Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America, North America

Founded: 1682;
Incorporated: 1701
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania, between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers
Flag: Outer vertical stripes of blue, with seal centered on center yellow stripe.
Time Zone: 7 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: White, 57.2%; Black, 39.9%; Native American, 0.2%; and Asian/Pacific Islander, 2.7%
Elevation: 12 m (40 ft)
Latitude and Longitude: 39°95'N, 75°16'W
Climate: Continental climate moderated by the Appalachian mountains and the Atlantic Ocean; hot, humid summers
Annual Mean Temperature: 12.5 °C (54.6°F); January 0.6°C (33.1°F); August 23.7°C (74.7°F)
Seasonal Average Snowfall: 50.8 cm (20 in)
Average Annual Precipitation (rainfall and melted snow): 105.2 cm (41.4 in)
Government: Mayor-council
Weights and Measures: Standard U.S.
Monetary Units: Standard U.S.
Telephone Area Codes: 215
Postal Codes: 19101–60

2. Getting There

Philadelphia is located in southeastern Pennsylvania, where the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers meet. The city's fairly flat terrain resembles that of surrounding areas in New Jersey and Delaware rather than the hilly land characteristic of much of Pennsylvania's interior.


The major interstate access to Philadelphia is via I-95, running from Boston and points north all the way down to Florida. Intersecting with I-95 is I-76 (the Schuylkill Expressway), which extends westward through southern Pennsylvania. Other major routes in the area are I-276 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike), and I-676 (the Vine Street Expressway), which links I-76 to Camden, New Jersey. I-476 (the "Blue Route") runs along the suburbs to the west of the city, connecting I-76 and I-276 to the north with I-95 to the south.

Bus and Railroad Service

Philadelphia is one of the main stops on the Amtrak route that traverses the Boston-Washington corridor in the northeast of the country. Trains arrive at and depart from Penn Station. Intercity bus service is available on Greyhound and Peter Pan/Trailways. Intercity service to nearby destinations is provided by New Jersey Transit.


Philadelphia International Airport is a hub for Midway Airlines and US Airways. It also services the other major U.S. carriers, including American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, TWA, and United.


Penn's Landing is the largest freshwater port in the United States. Together with facilities in southern New Jersey and Delaware, it constitutes the Ports of Philadelphia, operated by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. The jointly operated port complex handles the East Coast's largest volume of international shipping freight.

Philadelphia Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 1,524,249
Area: 349.6 sq km (135 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 57.2% white; 39.9% black; 0.2% Native American; and 2.7% Asian
Nicknames: City of Brotherly Love

Metropolitan Area

Population: 4,398,000
Description: Philadelphia and surrounding communities
Area: 9,984.5 sq km (3,855 sq mi)
World population rank1: 52
Percentage of national population2: 1.6%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.4%
Ethnic composition: 76.9% white; 20% black; 2.9% Asian/Pacific Islander


  1. The Philadelphia metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of the United States' total population living in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

3. Getting Around

The streets of Philadelphia are laid out in a grid pattern, with numbered streets running north-south. Many of the east-west streets were named—by founding father William Penn (1644– 1718)—for local plants and trees, including Cherry, Chestnut, Walnut, Locust, Spruce, and Pine. The Delaware River to the east and the Schuylkill River to the west meet south of the city.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

Public transportation is operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and includes buses, trolleys, subways, and commuter trains. Bus lines include the PHLASH Bus service, which makes a loop through many of the downtown's major commercial and cultural sites, the Ben FrankLine, the Mid-City Loop, and the Chestnut Street Transitway. The commuter rail line, PATCO, connects the city with Camden, New Jersey, via the Ben Franklin Bridge. Underground Rapid Transit lines intersect underneath City Hall.


Bus tours of Philadelphia's historic sights are offered by Gray Line Tours and American Trolley Tours, whose "trolleys" are actually double-decker buses. Candlelight walking tours of historic Philadelphia are available also, as well as tours by horse and carriage. Boat tours that offer views of the city's skyline from the harbor are offered on the Spirit of Philadelphia and the Liberty Belle II.

8. Public Safety

Philadelphia is considered one of the nation's safest large metropolitan areas. In 1995, the city's incidence of reported violent crimes per 100,000 population was 1,436, including 28 murders, 51 rapes, and 889 robberies. The incidence of property crimes was 5,642 and included 1,057 burglaries and 1,556 motor vehicle thefts.

19. Tourism

An estimated three million tourists visit Philadelphia every year, drawn by the city's historic and cultural attractions. The Philadelphia Convention Center, located in the central historic district, has boosted the city's economy by creating new jobs in the service and retail sectors, as growing numbers of convention delegates visit Philadelphia.

22. For Further Study


A useful university directory for college students is the following directory of top universities and colleges in the United States listed by individual state, which also includes a university directory, edu search and a university search tool. Great university directory resource.

Philadelphia City Net. [Online] Available (accessed December 8, 1999).

Philadelphia City Pages. [Online] Available (accessed December 8, 1999).

Philadelphia Liberty Net. [Online] Available (accessed December 8, 1999).

Philadelphia Online. [Online] Available (accessed December 8, 1999).

Government Offices

Mayor's Office
215 City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(206) 686-2181

Philadelphia City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 686-1776

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Philadelphia Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(206) 447-5000

Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
1515 Market St., Suite 2020
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 636-3300


Philadelphia Business Journal
400 Market St., Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Philadelphia Daily News
P.O. Box 7788
Philadelphia, PA 19101

Philadelphia Inquirer
P.O. Box 8263
Philadelphia, PA 19101


Adams, Carolyn. Philadelphia: Neighborhoods, Division, and Conflict in a Post-industrial City. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.

Cotter, John L., Daniel G. Roberts, and Michael Parrington. The Buried Past: An Archaeological History of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992.

Davis, Allen F., and Mark H. Haller, eds. The Peoples of Philadelphia: A History of Ethnic Groups and Lower-class Life, 1790–1940. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.

Ellison, Elaine Krasnow, and Elaine Mark Jaffe. Voices from Marshall Street: Jewish Life in a Philadelphia Neighborhood, 1920–1960. Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1994.

Gephart, Elizabeth S. Philadelphia with Children: A Guide to the Delaware Valley Including Lancaster and Hershey. Illustrated by Candace Stringer. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1996.

Hulin-Salkin, Belinda. Greater Philadelphia: Into the Future, a Contemporary Portrait. 1st ed. Chatsworth, CA: Windsor Publications, 1991.

Hutchins, Catherine E. Shaping a National Culture: The Philadelphia Experience, 1750–1800. 1st ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994.

Morrone, Francis. An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia. Photography by James Iska. 1st ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith, 1999.

Rockland, Michael Aaron. Snowshoeing Through Sewers: Adventures in New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1994.

Seitz, Ruth Hoover. Philadelphia & Its Countryside. Photography by Blair Seitz ; foreword by James A. Michener. Harrisburg, PA: RB Books, 1994.

Stevick, Philip. Imagining Philadelphia: Travelers' Views of the City from 1800 to the Present. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996.