People on the Internet love to click the lists. And it looked like Philadelphia reached Peak List earlier this month when the Huffington Post ranked the 16 cities most likely to end up on lists. Philly came in at 13th, prized for its food, skyline, singles and hotels. Knowing how often we come up on these things, we thought we’d wrangle the most notable among them into one place.

So Billy Penn went through 16 categories often seen on rankings of cities and compared Philadelphia to the other nine biggest cities in the United States, plus our neighbors Baltimore and Washington, D.C. All of the data and information is from 2013 at the latest, and most is from 2014 or 2015.

The verdict? Philadelphia has a large share of young people living downtown, and it’s great for biking. But the city is still way too impoverished compared to its peers. Also, Philly has a lot of single people, but young women looking for a man with a job? Good luck with that!


Population (Philly rank: 5)

Philadelphia is the fifth largest city in the United States. Washington DC and Baltimore are not the 11th and 12th largest cities but were included because of their shared proximity and similarities with Philadelphia.

Young city dwellers (Philly rank: 3)

Just about every big city in America is undergoing a resurgence of sort, with college-educated millennials flocking. But certain cities are attracting these millennials not just to their city but to their downtown area. Philadelphia is one of them. City dwellers are defined by City Observatory as people who live within three miles of a city’s central business district. This ranking features the percentage of the overall population that are college-educated people age 25-to-34 who live within three miles of the city’s business district.     

Diversity (Philly rank: 7)

Pricenomics used the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (read more about it here if you want a full explanation) but it basically calculates diversity the same way economists would count market share. The smaller the number, the less homogeneity in the population or most diversity. Philadelphia has middling diversity compared to its peers.

  1. New York, .26
  2. Chicago, .29
  3. San Jose, .3
  4. San Diego, .31
  5. Houston, .31
  6. Dallas, .32
  7. Philadelphia, .33
  8. Los Angeles, .34
  9. Washington DC, .37
  10. Phoenix, .38
  11. San Antonio, .47
  12. Baltimore, .47

LGBT population (Philly rank: 6)

Philadelphia was a pioneering city for LGBT rights, but its percentage of population that is LGBT is average for a big city. Good data is only available for metropolitan areas rather than the cities alone, so it’s possible Philly alone could have a higher percentage of LGBT population.

College-educated population (Philly rank: 12)

More and more college-educated young people are moving to Center City — as you can see by urban dweller ranking above — but in the population as a whole it is still a rarity to have a college degree.

Unemployment Rate (Philly rank: 9)

Not good here, but it could be a lot worse. Philadelphia’s unemployment rate continues to drop. Last year in February, the rate was 7 percent. This data is also for metropolitan areas rather than the cities alone.

Poverty (Philly rank: 1)

The poverty line in the United States is just under $25,000 for a family of four. Compared to its peers, Philadelphia has a much bigger problem with poverty.


Singles (Philly rank: 3)

Facebook dove into its pool of data last year and released the cities that have the most single people. Unfortunately, it did not include numbers. The Martin Institute did a similar study, giving numbers but only for a few cities. Basically, the percentage of the population that is single for these cities is 47% on the low end (San Jose) and 56 percent on the high end (LA). Philadelphia’s single population comes out to about 55 percent.

  1. Los Angeles
  2. New York
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Washington D.C.
  5. Baltimore
  6. Chicago
  7. Dallas
  8. Houston
  9. San Diego
  10. San Antonio
  11. Phoenix
  12. San Jose

Male to female ratio ages 25-to-34 (Philly rank: 3)

No matter which of these cities you live in, straight women have the advantage when it comes to abundance of men. There are a lot more dudes in big cities, according to this data from Pew. Philadelphia is actually pretty even though, with 108 men for every 100 women.

  1. Baltimore 103 to 100
  2. Washington D.C. 107 to 100
  3. Philadelphia 108 to 100 and Chicago 108 to 100
  4. New York City 109 to 100 and Dallas 109 to 100
  5. Houston 111 to 100
  6. San Antonio 114 to 100
  7. Phoenix 118 to 100
  8. Los Angeles 119 to 100
  9. San Diego 129 to 100
  10. San Jose 141 to 100

Decent dudes (Philly rank: 12)

Straight Philadelphia women should not get overly excited, though. According to Pew, 78 percent of unmarried women are looking to get married someday — as opposed to 46 percent of men — and they’re going to have a hard time finding an employed dude in Philly. While cities like San Jose, San Diego and Washington DC have a good amount of employed men for every 100 women, that’s not the case in Philadelphia. We’re dead last. There are only 74 employed men for 100 women out there.

  1. San Jose 114
  2. San Diego 99
  3. Washington DC 92
  4. Los Angeles 91
  5. Houston 86
  6. Dallas 85
  7. San Antonio 83
  8. Chicago 82
  9. New York 82
  10. Phoenix 81
  11. Baltimore 79
  12. Philadelphia 74

Atmosphere for letting love blossom (Philly rank: 8)

In addition to number of singles, Facebook kept track of how many people in cities went from single to in a relationship. So basically the data shows which cities are good at letting love grow. And in Philadelphia, compared to many of the other big cities, we’re not ready to settle down.

  1. San Antonio
  2. Phoenix
  3. Houston
  4. Dallas
  5. Chicago
  6. Baltimore
  7. San Diego
  8. Philadelphia
  9. San Jose
  10. Los Angeles
  11. New York
  12. Washington DC


Restaurants (Philly rank: 11)

This category and the next one won’t be the most scientific because Yelp. Either way, according to Yelp, which of the big cities have the most restaurants adjusted for population? That would be Washington DC by far. Philadelphia is clearly gaining a reputation as a foodie city, but for restaurants overall the city is below average.

Night clubs (Philly rank: 9)

Good Lord, Washington, D.C. Do federal government employees just eat and party all day? Philadelphia, again, checks in at below average for number night clubs adjusted for population. 

Worst daily commute by car (Philly rank: 8)

Philadelphia’s commute certainly isn’t pleasant, but just be glad we’re not living in LA, New York or San Jose.

Bicycle commuters (Philly rank: 2)

Outside of Washington DC, Philadelphia is the top city for bike commuters. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Philadelphia ranks No. 4 in the United States for bike lanes. 

Most likely to sleep in (Philly rank: 7)

The average time for arriving at work in the United State is 7:55 a.m. Philadelphia is just behind that average at 8:05 and also average for the big cities, according to data from FiveThirtyEight. So we like to sleep in a little bit.

  1. Houston 7:45 and Phoenix 7:45
  2. San Antonio 7:47
  3. San Diego 7:51
  4. Dallas 7:55
  5. Baltimore 8:00
  6. Chicago 8:02
  7. Los Angeles 8:05 and Philadelphia 8:05
  8. Washington DC 8:07
  9. San Jose 8:21
  10. New York 8:24

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...