Philadelphia is not only one of the oldest cities in the US, but also one of the most important ones. The 18th century saw a lot of changes in America, and Philadelphia was the city where a new era was born. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both drafted and signed in this great city, so naturally it boasts of a lot of historical riches.
But Philly is far from stuck in the past; a buzzing cultural space, loads of great food, art and nature, and lively residents make it quite the city to call home. Read our relocation guide for moving to Philadelphia to see what goes into a move.
What Should I Know Before Moving to Philadelphia
Philly is a big city, with a 2020 population estimate of 1,591,800. This makes it the largest city in all of Pennsylvania, and the 6th largest city in the United States. It is currently growing at an annual rate of 0.24%, and spans over 143 miles with a population density of 11,854 people per square mile.
William Penn founded the city way back in 1682, and the city proudly bears remnants of its past, most notably Penn’s grid-system for the streets. It went on to serve as a location of great importance, as the Founding Fathers assembled here to draft and sign both, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It has loads of historical sights to see, some of the most famous being the Liberty Bell, the Independence Hall and the Museum of the American Revolution.
The fascinating Neoclassical-style Philadelphia Museum of Art has been an institution for art-lovers since the 1920s, and the Impressionist and Modernist paintings housed in the Barnes Foundation will bring joy to all. Music lovers have the best of the best in the premiere Philadelphia Orchestra.
Foodies have a paradise to discover, starting with the world-famous authentic Philly cheesesteak and their soft pretzels. There’s a range of restaurants; from street food to fine-dine, there’s all sorts of cuisines to be found. And when all that food starts to show on your body, sweat it out at one of Philly’s 200 parks, 166 miles of trails, and 60 community gardens and playgrounds.
The Poconos ranges and the beaches of Jersey are one to two hours away by road, so you get your fill of nature either way. It is also a well connected city, located on the 95 Corridor in the Northeast of the United States, and is within convenient proximity of New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
Crime Rate In Philadelphia
But as with any big city, crime has a palpable presence in Philly. The violent crime comparison per 1,000 residents is 9.12, while the national median is only 4. Your chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime, including murder and assault, is 1 in 110. The property crime comparison per 1,000 residents is 31.03, over the national median of 24. This makes your chances of becoming a victim of motor vehicle theft, arson, larceny, and burglary one in 32.
These figures may seem big, but for a city its size and compared to other similar sized cities, Philly is comparatively quite safe.
The weather in Philadelphia isn’t exactly moderate, as it experiences fairly distinct seasons throughout the year. Summers are hot, winters are cold and snowy, and rain makes its way around enough for the yearly average to be around 47 inches. Yearly temperatures range from 26°F to 87°F and the mercury rarely drops to below 13°F or above 94°F.
Summer lasts from May to September, with temperatures peaking in July. Average temperature highs and lows are around 87°F and 70°F respectively. Post September, a brief fall season sets in. Temperatures drop slightly, with October seeing averages of around 60°F and November seeing 50°F.
December sets in, and temperatures can drop to as low as 26°F, with average highs around 40°F. December is a wet and cold month, with showers of rain making the wintry cold unpleasant. Philly also gets an average of 15 inches of snow each year. Post the winter, spring sets in, with temperatures rising to around 55°F in April, and up another ten to 65°F in May. Overall, you can expect a little bit of rain for a few days every single month, as there is no season when the rain makes a proper entrance and exit.
Is Philadelphia Expensive To Live In?
Any move requires a budget, and most often than not, it is the budget that makes or breaks your every decision. And as much as doing a DIY move or getting cheap movers can help, eventually it is things like your salary and cost of living that determine how easy or hard your life in the new city will be. We can help you out with estimates and getting budget-friendly movers, but the decision boils down to you. Read on to figure out how expensive Philly is.
Cost Of Living In Philadelphia
The cost of living in Philly is 17% higher than the national average. A family of four will have to spend around $3,643.75 a month on expenses, excluding housing expenses. Likewise, a single person living in a house of their own in Philly will have to spend around $1016.02 a month.
Food and groceries are 16% higher than the national average,which brings your cost of a loaf of bread to $3,87. A gallon of milk is $2.25, while a carton of eggs is $2.10. Also, $3.90 would need to be shelled out for a bunch of bananas. Healthcare is also higher than the national average, this time by 6%. A visit to the doctor will cost around $117.02 and a visit to the dentist will cost around $100. Visiting the vet will cost $55.18.
Buying A House
Housing costs in Philly are 30% higher than the national average; after all, this city is packed with life, things to do, and excellent amenities. The typical home value of houses in Philly is $202,985, having undergone a 10.5% rise over the last year, and predicted to grow by another 11% in the next year. This is proof as clear as day that there are an increasing number of people headed to Philadelphia to call it home. The typical median home price is $449,365.
Renting A House
The average rent for an apartment in Philadelphia is $1,645 a month. Apartments in Philly are evenly scattered out across the price spectrum so you can easily choose a place that you vibe well with. 40% of the apartments are rented for between $1,000 and $1,500, while another 20% for $1,500 to $2,000. A good 45% of the households in Philadelphia are renter-occupied, showing proof to the fact that Philly is a good place to be rented in.
Utilities in Philadelphia cost 25% more than the national median. The average resident receives a monthly $118.27 water and sewer bill. You’re likely to spend around $208.74 a month on your energy bill, while the phone bill will come to around $222.51 a month. Gas is sold at $3 a gallon.
Philadelphia Economy And Employment Opportunities
One of the major industries in Philly is manufacturing, and has been since the 1970s. Today, nearly one in ten Philly residents work in manufacturing. Other major industries are oil refining, higher education, health, and social services. The average salary of Philadelphians is $69k.
Popular occupations in Philly are Project Managers, Operations Managers and Software Engineers. Collectively, these pay between $41k and $129k a year. Comcast Cable is one of the most popular employers in Philadelphia, and is one of the 4 Fortune 500 companies located in the city. Joining it are The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Thomas Jefferson University.
Philadelphia is served by the School District of Philadelphia; they operate 242 of the city’s public schools. These include 163 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, and 56 high schools. There are also 84 charter schools in Philly, alongside a slew of quality private schools. It is also home to one of the most extensive Catholic education systems in the US, with several Catholic elementary schools and 12 Catholic high schools.
Philadelphia contains the nation’s largest per capita concentration of higher education institutions, and they also happen to be among the city’s biggest employers. Among these are Thomas Jefferson University, the University of Pennsylvania and the Drexel University.
Getting Around Philadelphia
For a city this size, Philly has arguably one of the best public transportation systems in the nation. Most of the credit is due to SEPTA, or the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. This system is responsible for the public transportation in Philly, and caters to 1.3 million people on a daily basis. With a train, subway, trolley and bus line connecting the residents of Philly, SEPTA is the 6th largest public transportation system. SEPTA offers the SEPTA Key card, a rechargeable reusable card that commuters can use to pay their fares.
The average commute time in Philadelphia is 31.5 minutes, so you can factor that in while reading up about the different ways you can get around this city.
Philadelphia’s core is Center City, out of which extensive routes branch out, several to the famous sites and attractions in Philly. There are three main stations in Center City – Suburban, Jefferson and 30th Street. 30th Street is also the station from which Amtrak operates, so switching over is made effortless. A special Airport Line takes you from Center City to Philadelphia International Airport in under 25 minutes. And for those days when you’re in too much of a hurry, just take the Norristown High Speed line or the PATCO speed line.
The rail is divided into zones, and your fare depends on how far your journey takes you. The farthest zone will cost the most.
SEPTA buses have over 100 routes that run through Philly, several with 24 hour service. Routes are designed to connect at nearby intersections, loops, terminals and transportation centers.
There are 2 subway lines that run through Philly: The Market-Frankford Line (MFL) and Broad Street Line (BSL). Market – Frankford, also known as the blue line, runs on an east-west axis, while Broad Street, known as the orange line, runs from North to South. One ticket for a single ride costs $2.50.
Running both at street level and underground, Philly also has a total of 8 trolley lines. They operate in West Philadelphia, North Philadelphia and Center City.
Philly is one of America’s most walkable cities, all due to William Penn’s grid design for its streets. Streets are even named in an organized manner: north-south streets are numbered and the east-west streets are named after trees. Equally spread out are the five public squares—Franklin, Washington, Logan, Rittenhouse, and Center, now City Hall.
Over 440 miles of dedicated bike lanes run through the city, and the city also offers a bike-sharing program called Indigo. A service that has a daily, monthly and yearly pass option, you download the Indigo app or use an Indigo key to unlock one of the blue bicycles from the docking station. There are over 140 stations that are accessible 24 hours a day on any day of the year, and you can choose between classic bikes and electric bikes.
Parking in Philly is a bit troublesome, but the good news is that with such an extensive transportation system, you don’t need to have your own vehicle in Philadelphia. You can also make use of ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.
Best Neighborhoods In Philadelphia
When William Penn founded Philadelphia, he combined the Greek words for love (phileo) and brother (adelphos), naming it in this fashion. Till today, its nickname as the City of Brotherly Love is still in use, and reflects in the friendly fashion of its residents. There’s 20 neighborhoods in Philly; while definitely not as many as other cities like NYC or Seattle, there’s still a guaranteed neighborhood to fit every personality type in Philly.
1. Northern Liberties
As earlier mentioned, manufacturing has always been an important industry in Philly, and Northern liberties was one of the foremost districts of manufacturing. However, its affordability attracted troves of progressive artists in the early ‘90s, and inevitably turned into the trendy neighborhood it is today. There’s loads of bars and boutiques, chic restaurants and art galleries, making it ideal for youngsters and working professionals. The Market-Frankford train line that runs through ensures connectivity to the rest of Philly.
The typical house value is $486,780, while the average rent is $1,805.
2. Midtown Village
Midtown Village is conveniently located in the middle of Center City and has 20th-century commercial architecture. There’s a range of eateries and restaurants across varied cuisines, and it is home to several theatres and performing-arts venues. Most notably, it is also home to the Gayborhood. Marked with several pride flags, the Gayborhood was officially recognized by Philadelphia in 2007. Naturally, this also means having a significant presence of LGBTQ-friendly clubs and bars to hop into. The average home value is $430,236 while the average rent here is $1,960.
3. Point Breeze
Diverse cultures and lifestyles, loads of great restaurants and bars, great craft beer, fantastic cuisine and more, Point Breeze is one of Philly’s best neighborhoods to live in. While it isn’t necessarily the wrong neighborhood for families, Point Breeze is definitely perfect for young crowds that enjoy lively atmospheres. Living in Point Breeze gives you a dense suburban feel, and there’s a number of outdoor jazz concerts that take place in warm weather. The average rent of apartments in Point Breeze is $1,635, while the typical house value is $321,057.
Is Philadelphia A Good City To Live In?
Progressive, organized, systematic, and buzzing with things to do, life in Philadelphia sure seems like a good deal. The cost of living is certainly something that needs a little navigating around, and while there are jobs available, it is infinitely easier to move here with a job relocation package in hand. There’s a lot of people in Philly, but the public transportation is vast enough to cover the city’s 20 neighborhoods. You may not find the need to own your own vehicle in Philadelphia, which is not something that can be said of many cities in the United States. Overall, we think Philly is a great place for you to call home.
Once you’ve decided to make the move, make sure you chalk up a moving budget so you don’t blow up that down payment or first month of rent on your move itself. With our help, you can obtain a list of the best possible moving companies for your move that match your budget and requirements. Once you get our recommendations, simply contact them for a moving quote to get the process started.
See also: Best Moving Companies in Philadelphia