• The Fairhill 19133 Zip Code is the poorest in Philadelphia
• The poverty rate is 61%
• Median household income is $14,185 = monthly income under $1,200
• Average monthly rent $800.
• Industrial jobs in Fairhill moved to developing countries in the 1950’s.
• The local economy collapsed, and Fairhill became known as an active drug trafficking center.
• It was called “The Badlands” in a 1994 novel, Third and Indiana, and in a Ted Koppel 2007 Nightline special.
• Over 80% of the population is Hispanic, largely Puerto Rican.
• Fairhill is also called “Centro de Oro,” the Golden Center in Spanish
• North 5th Street has many Puerto Rican community cultural organizations.
Fairhill was once a center of industry, but in the 1950’s most jobs moved to developing countries. You can now see many vacant warehouses and the small brick row houses built for the working class. Over the years drug dealing came to Fairhill along with its violence. Called “The Badlands” in the 1994 novel, Third and Indiana, by Steve Lopez, that name has been picked up by the media, including Ted Koppel on a 2007 Nightline.
About one-fourth of Fairhill homes are owner-occupied, but many owners are elderly and struggle to keep the homes in good repair. The 2010 Census found that the Fairhill Zip Code is the poorest in Philadelphia. The poverty rate is 61% and median household income is $14,185. This means a monthly income of under $1,200 with average monthly rent being about $800. Households juggle paying their bills and often fall behind.
And yet there are many positive stories to be told. Fairhill is also called “Centro de Oro,” the Golden Center in Spanish, because of thriving Puerto Rican culture along north 5th Street. Over 80% of the population is Hispanic, and largely Puerto Rican. The Taller Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican Workshop), Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (Association of Puerto Ricans on the Move), and Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos (Latin American Artists and Musicians) are centered here.
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