City Stories

Philadelphia, PA

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The Short Philadelphia Ghetto Story

One of America’s largest cities, the Philadelphia ghetto is in a city that is mostly known for being a pioneer city for the country, while also almost becoming the capital of the United States.

Some of the most important stories of the city are how the African-American and Puerto Rican population grew into the current neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia Black History

The Philadelphia black history began as the city’s first African-Americans came from nearby slave states, while others have been in the city since the beginning of Philadelphia’s existence.

By the early and mid-1900s, the city of Philadelphia had one of the largest black populations in the country as many worked as laborers or as servants.

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Courtesy of Samse Beskazal / Flickr.com

The community was mostly all in South Philadelphia, along with some parts of North Philadelphia, but all predominantly black neighborhoods were near the downtown area or the city center.

As many white families began to leave the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia and North Philadelphia, especially as employment opportunities began to leave the city, the black community expanded into other parts of the Philadelphia.

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Courtesy of Samse Beskazal / Flickr.com

Today, the Philadelphia black population makes up the majority of the city’s communities in West Philadelphia, most of North Philadelphia that is west of Broad Street and parts of South Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Latino Community History*

The Philadelphia Latino community of North Philadelphia is in the city’s Northeast section.

A community and a population that has been around since the 1940s and 1950s has the majority living specific areas like Kensington.

Many Puerto Ricans left their native country, during the mid-1900s, to relocate into major United States cities for better employment and living opportunities.

When most arrived many moved to New York City, but years later Philadelphia would have one of the country’s largest Puerto Rican populations.

Starting from having around 10,000 Puerto Ricans living in the city, now the Latino community makes up 12% of the 1.5 million people residing in the city.

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The Philadelphia Ghetto of Today

Beginning in the years of the 2000s, gentrification has been slowly taking over many of the city’s urban communities.

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Courtesy of Samse Beskazal / Flickr.com

Gentrification is affecting areas in South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, especially around the University of Pennsylvania, and North Philadelphia in blocks that are around Spring Garden Street.

In some parts of the city people are living side by side with one block being in the Philadelphia ghetto that has a home value of $70,000 while a couple of blocks down the home value is close to $400,000.

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Courtesy of Samse Beskazal / Flickr.com

In other places the rent is almost doubling from what it was ten years ago making it not affordable to live in their own community.

With communities that are near the downtown area being gentrified, many people have to move to Delaware County, right outside of West Philadelphia, or north towards Montgomery County.

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Click to check out more on other communities of Pennsylvania.

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

Puerto Rican History: Temple University. “Looking for Work in the Global Economy: An Introduction” http://www.temple.edu/tempress/chapters_1400/1524_ch1.pdf

All Images provided by SamseBeskazal/Flickr.com