The information in our study covers the Philadelphia Metropolitan Division.
In each community, the Knight Soul of the Community study identified factors that emotionally attach residents to where they live. Some of these community characteristics that drive attachment were rated highly by residents, and are therefore community strengths while others were rated lower, making them opportunities for improvement. This information can provide communities a roadmap for increasing residents’ emotional attachment to where they live, which the study found has a significant relationship to economic vitality.
Despite economic challenges, attachment to the Philadelphia area has remained basically flat all three years of the survey.
Social offerings (entertainment infrastructure, places to meet people, community events) openness (how welcoming the place is) and the education system are the most important factors connecting residents to where they live. There were no significant changes in the overall perceptions of these key drivers in 2010 from 2009.
Education is considered a community strength, particularly the local colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, openness and social offerings need improvement to further attach residents to the area. The Philadelphia area was rated most welcoming to young adults without children and significantly more welcoming to gays and lesbians in 2010. Young talent is perceived to be the least welcome group.
Residents 18-34 years of age are the least attached of all ages in the Philadelphia area. The availability of arts and cultural opportunities was rated highest among all social offerings; however, perceptions of residents caring about each other remains the lowest rated aspect of social offerings.
While attachment increases with income level in the Philadelphia area, it decreases with education level. So the highest earners are the most attached of all income groups and those with a high school education or less are most attached of all education levels.
Ratings of the local economy increased in 2010; however, the economy is still not a key factor emotionally connecting residents to their community.