A New Look at Anchor Economies Across the Nation

Posted by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on October 4, 2022

Often called anchor institutions, hospitals and higher education institutions contribute $1.7 trillion in goods and services to the U.S. economy each year and directly or indirectly support almost one in 10 jobs.

However, little is known about how these institutions impact specific regions across the U.S. The Philadelphia Fed has launched the Anchor Economy Initiative to examine how much each U.S. region relies on anchor institutions for jobs, economic growth, and community development.

A new digital dashboard allows users to view and compare the economic impacts of anchor institutions — from income and employment to gross valued added to local economies, and more — across 524 U.S. regions. It also provides a unique reliance index that captures how dependent each regional economy is on its anchor institutions.

Some key findings include:

  • Twenty-six regions across the U.S. are at least twice as reliant on anchor institutions as the nation overall.
  • Ten of 24 regions within the Federal Reserve System’s Third District (comprising Delaware, southern New Jersey, and eastern and central Pennsylvania) are more reliant on anchor institutions than the nation as a whole.
  • In the Philadelphia region, anchor institutions account for 13 percent of jobs and contribute $51.4 billion annually in goods and services to the regional economy.

You can learn more in a report coauthored by Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker; Deborah Diamond, director of the Anchor Economy Initiative; and Davin Reed, senior community development economic advisor at the Philadelphia Fed.

Explore the economic activity of anchor institutions in your region. Visit the Anchor Economy Initiative.

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