Living in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is an excellent place to reside, a town full of American history and opportunities! Philly has many unique and diverse neighborhoods throughout the 142.59 square miles, with the six largest city populations in America at slightly over 1.6 million residents! The area of Philadelphia was originally settled by Native American tribes around 8000 B.C, particularly by the Lenape hunter-gatherers. By the early 1600s, English, Dutch, and Swedish merchants had established trading posts in the Delaware Valley throughout the city of Philadelphia. In 1681 William Penn was granted permission by Charles II to begin the Pennsylvania colony. When William Penn arrived in the Delaware Valley in 1682, he signed a peace treaty with the Lenape chief! In 1684, a slave ship landed in Philadelphia, carrying hundreds of Africans. The tensions over slavery built among the Quackers, resulting in the first organized protest against slavery in the new world. Penn’s colony continued to thrive throughout the years, drawing the attention of Ben Franklin.
In 1729, Ben Franklin became the publisher of The Pennsylvania Gazette (one of America’s most prominent newspapers, several years leading up to the American Revolution. This paper served as a voice for colonial opposition to British colonial rule!) In 1735, the Pennsylvania State House “later known as Independence Hall” held its first Assembly meeting. State representatives ordered a large bell (liberty bell) for the building in 1751 to proclaim liberty throughout the land. In response to the taxes acts forced by the British Parliament, the Continental Congress convened & the stage was set to declare independence from Britain formally. In 1790, after the Revolutionary War, Philadelphia served as the capital of the United States, the nation’s largest city with a population of 44,096 residents. The first bank and the first United States mint were located in the city of brotherly love. In 1787 the U.S Constitution was written here!
In 1876, Susan B. Anthony delivered the famous Declaration of the Rights of Women outside Independence Hall. From roughly 1880 through the 1920s, Philadelphia’s industrial districts supported an array of mills, factories, and plants whose diversity has played a significant role in the history of manufacturing. Sadly, following World War II, new highways allowed workers to reach suburban communities outside the city easily. With the industrial decline, Philadelphia lost population and jobs, and soon many of the city’s renowned shipyards were shuttered, and factories throughout the city began to close their doors. Currently, Industrial businesses account for one in every five jobs in Philadelphia and $1.3 billion in wages annually. This is just a portion of the job opportunities in the city of brotherly love!
Nature in Philly
When you think of Philadelphia, you may assume that the entire city is filled with large buildings and homes; surprisingly, Philly is home to Fairmount Park, one of the world’s largest municipal parks, 9,200 acres contains several million trees and America’s oldest zoo. Within the grounds of Fairmount Park, six historic homes act as time capsules from the 18th and 19th centuries: Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill, Lemon Hill, Historic Strawberry Mansion, Mount Pleasant, and Woodford. Fairmount Park’s 9,200 acres are broken into five distinct areas: Cobbs Creek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, West Fairmount, East Fairmount, Pennypack, Wissahickon Valley, and Tacony Creek. Other popular parks throughout the city are Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Kelly Drive, Franklin Square, Washington Square, FDR Park, & Pennypack Park.
Philadelphia is home to many large companies due to its population density. Philadelphia’s economy thrives on higher education, manufacturing, food processing, tourism, and telecommunications. The largest employment company within city limits is Day & Zimmermann, a technology & manufacturing company that employs roughly 41,000 individuals. The second-largest company is “The University of Pennsylvania and Health System,” located in University City (directly across the Schuylkill River from Center City.) The University of Penn consumes 299 acres of the 2.75 square miles of University City and employs roughly 39,000 individuals with an enrollment of 29,000 students. The third-largest employer in Philly will be Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, with approximately 34,000 employees. The City of Philadelphia employs roughly 25,000 employees. Next will be a pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline at 15,000, also tied with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, located right next to the University of Penn and Drexel University. The three campuses (the University of Penn, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Drexel University) comprise 2.75 square miles of University City. There are plenty of employment opportunities in Philly involving education, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and public service. An excellent resource provides in Philadelphia to assist individuals with acquiring employment will be PA CareerLink. PA CareerLink allows job seekers to access virtual resources, build skills with job training opportunities, and explore different careers.
It’s suggested that roughly thirty percent of a household budget goes towards housing; paying a monthly living fee will be a family’s single most significant expense. Based on statistics gathered by rent.com, “the cost of living in Philadelphia for housing is only the 46th most expensive in the nation.” On average, the rental rates in most of Philadelphia for a one-bedroom apartment fall between 1,000 and1,250 dollars monthly. Overall monthly expenses to live in Philadelphia are up one percent from last year; the most significant increases were found in Transportation, Food, and Housing. The food index for Philly falls just under twenty percent of the national average! Philadelphia’s sales tax rate is eight percent compared to the six percent sales tax in the surrounding suburbs of Philly. Within the last couple of years, Mayor Jim Kenney implemented a beverage tax to compensate for Philly’s pre-k and kindergarten funding. This beverage tax applies to any drink that contains sugar; this beverage tax accounts for 1.5 cents per fluid ounce! Overall, the cost of living in Philadelphia is bearable, similar to other large cities such as Chicago; Philadelphia has extremely luxurious neighborhoods and some tremendously poor areas.
Overall, the public transportation in Philly is excellent. Public transit has helped define the Philadelphia region for more than three centuries. A significant contributor to shaping the landscape of Philly has been SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), serving Philly as well as surrounding Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Ironically, SEPTA is the nation’s sixth-largest public transit system, consisting of the train, subway, trolley, and bus lines serving 1.3 million customers daily! SEPTA provides services seven days a week, with some routes running twenty-four hours a day. Real-time alerts, scheduling, and maps are easily accessible online or through the SEPTA mobile application. SEPTA’s regional rail has three significant stations in Center City (Jefferson Station, Suburban Station, & 30th Street Station.) The subway provides twenty-four-hour traveling services between two subway systems (Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line). However, we do not recommend using the Philly subway system overnight for safety purposes. SEPTA, to this day, still provides eight trolley lines that run at street level and underground. The bus system for SEPTA has more than 100 bus routes with a fair rate of $2.50 per ride. Recently, SEPTA systems within Philadelphia have been drastically impacted by the lack of a police force, employing 30 short of its budget of 260 total officers. SEPTA is struggling to recruit individuals. SEPTA’s police chief recently stated to whyy.org that in October 2021, SEPTA held a hiring event, and only 42 out of 865 applicants showed up. Only 12 of those 42 applicants were eligible to continue the hiring process. The safety of riding SEPTA has decreased, but overall, SEPTA is convenient, simple, and has reasonable pricing rates.
Museums & Art
The art and museums in Philadelphia are extraordinary; the city is home to one country’s top five art museums (Philadelphia Museum of Art.) The art museum has a collection of masterworks by artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Brancusi, Kahlo, Duchamp, and many more! Another famous museum will be the Barnes Foundation, the world’s leading collection of works by impressionist and modernist masters. The Barnes Foundation holds over 4,000 pieces of art, estimated at around 25 billion dollars. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is a Victorian-era museum and art school that opened in 1805. The Academy of Fine Arts consists of American art from the 1760s to today. A unique museum will be the Mutter Museum, a prominent collection of antique medical oddities, deformed organs floating in jars of formaldehyde, and anatomical specimens and wax models. The Mutter Museum has pieces of Albert Einstein’s brain and the 200-year-old liver of Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker. It’s a fascinating museum that doesn’t allow guests to take photographs or videos inside the building. Other notable museums in Philly include Penn Museum, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Independence Hall, The Museum of the American Revolution, National Constitution Center, & The Franklin Institute! Take full advantage of Philly’s impressive history and museums; not many locations in America can compare to the art of Philadelphia!
The city of Philadelphia is home to many professional and semi-pro sports teams; the town is known for its extraordinary passion when it comes to sporting teams. Around the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles fans receive a bad reputation due to their extreme level of intensity. Philly’s four best-known sports teams are the Eagles, Sixers, Phillies, and Flyers. All four major sports teams play in South Philadelphia, opposite Interstate 95. The Philadelphia Eagles were founded in 1933; after World War II, the team briefly combined with Pittsburgh to become the “Steagles.” The Eagles took three national titles in the mid-20th century, with the most recent Superbowl in 2018. The Sixers were established in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals; the team relocated to Philly in 1963 and was named the 76ers after a fan contest. The most extended-tenured Philly sports team has been the Philadelphia Phillies, with a 136-year history behind this MLB team. Established as the Quackers when baseball began in 1883, the name was changed seven years later to the Phillies, with the most recent world series win coming in 2008. The Flyers are the professional Philadelphia hockey team, founded in 1967 with a long history of ups and downs; recently, the Flyers have been known for the strange mascot named Gritty! Other professional Philadelphia sports teams consist of the Philadelphia Union (Soccer), which plays home games outside Philly in Chester & The Philadelphia Wings, a professional lacrosse team! There’s never a dull moment in Philly sports, and any contest is guaranteed to provide a great time!
The City of Diversity
Philadelphia is a diverse city made up of many nationalities and cultures, a city shaped and built by immigrants. Philadelphia’s citywide diversity index is 65.6 percent, close to some of the country’s most diverse areas; the highest diversity index is 75.5 percent which is Jersey City, New Jersey. The 2020 U.S Census states that 14.3% of Philly residents are foreign-born. Overall, the racial breakdown is diverse, with 39.3% being white, 41.4% being black, 15.1% Hispanic, and 7.4% of Philadelphia being Asian. The female population, at 52.7%, makes up the majority of Philly! Some sections of Philadelphia have limited diversity, and neighborhoods throughout the city are prominently Caucasian or primarily African American. The “Philadelphia Inquirer” states the city’s most diverse area is West Philadelphia/University City (19104), with 36% white and 41% black. The next diverse neighborhood will be Olney (19120), 8 percent white, 49 percent black, 28 percent Hispanic, and 13 percent Asian. Followed by the Yorktown section of North Philly (19122), 28 percent white, 38 percent black, and 28 percent Hispanic. Lastly, the fourth most diverse neighborhood in Philly would be Northern Liberties/Spring Garden (19123), 41 percent white, 42 percent black, 9 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent Asian!
Elite College Education
Many current Philadelphia residents originally came to Philly to earn a college education. There is 28 university in the Philadelphia area ranked in the top 200 worldwide. The University of Penn is by far the highest-ranked college in Philadelphia; it’s ranked number one worldwide for education and nursing while ranking fourth for psychology and statistics! Many major news companies such as Wall Street Journal, U.S News, and Forbes have the University of Penn ranked in the top 15 of all universities/colleges throughout the entire world. The second highest-rated college in Philly will be Drexel University, falling within the top 120 universities worldwide. Temple University is the third-best rated college in Philadelphia, falling in the top 150 ratings by many significant companies. Thomas Jefferson is the fourth-ranked college and one of the medicine leaders in Philly. The fifth highest ranked college is the University of the Sciences. The colleges in the Philly area are impressive, and it’s hard to believe the performance level of the local colleges compared to the Philadelphia public school system. Philadelphia public schools have an average math proficiency score of 23% compared to Pennsylvania public school average of 45% and reading proficiency score of 39% vs. 62% statewide average. Schools in Philadelphia have an average ranking of 1/10, which is in the bottom 50% of Pennsylvania public schools. Three Philadelphia public high schools perform exceptionally well; Central High School, Masterman Julia R Sec School, and Franklin Towne Chs; all three schools rank in the top 1% in Pennsylvania!
Cons of Living in Philly
One of the worst issues living within a large city is the traffic and parking. For multiple reasons, Philadelphia is a nightmare for individuals searching for a parking spot. Many streets in Philadelphia were created to fit a horse, and one carriage, so many roads are incredibly tight; some streets are so short in width that it doesn’t support any parking. The mix of limited parking and tight streets directly causes obstacles in finding parking; some streets like Board Street have cars doubled parked (meaning two rows of vehicles along the curb.) Another inconvenience throughout the city will be the two-hour parking; Philadelphia Parking Authority strictly enforces these rules! Suppose you’re located in Center City or South Philadelphia. In that case, it may be essential to consider not owning a vehicle and finding other means of transportation, if it’s a taxi, Uber, bicycle, or public transportation.
The most significant issue with living in Philadelphia is the crime; since 2016, the murder rate in Philly has consistently increased. In 2016 the end-of-year total reached 277 lives lost, compared to 562 homicides in 2021. It’s an alarming rise in violence that’s contributed by multiple factors, the overall odds of becoming a victim of violent crime in Philadelphia is 1 in 102. At the same time, Pennsylvania has the chance of 1 in 261. It’s essential to remember that Philadelphia has a population of over 1.6 million, and the murder rate per capita is relatively low compared to other locations in the country. If you’re considering moving to Philadelphia, here is a list of the top six safest neighborhoods within the city; most of the neighborhoods are subjected to the Northwest & Northwest section of Philly. Bustleton is considered the safest part; total crime in Bustleton is 51% lower than the national average. Followed by Sumerton, Chestnut Hill, Rhawnhurst, Fox Chase, and Academy Gardens. Some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city are in North Philadelphia; here are a few areas most individuals try to avoid. Tioga-Nicetown has 190% more crime than the Philadelphia average. Other dangerous sections will be Alleghany West, North Central Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion, & Harrowgate. Philadelphia is a beautiful city, but like most big cities, it’s essential to know your surroundings and be cautious; where there is a large population, crime is bound to be.
City of Brotherly Love
Spending most of our lives as Philadelphia residents, we know first-hand the numerous positive aspects of Philly outweigh the cons. The city of brotherly love has incredible American history, endless museums, excellent job opportunities, and diverse cultures. Philadelphia is a favorite for tourists, averaging 2.5 million visitors a year! The impressive local colleges draw interest from potential students globally, and many fall in love with the city and decide to consider Philadelphia home for the long term. The benefit of accessible public transportation provides a simple commute throughout the city, sometimes allowing residents to live without a vehicle, limiting the central issue of locating a parking spot. Philadelphia is a fabulous city with great restaurants, nightlife, and family fun. Buying Property 215 highly recommends living in Philadelphia; we suggest conducting lengthy research on the different neighborhoods and which one will best be suited for your family; each community is unique. Sections of Philadelphia offer a small-town charm in a big city; begin the next chapter of your life in the city of brotherly love!