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April 25, 2015

Report shows Philly's well-being statistics

The third annual Measure of America report from the Social Science Research Council was released Thursday. The report measures  several factors concerning three categories of well being: education, health, and earnings. 

The data compiled in the report is broken down by counties, allowing you to look at the statistics for each.

Using the data, here's a glance at some of the main statistics concerning Philadelphia county and the surrounding suburbs:

 Median EarningsLife Expectancy (years)  School Enrollment (ages 3-24)
Philadelphia $27,392 74.7 75.2% 
 Bucks$38,708 79.8 81.8% 
Montgomery  $40,88580.1 82.7% 
Chester $41,186  80.3 83%
 Delaware$34,217 78 81.6% 

You'll notice that Philadelphia County ranks far below the surrounding suburbs in several of these indicators. That contrast holds true when some of the other statistics are looked at, such as percentage of those below the poverty threshold, without health insurance, and suffering from diabetes.

 Poverty Uninsured  Diabetes
 Philadelphia25.1  16.511.2 
 Bucks4.9 8.8 9.1 
 Montgomery5.6  8.1 8.2
 Chester6.2  9.5 8.1
 Delaware 9.4 10.9 9.8

Philadelphia's poor scores on several of the health indicators could partly be explained by a key finding of the report, which stated that African Americans score very poorly in many of those statistics such as life expectancy and diabetes. Philadelphia County has a much larger African American population than any of the surrounding suburbs.

The overall Human Development Index, which weighs all of these factors to produce a score between 0 and 10, is not available for counties. However it is for congressional districts. Yet using districts can be hard for finding information about concentrated communities, mainly because of gerrymandering. For example, take a look at Pennsylvania's 7th District on the report's map (highlighted in pink), which contains sections of Montgomery, Chester, Berks, and Lancaster counties. 

Pa. 7 District
Districts 1, 2 and 13, which encompass most of Philadelphia, are far less wonky in terms of their shape. Here's their Human Development Index scores compared to the national average, as well as their scores in the health, education, and income indexes. Those scores are also measured on a scale from 0 to 10, and factor in all of the statistics used to measure each category.

 HDI  HealthEducationIncome
U.S. Average  5.03 5.36 4.97 4.77
1st  4.274.17 4.05 4.60 
 2nd 4.654.01  5.294.66 
 13th 5.24 4.97 5.35 5.39

For reference, here's where those districts are using the maps from the Measure of America report, where the more darkly shaded districts scored higher on their overall Human Development Index scores:


For more on the study's findings and methodology, click here. To access the study's maps and statistics, click here.