Press Releases

Press Releases: Philadelphia Becomes First Large U.S. City to Track Social Progress Across Every Neighborhood

City Controller’s Office launches ProgressPHL dashboard to help improve the overall health & wellbeing of the city

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday March 22, 2023

CONTACT: Allison Steele, 609-220-6739

PHILADELPHIA – With City Council about to embark on its annual budget hearings to discuss a $6.1 billion spending plan, the City Controller’s Office today launched ProgressPHL, an interactive dashboard to track key indicators by neighborhood and help guide resources that can improve the overall health and wellbeing of the city.

ProgressPHL establishes a Social Progress Index that is supported by almost 50 data indicators including everything from public safety, nutrition and basic medical care, housing, education, environmental quality, Internet access, water and sanitation, personal rights, inclusiveness, and many others. The indicators provide granular and detailed information about what is going on in each of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.

The combined indicators create an overall index score for each neighborhood. While the scores show large disparities across neighborhoods, ranging from a high of 69 in Queens Village/Pennsport to a low of 28 in Upper Kensington, they also highlight the need for targeted investment. Each index score is supported by the several indicators that explain why some neighborhoods are performing well and those that are experiencing systemic issues and falling behind.

“The City Controller’s Office promotes the effective and efficient operations of Philadelphia government, recommending best practices and modernizations when possible,” said Charles Edacheril, Acting City Controller. “This is a tool that all city departments and agencies can utilize to better understand the diverse needs across every neighborhood.”

Through the design and development of Dr. Nick Hand, Director of the City Controller’s Finance, Policy and Data Division, ProgressPHL was created as a data-based tool for evaluating whether the city is making the right choices and creating opportunities necessary for all Philadelphians to reach their full potential. The launch of ProgressPHL makes Philadelphia the largest U.S. city to establish a Social Progress Index.

“ProgressPHL explores the social and environmental wellbeing of Philadelphians in every neighborhood,” said Hand. “The data shows why some neighborhoods excel while others lag behind, building the evidence needed to make progress for all Philadelphians.”

According to Hand, being able to create a Social Progress Index with ProgressPHL allows the city to answer questions like: are Philadelphians healthy and safe? Do they have clean water and a roof over their heads? Can they freely access information, and are their rights being protected?

The Controller’s Office partnered with the Social Progress Imperative, a nonprofit that provides governments, businesses, journalists and researchers with the information needed to tackle global and local challenges to improve the quality of life for all.

“ProgressPHL provides a shared language for Philadelphians to describe their lived experiences and observations within and across neighborhoods,” said Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, Social Progress Imperative. “This data tool celebrates the city’s progress so far, illuminates what needs improvement, and helps catalyze stakeholders’ coalitions to work together in dismantling structural inequities around issues such as health, education, housing, and transportation.”

ProgressPHL can help policy makers to make well-informed decisions when allocating resources to address specific needs and services within a community. It also provides community organizations with support when advocating for resources to address specific issues, leading to a reduction in poverty, providing jobs, creating affordable housing and many other progress areas.

The dashboard can be viewed on the City Controller’s website. The data can also be downloaded for anyone to utilize and it will be updated as new data indicators are made available.

For more information about ProgressPHL, the City Controller’s Finance, Policy and Data Division can be reached at

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