Middle neighborhoods are neither the poorest nor the wealthiest neighborhoods in a city, typically experiencing neither precipitous decline nor rapid appreciation. In many cities, they account for a significant share of residents and are reasonably affordable to middle income households. Yet middle neighborhoods are often overlooked by officials and service providers who are busy grappling with areas of concentrated poverty, demands for downtown improvements, and gentrification debates in rapidly developing neighborhoods.
This research brief examines conditions and trends in Philadelphia’s middle neighborhoods differentiated by their racial, ethnic, and national origin makeup. A deeper understanding of the dynamics at play in different types of middle neighborhoods can help guide policy and investment approaches to shore up the inherent strength in these areas, and also head off decline that could potentially diminish not only residents’ financial health and neighborhood quality of life, but also Philadelphia’s overall wellbeing.