Pew Report: Philadelphia among the top income-segregated large cities

A Pew Research Center report released yesterday found that residential segregation by income has increased over the past three decades in all of the nation’s 30 largest metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia.

While, based on 2010 census information, only 13 percent of Philly upper-income households live in majority upper-income census tracts, 38 percent of lower-income households here live in majority lower-income census tracts.

That gives Philadelphia a Residential Income Segregation Score of 51, jumping from a score of 39 in 1980. Philadelphia is squarely in the middle of the list of Residential Income Segregation Scores of the top 10 metropolitan areas.

Houston clocks in at number one with a score of 61, which researchers theorize is due to a large population influx consisting of both low-skill, low-wage immigrants and high-wage, well-to-do retirees. The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area has seen a 96 percent population change since 1980.

Areas where population has not changed, like Boston, with an increase of 56 percent and Chicago, with an increase of 17 percent, have generally seen smaller rises in their Residential Income Segregation Scores.

But Philadelphia bucks this trend. In fact, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan area has only seen a 13 percent population change since 1980, the lowest of all the metropolitan areas where the top 10 most populated cities are located. But its Residential Income Score has jumped by 11 points, compared to five in Boston and six in Chicago.

Income segregation here is also high when compared to other Northeast cities, where the average Residential Income Segregation Score is 48, Philadelphia is the second most segregated city in the region, beat out only by New York.

For a full copy of the report complete with maps and graphics, click here.

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