Neighborhood health and poverty in Philadelphia

Report by Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public Health
May 24, 2017

Urban Health Collaborative   (Philadelphia)

This brief describes the evolution and spatial distribution of poverty in Philadelphia and illustrates the relation between neighborhood poverty levels and selected health measures. The brief concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for actions to improve population health in the city.

Key Findings

  • Philadelphia is among the poorest large cities in the United States.
  • Philadelphia is home to large social inequalities that manifest themselves across neighborhoods.
  • As in other cities, in Philadelphia, persons living in higher poverty neighborhoods tend to have worse health than those living in lower poverty neighborhoods.
  • Neighborhood poverty is strongly associated with risk factors for multiple diseases: persons living in higher poverty neighborhoods tend to smoke more, have worse diets, and be more obese.
  • Poorer Philadelphia neighborhoods tend to have unhealthier physical and social environments than more affluent Philadelphia neighborhoods.