A new study shows that lakeshoring is not the most popular way to live in Philadelphia, with just 8% of residents choosing to live with their own pets, a rate that is higher than the national average of 6%.
The new study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Harris Poll, released this week, surveyed 2,002 residents in the Philadelphia metro area from January 3-20, 2018, and found that just 8.3% of those who chose to live at home were cats or dogs.
A further 12.2% of people in the survey said they chose to have their pets at home, compared to 5.4% of all Philadelphia residents.
The study found that residents of Philadelphias suburbs were also the least likely to live where they did.
Residents of neighborhoods with a high concentration of renters (more than 1,000 people) were just as likely to choose to live alone as residents of neighborhoods where there were fewer than 1.5 renters.
This was the case even for those who said they preferred to live close to where they work or school.
Residents in the city’s suburbs, on the other hand, were more likely to prefer to live somewhere else.
This trend is most pronounced in the South Philadelphia area, which has a high population density and more people living near work or in nearby residential areas.
Residents living in South Philadelphia neighborhoods, in contrast, tend to live closer to work and nearby businesses.
The results are particularly noteworthy given the Philadelphia citywide housing shortage.
The Harris Poll found that only 4% of the citywide population were living in homes that are more than 30 feet away from their jobs, compared with the national figure of 11%.
In addition to the higher rate of cat and dog owners living in the suburbs, the researchers found that more than half of all residents of Philadelphia had pets, including more than 2 in 3 residents of South Philadelphia.
The researchers found a clear preference for a more “inclusive” lifestyle, and residents in Philadelpha were most likely to be homeowners, with about 75% of them owning a home with their family or household.
The majority of Philadephians living in households with pets were older, with almost a third (32%) of those ages 50 and older owning a pet, and more than a third of those households were in households where the pet belonged to a child or parent.
In Philadelphia, only about half of the people who chose not to have pets lived with their families.
In the suburbs that have fewer people, like the South Philly area, the majority of residents chose to keep pets at the home, but not all.
Residents of the South City, meanwhile, were the most likely of the suburban areas to have cats and dogs.
About a third were cat and dogs, while the majority lived in households in which their pets were at home.
In the city, the study found a similar pattern.
More than half (55%) of the residents in South City households lived with pets, while just over a third lived in a household with a pet.
A higher proportion of South City residents (47%) were dog-owning, compared, of course, to the city (37%).
In other words, while Philadelphia’s suburban areas may have more pet owners, they also tend to have higher rates of cat owners and higher rates for owning dogs, compared for example to the urban area.
According to Harris Poll data, only 3.5% of Philadelphia’s population are either retired, unemployed or on disability, and about 9% are under age 50.
That means there are an estimated 9 million people living in Philadelphia who have no income or dependents.
If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Capital, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.