Philadelphia Research Initiative

The Philadelphia research initiative provides timely, impartial research and analysis that help Philadelphia’s citizens and leaders understand and address key issues facing the city.


Philadelphia: The State of the City, A 2014 Update

Of all the numbers that tell the story of Philadelphia today, one stands out as an unambiguous expression of confidence in the city’s future. 

Philadelphia's Changing Middle Class: After Decades of Decline, Prospects for Growth

The size of Philadelphia’s middle class has essentially stabilized in the past decade after a period of prolonged decline, according to an analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts of current and past data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Millennials in Philadelphia: A Promising but Fragile Boom

The growth of Philadelphia’s young-adult population in recent years has been hailed as one of the more positive developments in the city’s recent history and a possible key to its future.

Most Philadelphians Have Internet Access

Polling finds that 82 percent of city residents have access to the Internet through either a computer at home or a cell phone or other mobile device. Read “Ten Facts about Internet Access in Philadelphia” to learn more.

 Philadelphians Wary of City’s New Property Tax System

A new poll finds that many Philadelphians are not aware of the city’s new property tax system, and those who are aware are skeptical about the structure.

Philadelphians’ Attitudes Toward Their City Take a Downward Turn

A new poll finds that Philadelphians are concerned about the city’s prospects, and take a dim view of its political leadership. On the whole, residents gave the city lower ratings in this poll than at any time during the five years that Pew has been polling locally.

Philadelphians Give Lowest Rating in Five Years to City’s Public Schools

A new poll from The Pew Charitable Trusts finds that Philadelphians have a very low opinion of their city’s financially distressed public school district and that most residents think the system’s problems will drive families to seek other educational options or leave the city.

Delinquent Property Tax in Philadelphia: Stark Challenges and Realistic Goals

As Philadelphia embarks on a new system to assess and tax real estate, the city’s longstanding problem with property tax delinquency has taken on new urgency. Property owners whose taxes are projected to go up substantially are questioning why they should pay more when others pay nothing. The goal of this recent study was to understand Philadelphia’s real estate tax delinquency and compare its practices to those of other cities.

Philadelphia 2013: The State of the City Report and Quiz

This annual study presents a multi-dimensional, fact-based portrait of America’s fifth-largest city through 81 graphics and interactive charts. It compares Philadelphia to a group of nine other major cities on household income, crime, educational attainment, public transit use, cost of living, poverty, and more. It also provides a neighborhood-by-neighborhood look at income, poverty, home sales, crime and ethnic diversity in Philadelphia. Take the interactive quiz using data from the report.

AVI: The Shift in the Tax Burden 

As proposed, the Actual Value Initiative (AVI), Philadelphia’s sweeping property tax overhaul, is revenue neutral. The plan is to raise the same amount of revenue through real estate taxes, $1.2 billion, in 2014 as in 2013. This report estimates the potential impact of the Actual Value Initiative on the allocation of the city’s tax burden by categories of property.

Event Summary- Philadelphia Taxes: Past, Present, Future

Pew and the Center on Regional Politics co-hosted the symposium, "Philadelphia Taxes: Past, Present, Future," bringing together tax-policy experts, business and community leaders, government officials, and a group of bi-partisan city and state elected officials to discuss Philadelphia's local taxes.



  • Reports and Briefs

    In-depth reports and briefs provide impartial information and analysis of complex and important issues, often comparing Philadelphia to other cities and illuminating front-and-center issues.
  • Polling

    Polls track the attitudes of Philadelphians on some of the key issues facing the city and their assessment of the city as a place to live.
  • Data and Interactives

    Interactive charts, maps, comparison data, as well as videos and quizzes, illuminate our research into the key issues facing Philadelphia and other cities.

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For general questions or comments, contact program manager:

Thomas Ginsberg