“[T]he contrasts between the city’s neighborhoods [are] as dramatic as ever,” says new report
PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Pew Charitable Foundation’s annual “State of the City” released yesterday confirms the need for the inclusive, pro-growth agenda that is at the heart of the policy platform the PHL Neighborhood Growth Project (PHL-NGP) announced earlier this month. The PHL-NGP policy agenda is built around addressing the fact that while some communities in Philadelphia are thriving, too many too many neighborhoods feel left out of the progress greater Center City has seen. If the city is to continue its progress and maintain the gains that have been made, every neighborhood, every community, every family, every resident and every child, feel they have equal opportunity to share in Philadelphia’s prosperity.
In its new study, Pew found that while the city as a whole has seen marked improvement over the last few decades, “the city’s poverty rate has been stuck in the 26 percent range for the past five years, a time when the rate has dropped in many other cities … a fact that affects numerous aspects of city life.” Moreover, while the overall number of jobs has grown, “the city’s median household income and labor force participation rates continued to lag far behind those of the comparison cities and the country as a whole.”
These troubling statistics, and the limitations they place in the city as a whole and on individuals in neighborhoods across the city, are the reason why the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and its partners in this project — including the African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – are advocating for a new, inclusive and pro-growth agenda in City Hall.
The PHL-NGP builds on the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s “Roadmap for Growth” initiative and is focused on four key areas: good jobs and inclusive economic growth, improving our schools and modernizing our workforce, creating safer and healthier neighborhoods, and reforming City Hall to put people first. It is centered on a belief that an individual’s best path out of poverty is a good job, the path to wealth creation is through entrepreneurship, and the only way to make the needed investments in our people is through a sustainable, inclusive and growing tax base.
The new Pew report reveals the needed focus on neighborhood growth cannot come soon enough.