What does it take to run the City of Pittsburgh?

Last year, it took 3,894 people – some 3,400 of whom worked full time. They’re the people who drive the ambulances, pave the roads, answer your calls and represent you on city council, among many other jobs.

Last year, the city budgeted about $8.4 million more for salaries than it did in 2016 and about 40 percent of the city’s budget goes to pay its workers, not counting benefits. How exactly was all of that money spent?

Because it represents a significant portion of your tax dollars, PublicSource believes in making this data public and easy to understand.

This year, we’re breaking down the data with a twist: This quiz is a fun way to learn how your tax dollars are spent. We’re also providing you with access to the full datasets, so you can take some time to explore the numbers on your own. Let us know if you have any questions.

*Note: Answers will appear above the answer choices. We hope you like “The Office” as much as we do because you’ll see some references! This data story was fact-checked by Eric Holmberg. Scott Dempsey helped clean the data for this story.

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J. Dale Shoemaker

J. Dale Shoemaker was a reporter for PublicSource between 2017 and 2019.

Natasha is PublicSource's creative director. She runs the organizations visuals team, edits and produces interactive graphics, data visualizations and web packages for PublicSource. She manages the website...

4 replies on “Find out how much the City of Pittsburgh paid its staff in 2017. Take our quiz.”

  1. That makes sense. Upon looking again at the list I’m seeing that only a small fraction of the police officers are anonymized (I think for some reason I didn’t have that impression when I first looked it over). Thanks for the reply!

  2. Hi there – this is Dale, one of the reporters who worked on this story. Some officers are anonymized because the Pennsylvania Right To Know Law lets the city withhold the names of those who are working undercover or on covert projects. You can read more about this in section 708(b)(6)(iii) http://pafoic.org/right-to-know-law-exceptions/

  3. Some police officers are anonymized based on their duties for the bureau and if they are operating in an undercover capacity.

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