Hamilton’s Regional Prosperity Index measure county-level economic and social wellbeing. The indicators include median household income, poverty rate, unemployment rate, employment rate (ages 25-54), housing vacancy rate, and life expectancy. Weighted most is median household income at 45 percent with poverty rate and life expectancy at 24 and 13 percent respectively.

The Vitality Index spans regions with -4.33 to +3.07.

Pennsylvania Regions with Highest Vitality

  • Chester County: 1.6223
  • Montgomery County: 1.385
  • Bucks County: 1.2717
  • Butler County: .6064

Pennsylvania Regions with Lowest Vitality

  • Fayette County: -1.0807
  • Schuylkill County: -.5262
  • Erie: -.5053

Raising the Bar: Investment Needed to Raise Numbers

How much economic development investment does it need to create one job?

Researchers from the World Bank estimate how many jobs $10 Million in economic development funding can create. Their estimates vary across industries with wood, trade, and construction related jobs offering 250-600 direct and indirect jobs for every $10 Million invested.

An analysis from the Hamilton Project identifies a difference in median household income between the worst-performing quintile and the best-performing quintile of $42,700.

The gap between some regions across PA could cost Billions to close.

In their conclusion, researchers from the Hamilton Project’s Geography of Prosperity note regional wealth gaps. Regions that had the most college graduates in 1980 continue to outpace left-behind regions in the three decades since. Researchers note that the way Federal funding is distributed can exacerbate regional inequality as funding is distributed based on the availability of local resources.