WHY WE CREATED A RESIDENT ATTRACTION PROGRAM FOR PHILLY
At the start of the 1970s, most of the city’s census tracts were largely middle class; by 2010, just over 3 in 10 fit that description resulting in wide-ranging effects on the city's socioeconomic structure, and a demographic imbalance that continues today notably, the city having the highest poverty rate among major U.S. cities, and a middle-class that is always susceptible to decline. Although our population appears to be growing, and initiatives to improve social and economic mobility for residents are launched, additional strategies are required as peer cities continue to attract people with greater pace, diversity, and higher educational attainment and income levels.
Some cities benefit from a steady influx of talent and people as their city's brand, job concentrations or the makeup of their population and lifestyle assets make them attractive choices for relocation. Philadelphia is less fortunate, and as people consider leaving high-cost areas, Philadelphia's reasonable cost of living compared to cities like NYC, Boston, and DC should elevate the city's standing as a desirable place to work and live on the east coast. However, the city struggles to attract people in general, and particularly diverse middle-income people, owing to a lack of significant brand awareness among diverse populations outside of the region.
A city's demographics can have a significant impact on how a city is perceived. Our diverse communities contribute greatly but they have been historically smaller, poorer and less ethnically diverse compared to peer cities (see chart for example) resulting in our city often being overlooked especially by diverse middle-income professionals and families looking to relocate.
Attraction programs have served the city well when the city's brand was not well understood or lacked a connection with certain groups; consider Visit Philadelphia for its targeted tourism initiatives, and Campus Philly whose efforts connect college students to the assets and benefits of living and working in the city upon graduation. Now, the Live Work Philadelphia attraction program is focused on the growth of the city’s middle population to help to address the city's demographic imbalance, which limits our economic growth and community well-being.
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