Philly’s Business Environment Ranks Near Last in New Study

Philly ranked 148th out of 150 cities in a new Wallet Hub report.



Almost every day, some organization releases a report ranking U.S. cities. Best cities for buying a home. Best cities to start a restaurant. Best cities to raise a family.

I’m typically a bit wary of such studies because the methodology can seem sort of random. Remember when Condé Nast Traveler ranked Philly the second-best shopping city in the world — ahead of Milan, Paris and New York? I love Walnut Street as much as the next person, but it’s safe to say that such rankings don’t always ring true.

But one recent study by Wallet Hub caught my eye. It ranked Philly 148th out of 150 cities in “business environment.” (It was part of a larger study on the best cities to start a business, where Philly ranked a paltry 109th.)

At first, I thought the study didn’t make sense. Philly is booming these days, with revitalized neighborhoods, a burgeoning tech scene and a highly successful real estate market. Maybe the Wallet Hub people just haven’t visited in a while.

But the Wallet Hub data seems well-sourced from a host of different organizations like the Tax Foundation and the Council Community and Economic Research. So it’s worth taking a closer look.

Here’s a breakdown of Philly’s rankings:

Corporate tax structure: 146th out of 150 cities. (Chicago was the only major city that ranked lower.)

Cost of living: 126th

Percent of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 112th (24.4 percent.)

Cost of office space rentals: 123rd ($21 per square foot).

Median annual income: 21st $36,200

Employee availability: 30th

Access to financing: 73rd

The best place to start a business? Apparently it’s Shreveport, La. For the best business environment, you’ll have to trek out to Tulsa, Okla.