What's it like to live in Philadelphia, PA?


Katrina Rossos

Profile written by local expert:

Katrina Rossos

Philadelphia offers a unique setting for an eclectic mix of modern lifestyles, mingling both the edgy and the sophisticated. History and art are pervasive in the city proper. Walking through downtown, you'll likely spot murals and mosaics coating the sides of industrial warehouses and ivy climbing the walls of 300-year-old brick buildings. Culture is well-established in Philly, too, as evidenced by the array of art galleries, music venues and theaters, as well as the nation's oldest art museum.

Every section of Philly is distinct. Young professionals cluster in trendy neighborhoods like Fishtown and Old City, where dozens of restaurants and bars provide opportunities to socialize. Areas like Fairmount and Chestnut Hill cater to the more affluent city dwellers with boutique shops and upscale townhomes. Families tend to leave the center city area in favor of the quality schools and larger home options of areas like Manayunk, East Falls and Roxborough.

Small public parks are interspersed in the gridwork of Philadelphia, an important aspect of William Penn's design for Philadelphia. These green spaces bring welcome relief from the daily hustle and bustle and are an integral part of the City of Brotherly Love. And the best part? Living here won't break the bank.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is ranked:

#102 in Best Places to Live

#27 in Best Places to Retire

6.1

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    6.2
  • Value
    6.1
  • Job Market
    7.0
  • Quality of Life
    5.7
  • Net Migration
    5.7

Read how we rank places

Philadelphia, PA Quick Stats

  • 6,065,644

    Metro Population

  • $54,940

    Average Annual Salary

  • 64.6° / 47.1°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 38.6

    Median Age

  • $200,142

    Median Home Price

  • 41.5 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.2%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,075

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 29.5 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Philadelphia, PA?

Philadelphia's cost of living is only slightly higher than the national average, which is good compared with nearby East Coast metro areas like New York City and Washington, D.C. Housing costs have remained relatively stable year over year, even as home prices have risen around the country.

Value Index

Index Score: 6.1 /10

How we calculate this.


Philadelphia offers a comparable value to similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2018


Philadelphia
$200,142

USA
$227,025

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Philadelphia, PA.

What's the weather like in Philadelphia, PA?

Winters in Philadelphia can be downright cold, and the metro area is often subject to snowfall. However, during the spring, summer and fall, residents are quick to take advantage of the numerous outdoor spaces.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

35.4°F


Winter

53.8°F


Spring

76.0°F


Summer

58.1°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.6 in


Winter

3.8 in


Spring

4.4 in


Summer

3.8 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Philadelphia, PA?

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) offers buses, subways, trolleys and regional train lines throughout the city and the surrounding areas, extending as far as Wilmington, Delaware, and Trenton, New Jersey. The Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) train system connects central Philadelphia to Camden, New Jersey, and other New Jersey towns located right across the Delaware River. Meanwhile, central Philly has a reputation as one of the most walkable major cities in the country, making it easy for residents to forgo car ownership.

The average commute is about 30 minutes, but it can take longer for those who drive. Traffic can back up in Center City and on bridges, and parking is at a premium in the more congested areas. However, free parking is available in more residential communities.

The Philadelphia International Airport is the largest airport in Pennsylvania and is an international hub for American Airlines. Greyhound Bus Lines also have a major intercity bus terminal, while Amtrak connects Philly to other East Coast hubs by way of the 30th Street Station. 

Commuting in Philadelphia, PA

Means of Transportation
Driving
81%
Below national average

Bicycling
1%
Equal to national average

Walking
4%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
10%
Above national average
Average Commute Time

29.5 minutes

3.1 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Philadelphia, PA?

Millennials, families and empty nesters alike are flocking to the Philadelphia area because they can live in the city affordably. The metro area's universities also draw a large student population, which helps drop the population's average age. Philly is a great spot for dating as a little more than half of the population is single. When these singles marry and have kids, they often migrate outward to the suburbs in search of more space and quality schools.

Roughly half the population claims religious affiliation, with nearly a quarter of those who do identifying as Catholic. 

Unfortunately, Philly is one of the poorest big cities, with nearly 26 percent of its residents living in poverty.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Philadelphia as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Philadelphia, PA?

It should come as no surprise that the place that invented the cheesesteak is a huge foodie hub. From fine dining to an exploding food truck scene, Philly serves up a cultural smorgasbord of options for residents to sink their teeth into. Established beer gardens pepper the metro area as well.

Meanwhile, if there is one thing Philadelphia natives are known for, it's their unyielding love of their sports teams. Throughout the year, locals pack the stadiums, arenas and sports bars to cheer on their players. Philly's parks provide residents with plenty of opportunities to be active. Fairmount Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, features a multitude of wooded trails for hiking. Philadelphia is also home to numerous acclaimed cultural sites, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and monuments to American History: the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Philadelphia, PA