You Can’t Be Too Rich or Too Thin

Mendte: But Philly doesn’t rank well in either category.

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Fat, poor, and uneducated. On the bright side…

What is the hardest place in the Philadelphia area to live?

Thanks to data reporting by the New York Times Magazine, we have an answer. The Times used six data points to rate the livability in every county in the country: education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment, disability, life expectancy and obesity.




Clay County, Kentucky was determined to be the hardest place in America to live. Los Alamos County in New Mexico, a hub of scientific research, is the easiest place to live.

But let’s get back to Philadelphia. Is anyone shocked that the City of Philadelphia is the hardest place in the area to live using these metrics? But it was Chester County, not Montgomery County, that was the easiest.

Here are the rankings, easiest to hardest, by each Philly metro county's rank among the countries 3,315 counties

1. Chester County, PA 33
2. Montgomery County, PA 82
3. Bucks County, PA 173
4. Burlington County, NJ 453
5. New Castle County, DE 544
6. Delaware County, PA 770
7. Ocean County, NJ 793
8. Gloucester County, NJ 875
9. Cape May County, NJ 1,147
10. Camden County, NJ 1,303
11. Atlantic County, NJ 1,374
12. Salem County, NJ 1,928
13. Cumberland County, NJ 2,393
14. Philadelphia County, PA 2,420

Some other interesting rankings using the New York Times data:

Cumberland and Salem Counties in New Jersey are the fattest counties in the area, with an obesity rate of 41 percent. Montgomery County was the slimmest with an obesity rate of 30 percent.

Here are the rankings from slim to fat:

1. Montgomery 30%
2. Bucks 31%
3. Chester 33%
3. Delaware 33%
5. Atlantic 35%
5. Burlington 35%
7. Gloucester 36%
7. Cape May 36%
7. Camden 36%
7. Ocean 36%
7. New Castle 36%
12. Philadelphia 38%
13. Cumberland 41%
13. Salem 41%

The richest county is Chester with an average household income of over $86 thousand a year. Philadelphia is the poorest with an average annual income of under $40 thousand a household.

1. Chester $86,184
2. Montgomery $78,894
3. Burlington $78,229
4. Buck $76,195
5. Gloucester $74,195
6. New Castle $64,670
7. Delaware $64,242
8. Camden $62,320
9. Ocean $61,038
10. Salem $59,336
11. Cape May $56,370
12. Atlantic $54,559
13. Cumberland $51,530
14. Philadelphia $37,016

The most educated county in the Philadelphia area is Chester. The least educated is Cumberland County where less than 15 percent have a college degree.

1. Chester 48.3%
2. Montgomery 45.1%
3. Bucks 35.1%
4. Delaware 34.9%
5. Burlington 34.2%
6. New Castle 33.5%
7. Camden 28.7%
8. Gloucester 28.1%
9. Cape May 27.6%
10. Ocean 25%
11. Atlantic 24.1%
12 Philadelphia 23,2%
13. Salem 19%
14. Cumberland 14%

It may not be surprising, given the above list, that Montgomery County has the lowest unemployment rate in the area, 6.1 percent, and Cumberland County has the highest, 14.1 percent.

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  • liberals are ignorant

    Phila The poorest? Look how many are sucking the system dry

  • Danielzinho

    So what? If you know how to not be incredibly obese or incredibly poor…. then Philadelphia is an awesome city and it’s easy to get around and it’s easy to live in and everything you could need is within a couple of miles. Philly is awesome.

  • Ben

    Here is what. There is an enormous strain on the system when you have an undereducated and underemployed population. Underemployment leads to lower income levels which leads to a lower tax base. There is less to suck dry. Obesity leads to higher rates of illness and strains the healthcare system. None of this is good news. For Philadelphia and the surrounding area to show real progress, education levels need to rise and then employment, wealth and the tax base will rise. Then city services will rise. And the expectations of the residents of this city should rise. That’s what. Try harder, be better.

  • William

    In West Philadelphia I was born and raised. On the playground was where I spent most of my days. Until I got in 1 little fight and my mom got scared.

    I moved with my auntie and uncle in Bel Aire.