McKeesport, Pennsylvania, experienced economic decline following the collapse of the steel industry, leading to population loss and urban decay.
McKeesport, located in Allegheny County, was once a thriving steel town, home to National Tube Works, a major employer that attracted workers from various regions and countries. During the mid-20th century, the city’s economy was heavily reliant on the steel industry. However, as the industry began to decline in the 1970s and 1980s due to increased competition, automation, and changes in the global economy, McKeesport and similar towns suffered significant setbacks.
The closure of steel mills and related industries led to a loss of jobs, which had a domino effect on the local economy. Many businesses that depended on the patronage of steelworkers also closed, and the city’s tax base eroded. This economic downturn resulted in a population decline, as residents left in search of employment opportunities elsewhere. The city’s population, which peaked in the 1940s at over 55,000, has since decreased to under 20,000.
The loss of population and economic activity led to urban decay, with many vacant homes and commercial properties. Efforts have been made to revitalize McKeesport, including attempts to attract new businesses, improve infrastructure, and address social issues. Despite these challenges, the city has seen some positive developments in recent years, such as the establishment of the McKeesport Collaborative, which focuses on community development and youth programs. Additionally, there has been some success in attracting new industries, such as healthcare and technology, which offer hope for the city’s future economic stability and growth.