Lower North District At A Glance
The Lower North District’s population is slowly rising after a 50 year decline. The district’s 95,200 residents enjoy an extensive SEPTA network and the greatest number of parks and recreation facilities in Philadelphia. They must also live with roughly 30 percent of the City’s total vacant land, a burden that the City hopes to turn into an asset.
As the district’s population declined, Temple University’s population grew. As of 2010, almost 28,000 students were enrolled at Main Campus. Of those, about 11,000 lived on or near campus. A shortage of University-owned rooms has led developers to build almost 2,000 units of housing in the last ten years. Demand for privately built student housing is expected to decrease in the next ten years, however, as the rate at which enrollment increases has declined, and University-sponsored apartments have come online.
Temple University, the City of Philadelphia and related public agencies, and the North Philadelphia Health System are the district’s largest employers. Manufacturing, once the defining employer, now comprises just over 1,000 jobs, less than five percent of the district’s 21,000 total. The fastest growing job categories are retail, food service and office jobs.
Commercial corridors continue to struggle with high vacancy rates, but there exists potential to fill empty spaces because of higher demand from new residents. Residents spend almost $120 million on consumer goods and services outside of the district. The money spent elsewhere could be used locally if the commercial mix provided were to improve.
SEPTA serves Lower North with 16 bus lines, one trolley, four Market Frankford Line and four Broad Street Line subway stops. Since 60 percent of residents either don’t drive or choose not to, maintaining a robust transit network is critical to the district’s future. This district hosts several transit hubs that serve over 5,000 riders per weekday. They are: Broad and Lehigh, Broad and Cecil B Moore, Broad and Girard, Front and Girard, and the Temple University Regional Rail station. The Temple University station alone hosts 7,000 riders per day, the fourth busiest regional rail stop in the system.