West Philadelphia is among the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the City of Brotherly Love — and just like the rest of the nation, its residents are contending with record-breaking inflation.
Median household income in West Philadelphia was $25,857 — 43% of the national level — in the period between 2013 and 2017, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. As food and energy prices soar, people living and working in West Philadelphia — a majority-minority neighborhood — are tightening their budgets.
“It’s too high. I don’t know what happened, because the price of everything is too high now,” Mohamed, a West Philadelphia resident and immigrant from French-speaking Africa, told The Daily Wire. Gas prices have especially impacted him due to his daily commute to nearby New Jersey.
Art Walker, a maintenance worker who lives in Delaware but commutes to West Philadelphia, attributes the prices at the pump to oil companies making “record profits” — a contention held by some Democratic lawmakers. “Why in the hell are oil companies gouging us?” he said. “They’re making more money than they ever made before.”
In any case, Walker is amending his driving habits as prices rise. “I drive to work and I go home. And anything else in between, I try to do it as I’m going home from work,” he commented. “It’s just too expensive.”
Other West Philadelphians are likewise battling the high fuel costs.
“I was using maybe $30 per week. Now I use almost $100,” Iliassou Koukpelerou, who drives a Hyundai Ioniq hybrid, told The Daily Wire. “It’s too much. I don’t know what they’re going to do about it.”
“They have to do something to lower the prices, so we can enjoy the way we were before,” he added. “People don’t have money in their pockets anymore.”
Higher price levels are prompting many Americans to reconsider their spending habits. Despite rising from recession-era lows, consumer confidence — as measured by the University of Michigan’s benchmark Survey of Consumers — has been falling since the summer of 2021 and is presently near its lowest level in a decade.
Personal consumption expenditures have driven the majority of American economic activity in the modern era, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Analysts therefore look to consumer confidence as a key metric to forecast recessions.
Kahil, a high school student living in West Philadelphia, can also see high prices impacting his family’s budget.
“People around me like my mother — 80% of her life has to do with her driving, so it’s taking a lot more money out of her to get from here to there. It takes away from what we have to do in our everyday lives, because living isn’t cheap,” he said. “The way prices with everything have gone up, I’ve had to start cutting back on what I spend money on.”
“There’s only one simple answer. Prices need to go where they used to be,” he added.