This Chart Proves Philadelphia Is the King of the Rowhome
Philadelphia is often cited as a city of rowhomes. And today, helpfully, the Washington Post today made a chart that shows just how many more rowhomes there are than in other major American cities.
— Roberto Ferdman (@robferdman) September 21, 2015
Yes, by far a majority of Philadelphians live in rowhomes — almost 60 percent of the city! Maybe this is why a lot of people in this city hate their neighbors.
— Emily Badger (@emilymbadger) September 21, 2015
An expanded version of the graphic shows that only Baltimore is really close to Philadelphia in the percentage of citizens living in rowhomes. (This is why TV shows set in Baltimore look so much like Philadelphia, most likely.) Washington and Virginia Beach also have a lot of rowhomes, but nothing like Philadelphia’s.
Philadelphians have lived in rowhomes since colonial times, per the Philadelphia Encyclopedia:
In many American cities, including New York, Baltimore, Providence, and Washington, D.C., builders, developers, and residents used row houses to solve the problems of housing demand, steep land prices, and narrow lots. As a result, Philadelphia’s streets, alleys, and courts were lined with relatively homogenous structures of predictable form and design. By the nineteenth century, the term “Philadelphia row” not only became synonymous with the landscape of the city, but it also became a term used elsewhere to describe orderly rows of regularized houses.
There’s an upside to Philly’s large concentration of rowhomes. According to the Healthy Rowhouse Project, Philadelphia’s rowhome stock allows more low-income residents the ability for home ownership than any other city in the country. That project says 70 percent of all housing units in Philadelphia are rowhomes.