Philadelphia: The State of the City – Explanations and Sources

Source Organization: Philadelphia Research Initiative

03/31/2012 - Return to the Report

U.S. Census Bureau, population counts, 1950–2010.

Household Income
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2009, one-year estimate.

Philadelphia Poll
PRI public opinion survey, conducted between January 4 and January 19, 2012 by Abt SRBI Inc., among a random sample of 1,600 Philadelphia residents, age 18 and older. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Total Employment
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment, Hours and Earnings—State and Metro Area,” Available at numbers represent non-farm employment and are not seasonally adjusted.

Jobs by Sector
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment Rate Comparison
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Population not in the Labor Force
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2009, one-year estimate. As defined by economists, the labor force consists of those who are employed or are actively seeking employment. Those not in the labor force are either unable to work or not looking for a job.

Home Sales
Data supplied to PRI by Kevin Gillen, Econsult Corp.

Housing Price Change
Data supplied to PRI by Kevin Gillen, Econsult Corp.

Crime Rate Map
Philadelphia Police Department, Office of Research.

Major Crime Comparison
Pennsylvania State Police, Uniform Crime Reports, 2001–2009, available at; Philadelphia Police Department, Office of Research, 2010. As defined by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting standards, “major crimes” are homicide, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. “Violent crimes” are defined as homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery. The violent crime total is the lowest since 1989.

Homicides Since 1990
Pennsylvania State Police, Uniform Crime Reports,1990–2009; Philadelphia Police Department, Office of Research,

Prison Population
Philadelphia Prison System. The drop in the jail population was due to a number of factors, including streamlined court procedures, changes in the district attorney’s handling of cases, and a state law passed in 2008 that allows more sentenced inmates to be sent to state prisons.

Enrollment by School Type
Public school enrollment from A Snapshot of the District at Charter school enrollment from School District of Philadelphia. Catholic school enrollment from Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The enrollment numbers for charter schools include seven “renaissance schools,” traditional public schools reconstituted as charters. As recently as 2007, there were more students in Catholic schools than in charters. Today, Catholic school enrollment is less than half of the charters’ total.  The charter figures shown include cyber charters.

PSSA Scores
Pennsylvania Department of Education, available at Catholic school results from Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In recent years, students at Philadelphia's charter schools have, on average, scored slightly higher on the PSSA than students in district-run schools. Students at Catholic schools take a different test, the Terra Nova achievement test. In every grade tested, half or more of Philadelphia Catholic-school students exceeded the national average score.

Educational Attainment
Analysis and mapping of 2005–2009 census data from the American Community Survey conducted for PRI by the Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project (MPIP). Within the city, the educational attainment level reflects with economics and demographics. For instance, 33 percent of whites over the age of 25 have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 12 percent of African Americans.

General Fund Employees
City of Philadelphia, Office of Finance, Quarterly City Managers Reports. The general fund employment number is down about 10 percent from 2001 and down about 5 percent from the end of fiscal 2008, which was former mayor John Street’s last budget year and six months into Mayor Nutter’s administration.

City Spending
City of Philadelphia, Office of Finance, general fund budgets for fiscal 2003 and 2013 (proposed). All state and federal reimbursements for social services were removed from both budgets to make them comparable. Such revenues and spending are now listed in a separate fund.

Mass Transit
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Office of Public Information. Numbers are for unlinked rides; a trip from starting point to destination may involve more than one ride.

People Using Mass Transit
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2009, one-year estimate.

Attendance at Arts and Culture Orgs.
Data provided by the Cultural Data Project (CDP), a collaborative project of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, created to strengthen arts and culture by documenting and disseminating information on the arts and culture sector. Any interpretation of the data is the work of PRI and does not reflect the views of the Cultural Data Project. In the graphic, categorization of individual organizations is based on self-description. For a list of the 278 Philadelphia-based organizations included in the calculations presented here, see

Arts and Culture Events
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Research into Action: Pathways to New Opportunities, 2009, p. 19. Available at

Arts and Culture Financial Health
CDP data. One organization, newly established in 2009, was deliberately omitted from the calculations. Working capital is defined as current unrestricted assets minus current liabilities. It is a measure of liquidity, the ability to pay bills as they come due.

Tracking the Poor and the Near-Poor
Poverty numbers from U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2004–2009. Food stamp eligibility numbers from Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, available at

Poverty Comparison by City
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2011.

Infant Mortality Rate
Philadelphia data from Pennsylvania Department of Health, Birth and Death Statistics, 1990-2008, available at Data on other communities from local health
departments. U.S. figure is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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