The Future Is Now!

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Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania in Perspective

According to the 2010 Census, the population of Wilkinsburg is 15,930. There are 7,076.9 people per square mile in the Borough.  66.6% of the population are African American, and 28.3% are White. About 3.2% are of two or more races, 1% are Asian, and less than 0.5% are Native American and Pacific Islander. Hispanic or Latino people constitute about 1.8% of the population.

There are 10,046 housing units in the Borough. There are just over 8,152 households. 17% of households have children under the age of 18. Almost 49% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size in Wilkinsburg is 1.92, and the average family size was 2.82.

19% of Wilkinsburg’s residents are under the age of 18. Residents age 65 years old or older make up about 16% of the total population. The median age in Wilkinsburg is 41 years old.  There are 8,866 females and 7,064 males in the Borough.  About 38% of households are owner occupied and 62% are renter occupied.

The median household income in the Borough is $29,620, and the median income for a family is $39,685. Males had a median income of $31,135, compared to $33,203 for females. The per capita income for the borough is about $20,426. About 16.5% of families and 21.87% of the total population are below the poverty line. Poverty affects about 32% of those under age 18, and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.

History of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania

The borough of Wilkinsburg was named for John Wilkins, Jr., a United States Army officer who served as Quartermaster General of the United States Army from 1796 to 1802.  It was founded and developed by highly religious European immigrants. The borough has a remarkably high concentration of churches, mostly Protestant, which is unusual in a predominantly Catholic region of the country. Bars are prohibited within the borough limits. Wilkinsburg separated from the city of Pittsburgh in 1871. According to borough leader James Kelly, this was in order to maintain the religious integrity of the community. Wilkinsburg was known during this time by many as "The Holy City".

In 1899 the Wilkinsburg library was founded as a branch of the Braddock library, which was the first of the Carnegie libraries in the nation. The Wilkinsburg library also serves as a meeting place for council members as well as being the home of the local police department.[3]

In 1916, the world's first commercially licensed radio station, KDKA, began broadcasting here as experimental station 8XK from a small garage owned by Frank Conrad before it was launched with its current call letters on November 2, 1920. In 1923, Wilkinsburg-based Russian immigrant Vladimir Zworykin designed and patented the iconoscope, the photocell "eye" of early television cameras. Today, ABC affiliate WTAE-TV is located in the borough on Ardmore Boulevard.

Although the borough has become economically depressed in recent years, many efforts are being made to change this. The Wilkinsburg Community Development Center (WCDC, open since 2008) on Wood Street has become a huge part in bringing positive change to the neighborhood through helping local businesses move in, spreading the word about events going on, and bringing the people of Wilkinsburg together.[

Wilkinsburg was founded and developed by highly religious European immigrants. The borough has a remarkably high concentration of churches, mostly Protestant, which is unusual in a predominantly Catholic region of the country. Bars are prohibited within the borough limits. Wilkinsburg separated from the city of Pittsburgh in 1871. According to borough leader James Kelly, this was in order to maintain the religious integrity of the community. Wilkinsburg was known during this time by many as "The Holy City".

In 1899 the Wilkinsburg library was founded as a branch of the Braddock library, which was the first of the Carnegie libraries in the nation. The Wilkinsburg library also serves as a meeting place for council members as well as being the home of the local police department.

In 1916, the world's first commercially licensed radio station, KDKA, began broadcasting here as experimental station 8XK from a small garage owned by Frank Conrad before it was launched with its current call letters on November 2, 1920. In 1923, Wilkinsburg-based Russian immigrant Vladimir Zworykin designed and patented the iconoscope, the photocell "eye" of early television cameras. Today, ABC affiliate WTAE-TV is located in the borough on Ardmore Boulevard.

Although the borough has become economically depressed and plagued by violence and poverty in recent years, many efforts are being made to change this. Several local, regional, state, and national efforts have been brought to bare to offset and remedy the suffering of neighborhood residents and revitalize of once thriving and prosperous borough.