To which socioeconomic class do you belong?
According to a report presented in Los Angeles last month to the CityLab Conference of Mayors and City Leaders, if you live, for instance, in Manayunk, Society Hill, Wynnefield or Fox Chase, you probably are a member of the "creative class."
Members of this "knowledge-based" class comprise more than 75 percent to 88 percent of the population of these and other neighborhoods within the city limits, the majority in and around Center City.
In fact, all 10 of the metropolitan area's top creative-class census tracts are in the city itself. If you look at home-price data in these neighborhoods and compare them with the rest of the city and large swaths of the suburbs, you are quickly aware that the creative class must have a lot of bucks.
The report, titled "The Divided City: And the Shape of the New Metropolis," was produced by Richard Florida, executive director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.
Based on tract-level data from the U.S. Census's 2010 American Community Survey, the report maps what it calls the "stark class divisions" in the 12 largest metropolitan areas, including the Philadelphia region, and suggests that Americans "are not only separated by income and race, but by socioeconomic class."
In addition to the creative class, there are the service sector and the "blue-collar working class," Florida said.
"The locational decisions of the affluent creative class are reshaping America's economic geography and pushing the other two classes to the peripheries," he said.
In a nutshell, the report notes that:
The affluent creative class occupies the most economically functional and desirable locations, frequently in and around the urban core, but spreading across close-in, transit-served suburbs and more affluent, low-density areas near natural amenities.
The locations of the two other classes are structured by the locational preferences of the creative class.
The service sector either surrounds the creative class, concentrating in areas of urban disadvantage, or is pushed far off into the exurban fringe.
There are very few working-class concentrations left in major metro areas.
Here, the data show, the creative class makes up 34.6 percent of workers, slightly above the national average. Its members average $76,694 a year in wages and salaries, also higher than the national average of $70,714.
More than half the Philadelphia metro area's creative class lives in census tracts with creative-class pluralities, including the ones I've mentioned, plus the Main Line and Cherry Hill.
The service class accounts for 47.5 percent of the region's workforce, slightly more than the national average. "Service workers average $31,693 in wages and salaries, more than the national average of $29,188, but just 41 percent of what the region's creative-class workers make," the report says.
"The working class accounts for 17.8 percent of the region's workers, significantly below the national average." Blue-collar workers here average $40,539 a year in wages and salaries, "significantly better than the national average for these blue-collar jobs ($36,991), but just 48 percent of what creative-class workers make."
Philadelphia has the lowest share of working class of any of the 12 metro areas studied, a striking illustration of how thoroughly the region has been deindustrialized, Florida said.
Only in Camden does the working class comprise more than half of all residents, a legacy of its industrial past, he said.