But, keep in mind the story about the statistician who drowned in a river that had an average depth of three feet.
Among the city's racial and ethnic groups the story changes again, with whites doing best in terms of income, followed by Asians and blacks. Latinos are doing the worst.
Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the population in the city, up 40 percent in this decade, due mostly to high birth rates and also some immigration from Mexico and Latin America.
Fact Two. The level of education is closely tied to the level of income. Mayor Nutter has made lowering the drop out rate a priority and it is easy to see why. People without high school diplomas are consigned to the margins of the economy. There is recent data that confirms this. According to an analysis of 2009 labor statistics by the Center City District, unemployment among workers with high school degrees (14.8%) was more than two times higher than workers with college degrees (5.9%). Average yearly income among those with college degrees ($53,000) was double what it was for those who never graduated high school ($26,000.) Today, in Philadelphia, 21% of adults lack even high school degrees. Another 36% have high school diplomas, but no college experience.
Fact Three. The poor are getting poorer. Overall, the number of poor people in the city increased only slightly in this decade, rising from 23% of the population to 24%. But, poverty deepened within individual neighborhoods. The city's five poorest neighborhoods - Fairhill, North Philadelphia East and West, Kensington and
Fact Four. Change is a constant. Ten years is not a long time in the life of a city, but change has come to a number of neighborhoods, both positive and negative.
To take one measure, these neighborhoods have seen a significant decline in their poverty levels: Bella Vista, Fairmount/Spring Garden, Northern Liberties/Fishtown, Powelton Village/West Powelton, Queen Village/Pennsport, Center City/East,
Most of these neighborhoods are within the expanding orbit of
On the other hand, these neighborhoods have seen a major increase in poverty levels: Oxford Circle/Castor, Tacony/Wissinoming, Olney, Frankford,
Most of these neighborhoods are in the lower Northeast, which has undergone rapid population change in this decade - change that is likely to continue.
So, it should come as no surprise that the
Finally, we will offer several pieces on neighborhoods that are at risk of decline, if not now then in the near future.
We have our blinders on when it comes to change. We view it through the prism of our memories, our prejudices and our personal histories. But a dymanic city is one that periodically remakes itself, even reimagines itself.
And Philadelphia is in the midst of being remad and reimagined. there's no denying that the process is a painful one -- as these stories will show. But we need to examine these changes dispassionately.
We need to understand the present of this city in order to understand how we can shape its future.