Varo Money Survey: Majority of Philadelphians Believe Philly Offers Best Quality of Life for the Cost in the U.S.

Mobile banking company Varo Money, Inc. has announced the results of their #SwitchYourBank survey. The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults age 18+, conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Varo Money in April, determined what Americans most love about San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York, where quality of life is highest for the cost, and how locals are banking.

Philadelphia, I love you

Taken as a whole, Americans feel that New York is “the best” at most things—cultural activities, public transportation, live music, restaurants, bars, hetero dating, and public parks. Even so, it came in last (along with San Francisco) in the category of “quality of life for the cost.” Philadelphia came in first, even though it didn’t come out on top in any of the other categories included in the survey.

More than half (56%) of Philadelphians agree that their city offers the best quality of life for the cost but believe Philly also offers the best:

  • Farmers markets — 55%
  • Microbrews — 52%
  • Dating scene for straight men — 32%
  • Public parks and outdoor activities — 31%
  • Dog parks — 29%
  • Dating scene for straight women (tied with New York) — 28%

What don’t they love? The weather. Only 4% of Philadelphians prefer their long winters and hot summers to weather elsewhere. But 55% join other Americans in feeling that Los Angeles has the better weather and avocado toast (33%), and 45% feel that San Francisco offers the LGTBQ community a better dating scene.

Life in (and out) of the City of Brotherly Love

More people (66%) own their own homes in Philadelphia than in any of the other cities. This is followed by Chicago (62%), Los Angeles (53%), New York (52%), and, finally, San Francisco (47%). The national average is 54%, according to survey results.

Home ownership seems to be a litmus test for how affordable these cities feel to residents more generally, as Philadelphians (73%) and Chicagoans (69%) were also most likely to say that they can generally afford the lifestyle they want.

  • Only 25% of Philadelphians rent—the lowest percentage of the five cities surveyed
  • Just 12% of Philadelphians live with roommates
  • 7% of Philadelphians live at home with their parents—on par with the national average

  • 81% of Philadelphians feel their neighborhoods are generally gentrifying

Wining, dining, and cheesesteaks

Nationally, 24% of Americans say they only spring for a fancy dinner—defined as a dinner that costs more than $50—once a year, and 14% say they never do. However, 47% of Philadelphians are having a fancy dinner monthly, and another 15% are splurging weekly.

Speaking of food, Philadelphians voted on the best cheesesteak in town, and the results are as follows:

  1. Geno’s Steaks
  2. Jim’s Steaks
  3. Pat’s King of Steaks
  4. Tony Luke’s
  5. Steve’s Prince of Steaks

What does an ideal night out cost in the City of Brotherly Love? Not as much as it costs elsewhere: 38% of Philadelphians need $50-$100, and 34% need more than $100, but 28% of Philadelphians can enjoy a night out for less than $50. Perhaps this explains why only 18% of Philadelphians (compared to 31% of Americans living elsewhere) have an entertainment budget.

Breaking up is hard to do

Philadelphians’ biggest gripe about their current bank is overdraft fees (19%) and the low savings rate (18%), although Philadelphians generally have fewer complaints about their banks than people living in other cities, perhaps owing to the fact that significantly fewer Philadelphians (41%) bank at big national banks than Americans living in the other four cities (56%). The majority of Philadelphians (65%) join other Americans, however, in finding overdraft fees more annoying than bouncing payments.

A bad customer service experience is the #1 thing most likely to convince a Philadelphian to leave their current bank (40%), but a data breach (37%) is a close second. Having said that, leaving their current bank feels like a daunting undertaking to most Philadelphians, who feel that it is more difficult than switching:

  • From iPhone to Android — 22%
  • Current diet to lose ten pounds — 22%
  • Jobs — 22%
  • Doctors — 18%
  • Hairdressers — 16%
  • Gyms — 12%

In addition, 4% of Philadelphians feel that switching banks is even more difficult than swapping out their current significant other or spouse. Another 3% don’t have a bank account.

About Varo Money

Varo Money, Inc. (“Varo”), is changing the future of banking with their mobile app: a frictionless bank account offered through The Bancorp Bank that also helps customers do more with their money. Varo is building a mobile banking experience that helps customers cover their expenses, pay their bills and build their wealth over time — so they can stop worrying about money and go live their lives. Unlike traditional banks or other fintech apps, Varo offers a complete solution with integrated deposit, budgeting, savings, and lending products that aim to help customers bank with ease and achieve better financial outcomes. There’s no reason for a bank branch on every corner anymore: all that customers need is an iPhone to bank seamlessly. Based in San Francisco and privately held, Varo has raised $78M to date, led by Warburg Pincus. Varo Bank Accounts are provided by The Bancorp Bank, and deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 through The Bancorp Bank. Varo Personal Loan and Varo Backup Line are offered by Varo Money, Inc., under state licenses, subject to application approval. For more information, please visit and follow Varo on Facebook @varomoney or Twitter @varomoney.

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