New Residents in Philadelphia – Part 2: Age and Education
This Leading Indicator is the second part in our series on understanding changes in Philadelphia’s labor market since the COVID-19 pandemic by looking at the new resident population in the city. We continue our demographic analysis by highlighting the change in the age distribution and educational attainment of Philadelphia’s new residents since 2018 using household survey estimates from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) USA.
What You Need to Know
The new resident population in Philadelphia tends to be young with an average age of roughly 31 years.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the average age of new female residents moving to Philadelphia has slightly decreased; this trend is driven by an overall decrease in the proportion of female residents who are 40 years or older coming to Philadelphia.
Since the pandemic, the proportion of new female residents between 20- and 35-years-old has increased compared to new male residents of the same age bracket.
On average, new residents moving to Philadelphia are disproportionately better educated than the city overall with at least 60% of new residents moving to Philadelphia since 2018 having post-secondary degrees compared to only 34.8% of city’s total resident population achieving the same educational level .
At the same time, the share of new residents with 11 years or less of schooling increased to roughly 6.5% in 2021 compared to the previous two years in which it hovered closer to zero percent.
How Old Are Philadelphia’s New Residents
We analyzed the age distribution of incoming residents since 2018 to account for demographic changes two years before and after the pandemic. All estimates for demographic populations are derived from Philadelphia residents who moved into the city one year prior to the survey; for example, a new resident who was surveyed in 2020 moved to Philadelphia in 2019. Those residing in Philadelphia more than one year prior to the survey, however, were not included in our analysis.
Figure 1 displays population pyramids that detail the age distribution of new residents in Philadelphia by gender before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The period before the pandemic includes estimates from 2018-2019 where we calculate the mean number of new residents in each age bracket. Similarly, the time period since the pandemic includes estimates from 2020-2021 where we calculate the mean count for each age bracket between 2020 and 2021.
SOURCE: Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) USA
Each bar represents the number of new residents who belong to that age group categorized by their gender. Our analysis finds that the new resident population in Philadelphia tends to be young with a mean age of 31 years both before and since the pandemic. This could result from a combination of established demographic trends that support younger individuals coming to Philadelphia for higher education, new employment, or an overall lower cost of living; older populations tend to be less mobile and more rooted than their younger counterparts . In Part 1 of this series, we found that the proportion of new female residents coming to Philadelphia increased since the pandemic compared to new male residents. Our findings in Figure 1 show that these female residents are also younger compared to previous female populations who moved to Philadelphia before the pandemic. The age distribution of new residents shows that there were far fewer new female residents older than 40-year-olds who moved to Philadelphia since 2020 compared to the same time period before the pandemic. New male residents over 40-years-old saw a similar but less intense decline in their population since the pandemic. We also found that the proportion of new female residents between 20- and 35-years of age increased compared to new male residents in the same age bracket since the pandemic.
Educational Attainment Among New Residents of Philadelphia
Figure 2 shows the distribution of educational attainment of new residents to Philadelphia from 2018 to 2021. We used IPUMS’ educational attainment estimates to measure the highest year of schooling or degree completed by the respondent. It is important to note that completion differs from the highest year of school attendance; for example, a new resident who attended 10th grade but did not finish would be classified as having completed 9th grade in the IPUMS survey. Figure 2 shows that, on average, 60% of new city residents arrive with post-secondary degrees while an additional 30% have finished at least 12 years of schooling. This means that Philadelphia’s incoming residents are better educated than the city’s average of 34.8% total residents with post-secondary degrees, and that trend has continued since the pandemic . In fact, the share of highly educated new residents increased to almost 74% in 2020. This means that the pool of educated new residents who can potentially enter Philadelphia’s labor market has not significantly changed due to the pandemic. At the same time, however, the share of new residents with 11 years or less of schooling increased to roughly 6.5% in 2021 compared to the previous years in 2020 and 2019 where it hovered closer to zero percent.
SOURCE: Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) USA
This second part of our analysis of Philadelphia’s new resident population further highlights the changes brought about in the region’s labor market since the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to explore types of occupations and the nature of remote work among new residents in future Leading Indicators.
 “Census profile: Philadelphia, PA,” Census Reporter. http://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US4260000-philadelphia-pa/ (accessed Feb. 14, 2023).
 W. H. Frey, “How migration of millennials and seniors has shifted since the Great Recession,” Brookings, Jan. 31, 2019. https://www.brookings.edu/research/how-migration-of-millennials-and-sen… (accessed Feb. 08, 2023).
"The Economy League's Leading Indicator article serves as a high-quality analysis to deepen understanding of key regional trends and labor market challenges based on publicly available data. Have any questions or additional input on this week's topic? Send us your thoughts at [email protected]."