Pennsylvania is quite the grand state, with its nickname of the ‘Keystone State’, due to it being one of the 13 original founding states. The place is one which induces a lot of civic pride in its residents and it goes without saying that Pennsylvania is a treat for the eyes as much as it is for one’s brain. If you have plans to move here, keep reading to find out more about the culture, life in the state and if moving to Pennsylvania is the right decision for you.

What Should I Know Before Moving To Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a state in the mid-Atlantic, North east and the Appalachian region of the United States. It is the 33rd largest state while being the fifth most populous. The state covers an area of 46,055 square miles (119,283 km2) of which, 1239 square miles (3208 km2) is water, and houses a population of 12,801,989 as of 2019.

Pennsylvania loves its sports – major league, minor league, racing and college sports. Even a true sports enthusiast will find themselves spoilt for choice. Some of the teams are the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia 76ers – all major league teams of different sports. Some of the minor league ones are Triple-A, Harrisburg Senators and the Reading Fightin Phils.

The state also has some very prevalent cultural practices owing to its diverse ethnic groups- the Amish, the Mennonites and other small groups. One of the more recognizable traditions is that of the upside-down Christmas tree.

Let’s also talk about food. It isn’t good manners to miss the pierogi when in Pennsylvania. Or the dippy eggs or the Haluski for the matter. The Lebanese Bologna has a separate fan base. And if you ever thought that you have had the best sub of your life, you must try the Hoagies. Have the Shoo Fly Pie for dessert later.

When it comes to nightlife, believe it or not, you can go shopping at night in Pennsylvania. Not to mention the amazing selection of bars, late night restaurants and eateries, theatres and jazz clubs all waiting to be discovered and made a favourite of. One will not be short of things to do here once the sun sets.

Crime Rate In Pennsylvania

The rate of violent crime in Pennsylvania is 3.06, bringing the chances of being a victim of such to 1 in 326. Concerning property crime, the rate per 1000 residents as above is 14.03, meaning that the chances of being a victim are 1 in 71. This data is taken from NeighbourhoodScout. The statistics show that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a very safe place and this is one aspect of daily life that people living here need not worry about much.

Weather of Pennsylvania

Considering the very diverse range of terrains across Pennsylvania, the climate is bound to differ across the state. To classify it broadly, the major part of the state has what we call the ‘humid continental climate’, whereas the southeast corner carries a ‘humid subtropical climate’, which covers most of Philadelphia, Delaware and Maryland.
Summers are hot and carry tons of moisture in the air. The average summer temperature would be 950 F (350 C), while it drops to about 700 F (210 C) in the night.

Coming to the mountains, winters start being a lot colder with greater number of overcast days and higher snowfall. It’s common for Western parts of the state to get about 100 inches (250 cm) of snow annually, not to forget that it rains a lot in this state. Winters can have temperatures between 330 F (0.60 C) – 190 F (-7.20 C).
A major part of the year, namely spring to summer to autumn see a lot of tornadoes, though they have not been known to cause much damage ever.

Is Pennsylvania Expensive To Live In?

Now, this is a state in high demand due to its rich quality of life, state of the art school system, a fabulous economy and an extremely low rate of crime to support it all. So, it is attractive enough to hold your interest and consider it seriously. Now is the time to make the conclusive decision and that would require assessing the money one would actually need to be living here. Let’s start by looking at the taxes.

So, there is a state-wide income tax of 3.07% and a state-wide sales tax of 6%, though this would be added to the local sales tax. Property taxes here stand at 1.58% and when it comes to retirees, well, income tax is totally exempt. It is tax-friendly for retired people.

Cost Of Living In Pennsylvania

The cost-of-living index of Pennsylvania is lower than that of the country at 92.5. The median household income is $61,744. When it comes to the living expenses of a family of four, minus the rent, they would need about $3,625 per month, on average. Similarly, a single person would need $1,009 monthly, without including the rent.
At a supermarket, $1.06 will be leaving your pocket for a litre of milk and $3 for a loaf of bread. Eggs are $2.49 for a dozen and a kilogram of potatoes cost $4.60. A meal at a mid-range restaurant for a single person costs $15 and for two people, $55.

Healthcare costs look like paying $479 for a major medical insurance for a single individual, with prices and premiums varying by the person’s good health.

Buying A House In Pennsylvania

The average cost of a house in Pennsylvania, subject to city and neighbourhood is $200,000. This has of course, seen a rise, especially over the last year.

Renting A House In Pennsylvania

The average rent of a regular two-bedroom house in Pennsylvania is $1,200, subject to city and neighbourhood.

Utility Bills In Pennsylvania

When it comes to utility bills, an average apartment in Pennsylvania takes up $150 for electricity, garbage, heating, cooling and water. An internet connection, that you can use to no end is $61.

Transport is another everyday cost that must be taken account of. A one-way ticket is $2.5 and a monthly pass, $96. People who prefer taxis pay $3.5 as the base fare and $3.11 for every kilometre after that. Vehicle owners know that a litre of gas costs $0.71.

Economy And Employment Opportunities In Pennsylvania

The total gross state product of Pennsylvania in 2018 was $803 billion, ranking 6th in the United States. Its economy is large enough to function as one of the largest in the world. the state is surrounded by urban manufacturing centres. Philadelphia is home to 6 Fortune 50 companies and is leading the financial and insurance industry with many more in the King of Prussia. Pittsburgh has 8 of those companies, some being the US Steel, PPG Industries and Heinz. The state has a total of 50 Fortune 500s including Hershey and GE Transportation.
The largest private employers are Walmart and the University of Pennsylvania.

Banking is an important sector of the Pennsylvanian economy. There’s the Bank of North America which is now a part of Wells Fargo using national charter 1. There is also the sixth largest bank in the United States – the PNC Financial Services which was originally the Pittsburgh Savings and Trust Company and continues to be extremely relevant to the economy.

Agriculture as an industry is no joke in this state. It is the 1st in mushroom production, 2nd for apples, 3rd for Christmas trees and chicken, and 4th for nursery, sod, milk corn and grapes. It’s also the 8th in winemaking. In the United States, PA preferred is a brand in itself, made to support and promote the products and food that are locally grown. Agriculture as an industry employs 66,800 people and makes over $2 billion every year.

Gambling is another source of income for the economy, since its legalization in 2004. There are nine existing casinos in the state and more are under consideration and construction. This includes horse racing, slot machines, and table games like roulette, blackjack and craps. There are also plans in place to develop the film industry in Pennsylvania that could act as a major contributor to the growth of the state.

Education In Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvanian law, a child from the age of 8-17 must attend school, or at least until he graduates from an accredited school, whichever happens first. It is a point of civic pride that as of 2005, 83.8% of the residents have graduated from high school and 27.5% have gone further to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. It is a testament to the quality of education of the state that the students here very commonly rank high on standardized tests. In 2007, the state students ranked 14th in mathematics, 12th in reading and 10th in writing. Home schooling is legal here, provided the parents or the guardians meet the basic standards for it.

For higher education, it is the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education that is the public university system of the state and has 14 schools under its wing. Some of them are West Chester University, Temple University, Lincoln University and others.

Some of the other notable universities are Carnegie Mellon University, The Pennsylvania State University and the University of Pittsburgh that are invitation-only research universities.

The University of Pennsylvania is the state’s claim to the Ivy Leagues. Some other universities that act as Pennsylvania’s claim to fame are the Sea Grant College, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Getting Around Pennsylvania

Air Travel

There are seven major airports in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which are, namely, the Philadelphia International, Pittsburgh International, Lehigh Valley International, Harrisburg International, Erie International, University Park Airport and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. These are a part of the total 134 airports in the state.

Rail Travel

It is Amtrak that is in charge of the intercity rail transit in Pennsylvania. The major chunk of the traffic is in the Keystone Corridor on the ‘Keystone Service’ between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, before making its way to New York. Other lines are the Northeast Regional, Pennsylvanian, Capitol Limited and the Lake Shore Limited.
In the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area, it is the South eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) at play.

Road Travel

Intercity bus travel is taken care of by Bolt Bus, Fullington Trailways, greyhound Lines, Megabus, Ourbus and others. These are for between the cities of Pennsylvania and other cities in the North east. The Port Authority of Allegheny County is responsible for the transit bus services for Pittsburgh.

It is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) that owns and operates the 39,861 miles (64,150 km) of roads in the state. The roadways are fairly well connected and well established as reliable and easy modes of quick transport in and out of the state.

Also Read: Pennsylvania DMV Change of Address

Water Travel

The Port of Pittsburgh and the Port of Philadelphia have the distinction of being the 18th and 24th largest ports in the United States. The state has a port on the Great Lakes called Erie.

Best Cities To Live In Pennsylvania

1. Philadelphia

Philadelphia or Philly, as it is fondly called, is the largest city in the United States. It is home to many historic sites and art museums. It is extremely sought after as an education hub and the Philadelphia Orchestra is considered to be one of the top five in the state. It is one such place where the reviews for every sector of public life right from safety to family-friendliness or public transport, it is bound to come up rosy.

The cost of a house in this city is $210,041 and if rented, the price would be $1,800.

See Also: Moving to Philadelphia – Relocation Guide | 7 Largest U.S. Cities by Population

2. Pittsburgh

It is the county seat of Allegheny county and is the 66th largest city in the United States. Pittsburgh is steeped in its history of arts and culture and has several arts centres and organizations including the Quantum theatre, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre and the Chatham Baroque. It ranks high quite often on the list of ‘Nation’s Most Liveable Cities’. We bet you can’t wait to sample this city soon.

The cost of a house in this city, on average as per Zillow, is $201,443 and the rent for the same is $950.

3. Harrisburg

Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania and the 13th largest city in the state. It’s ranked in Forbes consistently as one of the best places to raise a family. It has an economy that is highly entrepreneurial and diversified between the service industry and government driven economy.

Culture wise, some of the highlights would be the nightlife of Harrisbburg, which has seen something of a resurgence these past few years and the frequent agricultural shows as well as the very central performance centres. The cost of buying a house here would be $181,333, and if rented, the price would be $1,200.

4. Allentown

It is a city in Lehigh County, the third largest city in the United States and the 233rd largest in the United States. The economy has its foundations in manufacturing though it has recently taken up more of the service industry and carries an incredible potential for growth in it.

The average cost of a house in Allentown is $197,938 and the rent for the same is $1200.

Related: 7 Largest States By Population in the U.S.

Is It A Good Idea To Move To Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is the kind of state, that is something of a worthy successor to the Big Apple, but at a lower cost of living. The state of Pennsylvania offers everything, an amazing life built upon a bed of excellent economic prospects, great social scenes and an opportunity to commit to a family-friendly environment. It is extremely possible for it to be a great idea to move to Pennsylvania, but the final decision lies in your hands, depending upon your points of consideration.

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