Philadelphia City Review


About This Report

Oct 2017

One of the best places to visit in the US, for its heritage, Philadelphia is also the millennials' preferred place to live because of affordable housing. The city is the seventh largest metropolitan area in the US boasting a great environment for medical start-ups, top universities and a developed legal services sector. It enjoys, however, lower wealth rates than Washington, Boston and New York, all located in one of the world's most developed urban corridors (in the northeast of the US).

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Philadelphia City Review


Philadelphia enjoyed a 15% labour productivity advantage over the rest of the US in 2016. The city benefits from its location close to Washington, Boston and New York (boasting 10%, 12% and 19% higher productivities compared to Philadelphia, respectively).

Labour productivity advantage and higher labour participation rate boost households’ disposable incomes

The labour productivity advantage was the main reason for Philadelphian households gaining, on average, 20% greater disposable incomes than their counterparts elsewhere in the country in 2016. A higher labour participation rate (76% of the 15-64-year-old population, versus 74% in the rest of the US) also contributed to this effect in 2016.

Philadelphia compares poorly with average household spending in other northeastern neighbours

Consumer expenditure per household (excluding housing and transport) in the city was 18% higher than in the rest of the country in 2016. Philadelphia compares poorly with average household spending in other northeastern neighbours, Boston (which boasted 11% higher expenditure in 2016), New York (+9.4%) or Washington (+3.9%), mainly due to its inferior household incomes.

combined housing and transport expenses are fairly affordable

Consumer expenditure on transport and housing per household in the city was only 5.6% above the figure in other parts of the US in 2016, making the city relatively affordable compared to other metropolises. Lower per household housing expenditure (1% lower than elsewhere in the US in 2016) is the primary reason for this. Meanwhile, higher car possession rates resulted in 19% higher transport expenditures in 2016, compared to other parts of the US.


Understanding Philadelphia Review structure
Chart 1 Overview
Key facts on Philadelphia
Summary 1 Key Facts On Philadelphia 2011, 2016, 2021


Delimitation of the metropolitan region
Chart 2 Map Of Philadelphia Metropolitan Area
Main business districts


Industrial make-up
Chart 3 Industrial Composition Of Philadelphia 2016
Chart 4 Labour Productivity: Selected Cities 2016
Recent developments and outlook
Chart 5 Dynamics Of Real GDP In Philadelphia, USA And Other Cities In North America, 2011-2021
Summary 2 Labour Market Changes In Philadelphia 2011, 2016


City demographics
Chart 6 Population By Age 2016
Chart 7 Drivers Of Population Growth In Philadelphia 2011-2016
Household income
Chart 8 Household Distribution By Income In Philadelphia 2016 And 2021


Structure of household budget
Chart 9 Comparison Of Household Expenditure In Philadelphia And USA, 2016
Summary 3 Philadelphia Household Budget Structure By Consumer Expenditure Item, % of total, 2011, 2016, 2021
City lifestyle
Domestic Tourism Prevails In Philadelphia
High Use Of Bicycles For Commuting
City affordability
Chart 10 Household Expenditure On Housing: Selected Cities 2016
Chart 11 Household Expenditure On Transport: Selected Cities 2016



Summary 4 GDP Development, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 5 GDP By Origin, Current Prices, US$, Million, 2011-2016
Summary 6 Population And Labour Force, 2011-2016
Summary 7 Employed Population By Economic Sector, % of total, 2011-2016
Summary 8 Population By Sex And Broad Age Groups, ‘000, 2011-2016
Summary 9 Population Growth, 2011-2016
Summary 10 Forecast Population Growth
Summary 11 Population By Educational Attainment, 2011-2016
Summary 12 Structure Of Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, 2011-2016
Summary 13 Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, Per Household, Constant (2016) Prices, US$, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 14 Households By Income Band, % Of Total, Constant (2016) Prices 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 15 Households By Income Band, ‘000, Current Prices 2011-2016
Summary 16 Inflation, 2011-2016
Summary 17 Transport Indicators, 2011-2016
Summary 18 Air Pollution, Concentration In Micrograms Per Cubic Metre, 2011-2016
Summary 19 Possession of Consumer Durables, % of Households, 2011, 2016, 2021