What Do You Hate About Philadelphia?

By Nina Sachdev
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 14 | Posted Mar. 29, 2010

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The Philadelphia Research Initiative has released an update to its "Philadelphia 2009: The State of the City" report. Though the Pew-associated organization plans a full-fledged sequel to the report next year, it has published some statistics worth sharing right now:

Crime: Down 10% from last year. We always like to see that. Maybe has something to do with the the Philly Gun Task Force Program. (Which, we should add, is getting its funding cut from $5M to $3M in the 2010-2011 state budget...just sayin').

Jobs: The number, 651,000, is an all-time low for the city. Repeat: Lowest number EVER. Ouch. Even the number of people who work in city government is down (22,488)! In 2000, the number was 24,676. But at least the city is trimming alongside our businesses. It's only fair.

Only one sector in the city's job market has grown since 2000: Education and Health Services.

Education: So, if there are more teachers and other education-related staffers, why haven't students' performance stats changed all that much? The report finds that standardized test scores continue to rise, but only half of the students tested score well in reading and math. We think half is too low. Way too low.

Population: This statistic is rather interesting. First, the U.S. Census reports for several years that Philly is shrinking. Then, all of a sudden, the bureau "recently determined," as the report says, that the city has been growing for much of the past decade. It revised its 2008 estimate from 1,447,395 to 1,540,351, and projected a higher number for 2009.

Umm..oops? How exactly does the U.S. Census Bureau under-report population estimates for that many years? The PRI report says only after an appeal from City Hall did the bureau realize the error of its ways. Hmm.

What Philadelphians Hate the Most About Philadelphia: Apparently, the report finds, that we citizens hate dirty streets and trash more than we hate our corrupt city officials, our high taxes, our poor educational system and our jobless rate. If that's the case, then we better see all of your asses at the Philly Spring Cleanup on April 10.

The only thing we hate more than our dirty streets (which is unacceptable in a city as old as Philly!) is our crime, the report says.

But these statistics shouldn't be that surprising. A recent article in the American Journalism Review reported that only four journalists are assigned to cover City Hall, day in and day out. So, other than crime, dirty streets are the only thing we citizens can really see. Much of what happens at the Hall is either under-reported or not reported at all.

At the same time, the report finds that the majority of Philadelphians "believe the city is headed in the right direction and have noticed no significant deterioration in city services." Again, not surprising. It's hard to be disapproving of something you know so little about.

Final thoughts:

The report tries to put a positive spin on these statistics: "In the face of all these developments...the mood of residents seems determinedly upbeat."

Is that so?

Because, well, we feel that Philadelphians should be mad as hell – about a lot of things. Did you know that we have one of the highest poverty rates in the nation (behind Detroit and Cleveland, respectively)? Did you know that our educational-attainment level is well below the national average? And did you know that our combined state and local tax burdens are some of the highest of any major city?

The report outlines all of these stats. They must not have been relayed during the poll.

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Comments 1 - 14 of 14
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1. BitchAssJosh said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 12:12PM

“I hate that there is no Wawa anywhere NEAR south Philly! Let's get one built, say 22nd and Oregon?

Beyond that, the trash people get paid far too much money for the amount of trash that they leave on the street. If they even picked up half of the trash that they drop while loading their truck the city would be sparkling! It is a disgrace to watch them drop trash on the ground and NOT pick it up.”

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2. ihsanamin said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 12:16PM

“I live in Southeast DelCo, outside of the city, but I agree that the city is way too dirty, and there doesn't seem to be ANY kind of initiative in place to prompt residents to get their brooms out and clean up the streets.

Why is that?”

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3. DickyDunn said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 12:22PM

“Upbeat? Upbeat?

You have got to be fisting me, PRI. You'll find more miserable bastards per block in Philadelphia than any other city on the eastern seaboard.

The crime, poverty and filth all go hand-in-hand. They're all connected - I just can't decide if the poverty causes crime. You show me a criminal who keeps their home in order.

Additionally, this whole fucking city needs either a good once-over with a pushbroom or bulldozer and a fresh coat of paint. Think of how good it feels to come home to a clean house.

Maybe if we can sweep most of the pipe, glassine baggies and used rubbers off the streets we can start having some civic pride. We rely too much on paid athletes to feel good about ourselves.

Oh, and employment would be nice too.

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4. Ishmael said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 12:26PM

“The corrupt combo of Democratic politicians and union thugs have dominated the city of Philadelphia since the 1950s and have sunk this once-proud and productive city into the abyss...and will continue to so as long as lazy, dependent, greedy Philadelphians continue to put their trust in these problem-makers and buy into their promises of something for nothing. This blind trust has resulted in Philadelphia's once-productive population of 2.5 million honest working men & women dwindling down to a dismal 1.4 million comprised of deadbeats, drug addicts & dependents. This bustling center of commerce -- once home of banks, railroads, advertising, publishing, textiles, chemicals, toolmaking, manufacturing -- has decayed into vast acreage of dilapidated factories, plants and homes; empty offices and abandoned storefronts; and only two viable industries: healthcare and biopharma (do we really need more drugs?). When will residents learn? This recipe ain't working, folks.”

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5. Mormolyke said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 12:27PM

“I would vote for any politician who could install safe public toilets and clean our subway stations so I'm not nearly passing out from the stench of piss everywhere I go.”

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6. Bob said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 01:38PM

“how about the damn traffic !! get on broad street to have a first hand view of how chaotic traffic is even the highways (the dreaded I 76) is pathetic”

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7. Philly said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 01:43PM

“Pew! Pew! Pew!”

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8. shotime369 said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 09:51PM

“There are a few Philadelphians I'm not too crazy about, but what's there to hate. It's a beautiful city. It certainly has it's problems like every city, but I was always proud of Philly and those who came from there.”

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9. OmeriaIdria said... on Mar 30, 2010 at 04:29AM

“Need a job? With new Obama Health Care Plan, we are going to insure additional 33 Million people. There is going to be huge demand for Medical Assistants, Medical Billing, Medical Coding, Pharmacy Assistant & Pharmacy Technician across the nation. We can help you get a training during weekends and evenings and get a degree in few months. With the degree finding a job will be easy, contact for more information at http://ow.ly/1sk3M this is your chance

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10. Anonymous said... on Mar 30, 2010 at 11:47AM

“People who don't say corruption is the biggest problem apparently don't have many dealings with local government. Every problem - crime stats, education, taxes, even jobs to a large extent - gets aggravated by all that municipal corruption.”

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11. Vince said... on Apr 12, 2010 at 12:24AM

“Where to start!! Parking rates, extra sales tax, welfare bunnies sucking the city dry, crime, dirt, Street, Nutter...Philly was once a great city and is nothing more than than a giant ghetto now. I may go into the city once a year. Shopping...why go to Philly and pay another percent in tax, pay $8 per hour or more for parking, fight traffic, worry about being mugged when I can go to the clean suburbs and pay no extra tax with free parking, no crime and in clean surroundings!! Oh, and lets not forget about the stanglehold the unions have on places like the Kimmel Center. Want your own DJ at your Wedding? You have to pay a union thug Electrical "engineer" to sit there with your DJ. No joke.

The Bruthers and Sistas may be running the city, but they can keep it and blame themselves for living in their own filth.”

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12. Harris Egendorf said... on Apr 21, 2010 at 04:36PM

“Without Video stores how does Hollywood make it's money? It steals it! http://bit.ly/cs8NZc I am the victim of a media crime for 28 years and philadelphia won't let me get a lawyer. Hit the link and read the photos enlarged.”

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13. Jackmi Hoff said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:31AM

“"We rely too much on paid athletes to feel good about ourselves."

DickyDunn, I couldn't have said it any better.

This city's falling apart and all anybody cares about is what the Eagles & Phillies are doing. Nothing wrong with being a sports fan, but i'm more concerned with the local economy and a decrease in crime than with a local team getting "the pieces they need for a championship" or some millionaire athlete getting paid $80 million instead of the $50 million they're already getting .”

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14. Potential said... on Jan 29, 2012 at 10:11PM

“Let's just said that the city has potential. There is a vibrant arts community here, there is history, there are parks, museums, rivers, Etc. There is that, but what is holding the city back is resentment. There is a lot of social resentment that needs to go away in order to love this city. If Philadelphia citizens love their city, their city will love them.”


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