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Youngstown’s early prosperity and character emerged from the steel industry, and steel manufacturing remains important to the local economy. Today the city has diversified into automobile assembly and other manufacturing, mixed with a wide range of small businesses.
Youngstown also benefits from the 13,000-student Youngstown State University. Warren, to the north, also has an industrial character with a bit of historic charm, and Boardman is an middle-class suburb south of Youngstown. The metro area now includes Sharon, another small post-industrial city just across the Pennsylvania border.
Youngstown’s location midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh (80 miles from the center of each) is attractive to businesses and those seeking a smaller-town lifestyle with access to big-city services and amenities. Not surprisingly, home prices and living costs are notably low.
There are some attractive recreational areas in the nearby Appalachian foothills and in Pennsylvania to the east. On the whole, the area is down but not out; its strategic location and a successful economic turnaround may prove the area to be a good value but it’s a long path out of the woods.
The area lies in a river valley surrounded by low wooded hills and ridges. The region has numerous streams and lakes, both natural and man-made. The climate is modified continental with a moderating influence from Lake Erie, 50 miles to the northwest. Cold air invasions from Canada are frequent but are modified by passage over the lake.
The lake effect produces persistent cloudiness, snow flurries, and occasional heavier snows. The area has the highest cloudiness, days of precipitation, and total annual snowfall in the state. Summer is typically warm and humid, with thundershowers and few temperature extremes. First freeze is mid-October, last is early May.