A new report reveals that Philadelphia isn't experiencing as much gentrification as it seems. In fact, it's quite the opposite: The city has actually experienced a drop in economic well-being in more neighborhoods than gentrification.
Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a report called "Philadelphia's Changing Neighborhoods," which came chockfull with plenty of eye-opening statistics on the state of Philly's U.S. Census tracts. Specifically, it named the top 15 tracts in Philly that experienced gentrification since 2000. But it also revealed that nearly half of Philly neighborhoods experienced a decrease in median income.
To determine which neighborhoods experienced gentrification, Pew looked at the change in median income from 2000 to 2014 in 371 Census tracts. The median income for the tract also had to have a statistically significant increase of at least 10 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars over the study period. Finally, the median income in 2014 had to be above $37,460.
Based on that criteria, the researchers determined that the top-gentrifying neighborhoods in Philadelphia were mostly situated around Center City, with Graduate Hospital—named the hottest neighborhood of 2016—experiencing the most significant change. Tracts in Northern Liberties—recently named a top boom town in the U.S.— also experienced rapid gentrification.
While those numbers may seem shocking, these 15 areas only represent 4 percent of the tracts studied. Compare that to the 44 percent of Philly tracts that experienced in a decrease in median income.
In other words, gentrification isn't nearly as widespread as Philadelphia's poverty problem (based on Pew's income-based definition of gentrification). The city's population living in poverty grew by 60,000 people since 2000.
"This gentrification stuff is happening in very few places, affecting a small number of people," said Beth McConnell, policy director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, in the Pew report. "We have many more poor neighborhoods where there is no change; we need policies that will also benefit those neighborhoods."
- Philadelphia's Changing Neighborhoods [Pew]
- Data reveals huge life-expectancy gap among Philly zip codes [Curbed Philly]
- Report: Philly's poverty problem isn't going away [Curbed Philly]
- Philly's home values are at an all-time high [Curbed Philly]
- Northern Liberties is a top U.S. boom town [Curbed Philly]