A very interesting study on where prosperity can be found across the US came out from The Hamilton Project in a blog post, An Interactive Exploration of the Geography of Prosperity. The study highlights what it calls the Vitality Index.
For real estate investors, there definitely seems to be some potential insights for which areas could be the best places to find future real estate investment opportunities.
Pennsylvania real estate investors especially those looking in the 5-county area of Southeastern PA around Philadelphia will find the 3 of the highest-rated counties according to the research, Chester County came in first, followed by Montgomery County, then Bucks County with Delaware County and Philadelphia further behind.
From the Hamilton Project:
Americans in many ways experience a different economy based on where they live, generating substantial gaps in life outcomes.The typical household income in the wealthiest 20 percent of counties is more than twice that in the poorest 20 percent, and that gap increased substantially from 1980 to 2017.Poverty rates are three times higher in the poorest 20 percent of counties compared to the top counties.Life expectancy is 6 years longer in top performing counties than those at the bottom. To put this gap into context, it has taken about 4 decades for U.S. life expectancy to rise 6 years, so the gap across counties is the equivalent of 4 decades of progress.To present a more complete picture of which places are thriving, The Hamilton Project created the Vitality Index, which measures the economic and social well-being of a place. The index combines the following measures:
- median household income,
- poverty rate,
- unemployment rate,
- prime-age employment-to-population ratio,
- housing vacancy rate, and
- life expectancy.Using a statistical procedure that can isolate the underlying common factor among these variables, we found that having a high median household income, a low poverty rate, and high life expectancy were the most important indicators of a county’s vitality.