL, went to college in New Orleans, grad school in Philly, postdoc in upstate NY, finally got a job in PGH. I've heard of this thing called economic growth, but never seen it in person.

  • ||

    Left Detroit when 8 Mile was a nice area, Left Cleveland when the Indians were losers, Left Columbus (OH) when Woody Hayes went insane in public.

  • Michael_Burns||

    Nick,
    I'm originally from the Detroit area. Left in '87, living in Los Angeles, Washington DC, back to Detroit, then to Chicago for 11 years, now in Austin.

    Bottom line: moving sucks. It was the hardest thing to do when I first did, but now I've grown accustomed to it. There is no reason to by loyal to a city or state that would rather destroy it's own economy, destroy jobs and families under the pretext of protecting our best interests.

  • ||

    I live in Arizona born and raised but you could ask a similar question and get the same reply... Why did you move to Arizona?

  • ||

    I have a feeling that I am rather unique in that I left Pittsburgh.... to go to Cleveland.

    Now, I am still in college, but it looks like I will be leaving Cleveland once I graduate though.

    For Pittsburgh, there were several reasons for me leaving. The first was the city government. I have watched it fall into decay as it struggles against the weight of Port Authority pensions and corruption(I swear Ravenstahl is more corrupt than any of the politicans in Cleveland, and that is saying something).

    I could live with that though(I do live in Cleveland right now). The main thing that drove me away from Pittsburgh was a lack of passion. People can get very enthusiastic about sports, but when it comes to actually do something, I feel suffocated. Nobody wants to actually do something. Everybody is happy with their merry little lives as is. Nobody wants, or is striving for something better. Don't get me wrong, there are some fine institutions in Pittsburgh(CMU and Google), but the people of Pittsburgh lack vitality.

    Cleveland on the other hand, while extremely depressing, has community members that are fighting for a better Cleveland with a passion I have not seen before. It may be the section of town I am living in, but the people genuinely care about the city around them and in improving it. Don't mistake me, there are plenty of people who could not care, but they are many who do. Their efforts are easily seen in the downtown and University Circle areas of the city. They are fantastic. Only East Cleveland retains a really nasty(but well deserved) reputation.

    That said, the job market in Cleveland is very static. Most of the people pushing for something better are outside the government, and the people inside are only completely self-interested, more so than the normal politican. The amount of red-tape that must be cut to do anything is astonishing, and the government enjoys adding more everyday to secure its position. With the state that the city's government is in, there is no incentive for businesses to settle here. That is why I will be leaving.

  • ||

    I left Pittsburgh for Detroit. Feel free to laugh.

  • David Esrati||

    I left Cleveland for Dayton when I got out of the Army- and was looking for a State university near a military base. WPAFB and WSU were the only choices in Ohio. I bought a house for $14,500 while a sophomore in college (try doing that in NYC) and stayed.
    The whole State is in trouble- as is the nation. We've lost track of what made us great.
    Time to make things again. Time to stop being policeman to the world.
    We're building schools in Afghanistan while building prisons here. It's a matter of priorities.
    I miss Cleveland- specifically- Cleveland Heights in the seventies- but, as the saying goes- you can never go home again.
    It's time to get our pride back, and take our country back.
    The dependence on foreign oil and the auto were our major downfall.
    Let's get back into the cities- and make a sustainable life.

  • ||

    Left Pittsburgh, but only temporarily... I think the city has a ton to offer for young adults... wonderful INTELLIGENT unpretentious people, much less segregation than the other cities listed, lots of amenities...
    See this table:
    http://www.pitt.edu/~cbriem/SelectedTables2.htm
    Hugely important to me

  • ||

    btw I'm 27 years old, have a masters degree and earn in the 6-figures, in case any of that is relevant to the discussion

  • Boo Wilbury||

    You earn one figure and are a dummy

  • ||

    When I left it was all job. There were Tech jobs in the SF bay area and there were not in Pitt. Now that the tech industry has come to pittsburgh, I'm 20 years older and have put down roots out here. I still never miss a Steelers game, and I wouldn't be against moving back, it would just take a super sweet deal to get me to disengage from here.
    Also, there are a lot of things that help San Francisco, it never snows, it's close to a lot of world class things (hiking, skiing, etc) and it only rains for 5 months. Pittsburgh's got the cost of living advantage for sure, but it's a tough call.

  • Ricardo||

    Um, Detroit, because it is a cesspool. I got out in 92' when I was 28 and I have never looked back. I have traveled the world since then and marvel at my well-educated peers from my days at the U. of Michigan who still, to this day, cling to the idiotic realm of anti-intellectualism and anti-freedom and innovation that is the dominate paradigm of the area and the Big 3. And I come from a family where both grandpas worked in the auto industry. It is a recipe for disaster. I saw that eons ago. Change is good. Adaptability is essential. Yet those mainstream slobs there got lazy and fat. Both the industry and the unions. And now they are paying big time. And I laugh. Go west young man. Portland and Albuquerque have treated me quite well over the past decade and a half or so. But I will always say "Go Stooges"!!!

  • Boo Wilbury||

    1) Poor Schools
    2) High Crime Rate
    3) High Taxes
    4) No Jobs
    5) Big Bumbling Government

    I wish i oculd move back to Cleveland. But I can't

  • Kevin||

    Left Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) for a number of reasons. Long winter seasons (7+ months). Excessive snow with hazardous driving conditions. High taxes (Sales tax, property tax, city income tax to 2 cities, liberal politics).

  • ||

    I grew up it Pittsburgh and had the opportunity to leave the city twice, 2nd time for good. They call me a "gumbander". It's when you leave and your family guilts you into coming back. Left for work. I am in healthcare, my only real option was to work for the Machine, aka UPMC. I came back to start a family and still didn't like working for the machine so we moved overseas. Pittsburgh has a lot to offer but it's like your Mom trying to be your best friend, it nice but you know she is just never going to get some things and there are some things she should just keep away from.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement