PCPC staff and partner City agencies created a series of existing conditions memos to kick off the Lower Northwest District Plan. Read our existing conditions memos.
Lower Northwest District at a Glance
The Lower Northwest District covers 9.27 square miles and has a population of 50,799 (2010). The district’s population has decreased by 5,284 residents since 1980, a decline of nine percent. The population drop was most notable between 1980 and 1990 but has since stabilized and can be attributed mainly to a change in demographic from families with children to young professionals. Modest population gains are expected in the district by 2040 with a projected population of roughly 54,000.
The district includes the neighborhoods of East Falls, Manayunk, Roxborough, Wissahickon, Wissahickon Hills, Ridge Park, Germany Hill, Dearnly Park, Andorra, and Shawmont Valley. Lower Northwest also includes a significant portion of Wissahickon Valley Park. Large institutions call the district home such as Philadelphia University, Drexel Medicine, the Veterans Administration Center, Roxborough Memorial Hospital, Philadelphia University and Fairmount Behavioral Health System.
The young professional population of the Lower Northwest is has been slowly rising throughout the past 30 years. Residents between ages 18 and 34 tend to live near the waterfront in areas with better access to rail transit. The district’s retirees however, tend to live in areas served more by automobile transportation.
In relation to the city, the district fares well economically, with an educated workforce, higher incomes and lower poverty rates. The district has fewer families and smaller households than the rest of the city and has twice the percentage of population with a four-year college degree or greater. The housing stock in the Lower Northwest follows a similar line as the rest of the city, but with slightly lower vacancy rates.
The Lower Northwest is a bedroom community for people working outside the district. While the district has 23,800 employed residents, only 2,200 of those residents work within the Lower Northwest. 21,600 employees commute out of the district and 11,600 workers commute into the district. Of those commuters, most tend to rely on automobiles, more than the city as a whole.