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After decades of decline, Philadelphia’s middle class is beginning to stabilize.

A new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts shows that Philadelphia’s middle class made up 42 percent of the overall adult population in 2010, essentially unchanged from 43 percent in 2000. In 1970, the middle class represented 59 percent of the city, but Philadelphia had 400,000 more residents then.

The Pew report defines “middle class” as households with incomes between 67 and 200 percent of the regional median household income. In 2010, that income range was $41,258 to $123,157.

Key findings from the report include that Philadelphia’s middle class is more diverse than in the past, prefers fewer city services and lower taxes rather than more services and higher taxes, and is more supportive than other income groups of publicly funded charter schools.

The most telling statistics come from comparing Philadelphia to other major cities. The Pew report notes that Philadelphia’s middle class is about the same size in terms of the share of overall city population as Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. But when looking at other Census data related to income, Philadelphia falls short. Here’s how Philadelphia stacks up against the other cities.

The city’s average worker income is below that of all the cities listed above except for Los Angeles

  • Median earnings for workers in Baltimore: $30,279
  • Median earnings for workers in Boston: $32,769
  • Median earnings for workers in Chicago: $31,052
  • Median earnings for workers in Los Angeles: $26,446
  •  Median earnings for workers in New York: $34,203
  •  Median earnings for workers in Philadelphia: $28,80

Philadelphia had the largest percentage of people whose income in the past 12 months was below the poverty level

  • In Baltimore, percentage of people whose income in the past 12 months was below the poverty level: 23.4 percent
  • In Boston, percentage of people whose income in the past 12 months was below the poverty level: 21.2 percent
  • In Chicago, percentage of people whose income in the past 12 months was below the poverty level: 22.1 percent
  • In Los Angeles, percentage of people whose income in the past 12 months was below the poverty level: 21.2 percent
  • In New York, percentage of people whose income in the past 12 months was below the poverty level: 19.9 percent
  • In Philadelphia, percentage of people whose income in the past 12 months was below the poverty level: 26.2 percent

Philadelphia ranks below all of the other cities when it comes to average household and average family income. Households consist of all people living in one housing unit regardless of relationship. Families consist of two or more people related by birth, marriage or adoption that are living in one housing unit.

  •  In Baltimore, median household income: $40,803, and median family income: $49,125
  •  In Boston, median household income: $53,136, and median family income: $63, 230
  •  In Chicago, median household income: $47,408, and median family income: $54, 188
  •  In Los Angeles, median household income: $49,745, and median family income: $54, 352
  •  In New York, median household income: $51,865, and median family income: $57,113
  •  In Philadelphia, median household income: $37,016, and median family income: $46,462

The Pew report found that Philadelphia also has a greater percentage of lower-income residents than the above-mentioned cities and a lower percentage of high-income residents.

City government largely neglects middle class Philadelphians, according to most respondents in the Pew poll. Fifty-six percent said upper-class Philadelphians get the most attention and 23 percent said lower-class Philadelphians do. Fifteen percent though the middle class received the most attention.

From the report: “Pew’s poll suggests that one way to appeal to the middle class and to those who aspire to middle- class status is to take care of the essentials—schools, jobs, and public safety—and to do so as cost-effectively as possible; in that sense, there is no special middle-class agenda. While none of those goals will be easy to achieve, all of them have broad appeal. And the potential reward for the city is great: not just stability but, perhaps, the expansion of Philadelphia’s middle class.”