Neighborhoods

Center City vs. the neighborhoods: New maps show Philly’s stark income divide

How wealth and poverty concentrations compare to the rest of the country.

phillyskyline-2
Danya Henninger
danya

The wide disparity in household income across different Philly neighborhoods has been well documented, but a new set of interactive maps from Esri show it in stark relief.

Using Census data, the mapping software company illustrated the disparity in median take-home for households across the city, and also showed how much worse pockets of inequality here are as compared to the national average.

Predominant income brackets

Center City’s recent boom has created a situation somewhat comparable to that of Manhattan: Residents who live in the middle of the city are much more likely to be affluent (in the $100k and over household income bracket; blue), while people on the outskirts are much more likely to be in poverty (under $25k; red).

This isn’t the case in all cities — Detroit’s center, for example, is still filled with low income households. In Los Angeles, wealth is spread across the outer neighborhoods.

Predominance: Into which income bracket most households fall

Predominance: Into which income bracket most households fall

Esri

Notable on Esri’s Philly map is the bleed of Center City’s affluence, which has trickled upward around the north edges into Fairmount and Northern Liberties.

The number of low income households in Philadelphia have earned it the moniker “the poorest big city in the U.S.,” and those are obvious on the map. Most neighborhoods closely surrounding the center (including North Philly, Juniata Park, Nicetown, Kingsessing, Mantua, Grays Ferry and Point Breeze) shine bright red.

Concentration of wealth or poverty

A second map that looks at how wealth and poverty concentrations compare to the rest of the country — where the proportion of “poor” or “rich” households exceeds the national average — makes apparent Philly’s so-called “middle neighborhoods.”

Concentrations: Where the proportion of wealth or poverty exceeds national rates

Concentrations: Where the proportion of wealth or poverty exceeds national rates

Esri

Places like West Oak Lane to the north, Port Richmond and Mayfair to the east, Mt. Airy and Germantown to the west and East Passyunk and Pennsport to the south are neither predominantly more rich or more poor than most of the U.S.

Diversity of household income

A different look at the data shows the divide of the least and most affluent parts of the city even more obviously. It maps income diversity directly — “the likelihood that households in a given area belong to different income brackets.”

In Fairmount, Rittenhouse and Wash West, there are very few low-income houses. In North Philly and Mantua, there are very few high-income households.

Income diversity: the likelihood households belong to different income brackets

Income diversity: the likelihood households belong to different income brackets

Esri

The current influx of higher-income residents into traditionally poorer neighborhoods like Point Breeze and Fishtown are obvious from this view of the data. These areas show up as having high income diversity — if you live there, chances are your neighbor makes an amount different than you do.

Whether that diversity can be maintained — or if people making less end up being pushed out of those neighborhoods completely — remains to be seen.

Explore the Esri maps of Philly, along with those for L.A., Detroit, Houston and NYC, here.