During its 1979 World Championship season, the Pittsburgh Pirates adopted Sister Sledge’s hit song “We Are Family” as their theme.  The sentiment resonated throughout the community.  It seemed only appropriate, as Pittsburgh has a strong tradition of family and close-knit neighborhoods.

Pittsburgh has received many accolades for its family-focused atmosphere.  Reader’s Digest magazine rated Pittsburgh the Fifth-Best Place to Raise a Family.  The magazine teamed with the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research to poll parents across the U.S. about aspects that most concern them when considering a place to raise a family.  Thirteen factors were taken into consideration including crime rate and climate, and each was graded on a scale from 1 to 10.  Residents of the top 50 places to live cited a general sense of “community” as an area’s most important factor.  Pittsburgh came in fifth.

The Best City to Move Your Family To

Primacy Relocation also named Pittsburgh the Best City to Move a Family.  The report focused on how easily a family can assimilate to the area.  To compile it, factors such as affordable housing, length of commute, the ratio of pediatricians to population, and educational resources were considered.

At the beginning of the decade, the U.S. Census bureau released data that indicated Pennsylvania leads all states in the share of homeowners who have lived on their property for more than 30 years, and 78 percent of our residents were born here.  Pittsburgh is such a family-friendly area, many choose never to leave.

Perhaps one of the reasons Pittsburgh is a great place for raising a family is that Pittsburgh comprises many neighborhoods.  This sense of neighborhood, combined with Pittsburgh’s status as a large metropolitan city, makes it unusual and a very livable place for families.

Starting a Family in Pittsburgh

If you don’t have a family, Pittsburgh is great place to start one.  Since its opening in 1911, Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood has delivered more than 500,000 babies.  Each year more than 8,000 infants enter the world at Magee, with some 45 percent of all births to Allegheny Country residents occurring there.  It also houses the largest neo-natal intensive care unit in Pennsylvania.

With so many excellent health facilities and practitioners, couples struggling to start a family have much hope.  The Jones Institute at West Penn Allegheny General Hospital provides diagnostic and treatment of infertility.  An affiliate of the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine of Eastern Virginia Medical School, it uses state-of-the-art techniques and provides a multi-disciplinary approach of treatment with laboratory, psychological, and genetic support.

Those opting to begin a family through adoption will find that there is a wealth of resources to help them through the process.  Since 1979, The Three Rivers Adoption Council works to find permanent homes for displaced children.  They emphasize adoptions of African-American, older and special needs children.

Many other agencies offer hope to childless couples.  The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh and Lemieux Family Center helps to facilitate adoptions as does Genesis House of Pittsburgh.  Numerous agencies that arrange international adoptions are also available.

Family Atmosphere for Everyone

Even if you aren’t a native, the family atmosphere is very nurturing to newcomers.  It’s not uncommon for older residents to “adopt” the children of neighbors.  You’ll often hear children refer to beloved neighbors who dote on them with ice cream and small tokens as “grandma” or “aunt” as a term of endearment.  Pittsburgh is the type of place where if a child is lost in a store, moms will respond to the crying child and stay with him or her until their mother is found.

So as they sang in the musical Oliver, when you’re in Pittsburgh, “Consider yourself part of the family.”