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Philadelphia ( ) is the largest city in Pennsylvaniamarker and the sixth-most-populous city in the United Statesmarker.

In 2008, the population of the city proper was estimated to be over 1.4 million, while the metropolitan area's population of 5.8 million made it the country's fifth-largest. The city is the nation's fourth-largest urban area by population and its fourth-largest consumer media market as ranked by the Nielsen Media Research. It is the county seat of Philadelphia Countymarker (with which it is coterminous). Popular nicknames for Philadelphia include Philly and The City of Brotherly Love, from , , Modern Greek: , "brotherly love" from φίλος, (philos, love), and αδελφός (adelphos, brother).

A commercial, educational, and cultural center, the city was once the second-largest in the British Empire (after Londonmarker), and the social and geographical center of the original 13 American colonies.Ben Franklin took a large role in Philadelphia's early rise to prominence. It was in this city that many of the ideas, and subsequent actions, gave birth to the American Revolution and American Independence, making Philadelphia a centerpiece of early American history. It was the most populous city of the young United States, and served as one of the nation's many capitals during the Revolutionary War and after. Following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, it was the temporary national capital from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, DCmarker was under construction.


Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Philadelphia area was the location of the Lenape Indian village Shackamaxon.

Europeans arrived in the Delaware Valley in the early 1600s, with the first settlements founded by the Dutchmarker, Britishmarker and Swedishmarker. After Sweden's first expedition to North America embarked in late 1637, the Swedes took control of land on the west side of the Delaware River from just below the Schuylkill River: today's Philadelphia, southeast Pennsylvaniamarker, Delawaremarker, and Marylandmarker. In 1644, New Sweden supported the Susquehannocks in their military defeat of the English province of Maryland. But 11 years later, the Dutch sent an army to the Delaware River, nominally taking control of the colony, though Swedish and Finnish settlers continued to have their own militia, religion, court, and lands. The English conquered the New Netherland colony in October 1663–1664, but the situation did not really change until 1682, when the area was included in William Penn's charter for Pennsylvaniamarker.

In 1681, in partial repayment of a debt, Charles II of England granted William Penn a charter for what would become the Pennsylvania colony. Despite the royal charter, Penn bought the land from the local Lenape to be on good terms with the Native Americans and ensure peace for his colony. According to legend Penn made a treaty of friendship with Lenape chief Tammany under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, in what is now the city's Fishtown sectionmarker. As a Quaker, Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely despite their religion, and this extreme tolerance which led to significantly healthier relationships with the local Native tribes than most other colonies had, also encouraged the rapid growth of Philadelphia into America's most important city. Penn named the city Philadelphia, which is Greek for brotherly love (philos, "love" or "friendship", and adelphos, "brother").Penn planned a city on the Delaware River to serve as a port and place for government. Hoping that Philadelphia would become more like an English rural town instead of a city, Penn laid out roads on a grid plan to keep houses and businesses spread far apart, allowing them to be surrounded by gardens and orchards. The city's inhabitants didn't follow Penn's plans and crowded by the Delaware River and subdivided and resold their lots. Before Penn left Philadelphia for the last time, he issued the Charter of 1701 establishing Philadelphia as a city. The city soon established itself as an important trading center, poor at first, but with tolerable living conditions by the 1750s. Benjamin Franklin, a leading citizen of the time, helped improve city services and founded new ones, such as the American Colonies' first hospitalmarker.

Philadelphia's importance and central location in the colonies made it a natural center for America's revolutionaries. The city hosted the First Continental Congress before the war; the Second Continental Congress, which signed the United States Declaration of Independence, during the war; and the Constitutional Convention after the war. Several battles were fought in and near Philadelphia as well. After the war, Philadelphia served as the new United States' capital in the 1790s. In 1793, the largest yellow fever epidemic in U.S. history killed as many as5,000 people in Philadelphia, roughly 10% of the population.
The state government left Philadelphia in 1799 and the federal government left soon after in 1800, but the city remained the young nation's largest and a financial and cultural center. New York Citymarker soon surpassed Philadelphia in population, but construction of roads, canals, and railroads helped turn Philadelphia into the United States' first major industrial city. Throughout the 19th century, Philadelphia had a variety of industries and businesses, the largest being textiles. Major corporations in the 19th and early 20th centuries included the Baldwin Locomotive Worksmarker, William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Companymarker, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Industry, along with the U.S. Centennial, was celebrated in 1876 with the Centennial Exposition, the first official World's Fair in the United States. Immigrants, mostly Germanmarker and Irishmarker, settled in Philadelphia and the surrounding districts. The rise in population of the surrounding districts helped lead to the Act of Consolidation of 1854 which extended the city of Philadelphia to include all of Philadelphia Countymarker. In the later half of the century immigrants from Russiamarker, Eastern Europe and Italymarker and African Americans from the southern U.S. settled in the city.

By the 20th century, Philadelphia had become known as "corrupt and contented," with a complacent population and entrenched Republican political machine. The first major reform came in 1917 when outrage over the election-year murder of a police officer led to the shrinking of the Philadelphia City Council from two houses to just one. In the 1920s, the public flouting of Prohibition laws, mob violence, and police involvement in illegal activities led to the appointment of Brigadier General Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps as director of public safety, but political pressure prevented any long-term success in fighting crime and corruption.

The population peaked at more than two million residents in 1950, then began to decline. Revitalization and gentrification of neighborhoods began in the 1960s and continues into the 21st century, with much of the development in the Center Citymarker and University Citymarker areas of the city. After many of the old manufacturers and businesses had left Philadelphia or shut down, the city started attracting service businesses and began to more aggressively market itself as a tourist destination. Glass-and-granite skyscrapers were built in Center City. Historic areas such as Independence National Historical Parkmarker located in Old City and Society Hill were resuscitated during the reformist mayoral era of the 1950s through the 1980s and are now among the most desirable living areas of Center City. This has slowed the city's 40-year population decline after losing nearly one-quarter of its population.



Philadelphia is located at 40° 00′ north latitude and 75° 09′ west longitude. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which is land and , or 5.29%, is water. Bodies of water include the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, and Cobbs, Wissahickon, and Pennypack Creeks.

The lowest point is sea level, while the highest point is in Chestnut Hillmarker, at approximately above sea level (near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike).

Philadelphia is located on the Fall Line separating the Atlantic Coastal Plain from the Piedmont. The rapids on the Schuylkill River at East Falls disappeared after the completion of the Fairmount Dam.

The city is the seat of its own countymarker. The adjacent counties are Montgomerymarker to the north; Bucksmarker to the northeast; Burlington County, New Jerseymarker to the east; Camden County, New Jerseymarker to the southeast; Gloucester County, New Jerseymarker to the south; and Delaware Countymarker to the west.


Philadelphia falls in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate zone. Summers are typically hot and muggy, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is cold. Snowfall is variable, with some winters bringing moderate snow and others bringing some snowstorms. Annual snowfall averages 21 inches (534 mm). Precipitation is generally spread throughout the year, with eight to eleven wet days per month, at an average annual rate of 42 inches (1068 mm).

January lows average 25 °F (−4 °C) and highs average 39 °F (4 °C). The lowest officially recorded temperature was −11 °F (−24 °C) on February 9, 1934, but temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) occur only a few times a decade. July lows average 70 °F (21 °C) and highs average 86 °F (30 °C), although heat waves accompanied by high humidity are frequent with highs above 95 °F (35 °C) and the heat index running as high as 110 °F (43 °C). The highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) on August 7, 1918. Early fall and late winter are generally driest, with February being the driest month, averaging only 2.74 inches (69.8 mm) of precipitation.



Philadelphia's neighborhoods are divided into large sections — North, Northeastmarker, Northwest, West, South and Southwest Philadelphia — all of which surround Center Citymarker, which corresponds largely with the city's limits before consolidation in 1854. Each of these large areas contains numerous smaller neighborhoods, some of whose boundaries derive from the boroughs, townships, and other communities that made up Philadelphia County before their absorption into the city. Other neighborhoods are defined more by ethnicity, religion, culture, or commercial reasons.


Philadelphia's architectural history dates back to Colonial times and includes a wide range of styles. The earliest structures were constructed with logs, but brick structures were common by 1700. During the 18th century, the cityscape was dominated by Georgian architecture, including Independence Hallmarker and Christ Churchmarker.

In the first decades of the 19th century, Federal architecture and Greek Revival architecture were dominated by Philadelphia architects such as Benjamin Latrobe, William Strickland, John Haviland, John Notman, Thomas U. Walter, and Samuel Sloan. Frank Furness is considered Philadelphia's greatest architect of the second half of the 19th century, but his contemporaries included John McArthur, Jr., Addison Hutton, Wilson Eyremarker, the Wilson Brothers, and Horace Trumbauer. In 1871, construction began on the Second Empire-style Philadelphia City Hallmarker. Despite the construction of steel and concrete skyscrapers in the 1910s, '20s and '30s, the City Hall remained the tallest building in the city until 1987 when One Liberty Placemarker was constructed.

Numerous glass and granite skyscrapers were built from the late 1980s onwards. In 2007, the Comcast Centermarker surpassed One Liberty Place to become the city's tallest building and make Philadelphia one of only four American cities with two or more buildings over 900 feet.

For much of Philadelphia's history, the typical Philadelphia home has been the row house. The row house was introduced to the United States via Philadelphia in the early 1800s and, for a time, row houses built elsewhere in the United States were known as "Philadelphia rows". There is a variety of row houses throughout the city from Victorian-style homes in North Philadelphia to twin row houses in West Philadelphia. While newer homes are scattered throughout the city, much of Philadelphia's housing is from the early 20th century or older. The age of the city's homes has created numerous problems which has led to blight and vacant lots in many parts of the city, while other neighborhoods such as Society Hillmarker, which has the largest concentration of 18th-century architecture in the United States, have been rehabilitated and gentrified.


Philadelphia is home to many national historical sites that relate to the founding of the United States. Independence National Historical Parkmarker is the center of these historical landmarks. Independence Hallmarker, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bellmarker are the city's most famous attractions. Other historic sites include homes for Edgar Allan Poemarker, Betsy Rossmarker, and Thaddeus Kosciuszkomarker, early government buildings like the Firstmarker and Second Banks of the United Statesmarker, Fort Mifflinmarker, and the Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site.

Philadelphia's major science museums include the Franklin Institutemarker, which contains the Benjamin Franklin National Memorialmarker, the Academy of Natural Sciencesmarker, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropologymarker. History museums include the National Constitution Centermarker, the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphiamarker History, the National Museum of American Jewish Historymarker, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the state of Pennsylvania and The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania and Eastern State Penitentiarymarker. Philadelphia is home to the United States' first zoomarker and hospitalmarker.


The city contains many art museums such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Artsmarker and the Rodin Museummarker, the largest collection of work by Auguste Rodin outside of France. The city’s major art museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Artmarker, is one of the largest art museums in the United States and features the stepsmarker made popular by the film Rocky.

The city is home to the Philadelphia Sketch Club, one of the country's oldest artists' clubs; and to a profusion of art galleries, many of which participate in the First Friday event. The first Friday of every month galleries in Old City are open late. Annual events include film festivals and parades, the most famous being the New Year's Day Mummers Parade.

Areas such as South Street and Old Citymarker have a vibrant night life. The Avenue of the Arts in Center City contains many restaurants and theaters, such as the Kimmel Center for the Performing Artsmarker, which is home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Academy of Musicmarker, the nation's oldest continually operating venue, home to the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has more public art than any other American city. In 1872, the Fairmount Park Art Association was created, the first private association in the United States dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. In 1959, lobbying by the Artists Equity Association helped create the Percent for Art ordinance, the first for a U.S. city. The program, which has funded more than 200 pieces of public art, is administered by the Philadelphia Office of Arts and Culture, the city's art agency.

In particular, Philadelphia has more murals than any other U.S. city, thanks in part to the 1984 creation of the Department of Recreation's Mural Arts Program, which seeks to beautify neighborhoods and provide an outlet for graffiti artists. The program has funded more than 2,800 murals by professional, staff and volunteer artists and educated over 20,000 underserved youth in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has had a prominent role in music. In the 1970s, Philadelphia soul influenced the music of that and later eras. On July 13, 1985, Philadelphia hosted the American end of the Live Aid concert at John F. Kennedy Stadiummarker. The city reprised this role for the Live 8 concert, bringing some 700,000 people to the Ben Franklin Parkwaymarker on July 2, 2005. Philadelphia is also home to the world-renowned Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale, who have performed their music all over the world. Dr. Robert G. Hamilton, founder of the choir, is a famous Philadelphian. The Philly Pops is another famous Philadelphia music group. The city has played a major role in the development and support of American rock music and rap music. Hip-hop/Rap Artists such as The Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Beanie Segal, The Goats, Freeway, Schooly D, Eve and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes hail from Philadelphia.


Pat's Steaks in South Philadelphia.

The city is known for its hoagies, scrapple, soft pretzels, water ice, Tastykakemarker, and is home to the cheesesteak. Its high-end restaurants include Le Bec-Finmarker and Morimoto, run by chef Masaharu Morimoto, who rose to prominence on the Iron Chef television show.


Philadelphia's professional sports teams date at least to the 1860 founding of baseball's Athletics, which later moved to Oakland, Californiamarker. The city is one of 13 U.S. cities to have all four major sports: the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League of Major League Baseball, and the Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association.

The city's professional teams went without a championship from 1983, when the 76ers won the NBA Championship, until 2008, when the Phillies won the World Series. In 2004, ESPN ranked Philadelphia second on its list of The Fifteen Most Tortured Sports Cities. The failure was sometimes attributed in jest to the "Curse of Billy Penn." Also, in recent years, Philadelphia sports teams have befallen to what John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News called the "Curse of the Inauguration," an alleged curse on all Philadelphia sports teams for their inability to win a championship whenever they have gone to their league's finals during a presidential inaugural year, dating back to the 76ers loss in the 1977 NBA Finals.

Major-sport professional sports teams that originated in Philadelphia but ultimately moved to other cities include the Golden State Warriors basketball team and the Oakland Athletics baseball team.

Philadelphia is home to professional, semi-professional and elite amateur teams in cricket and other sports. Major sporting events in the city include the Penn Relays, Stotesbury Cup, Philadelphia Marathon, Broad Street Run, Philadelphia International Championship bicycle race, and the Dad Vail Regatta.

Philadelphia is home to the Philadelphia Big 5, a group of five Division I college basketball programs: Big 5 are Saint Joseph's Universitymarker, University of Pennsylvaniamarker, La Salle Universitymarker, Temple Universitymarker, and Villanova Universitymarker. The sixth NCAA Division I school in Philadelphia is Drexel Universitymarker. At least one of the teams is competitive nearly every year and at least one team has made the NCAA tournament for the past four decades.

In February 2008, Philadelphia beat several other cities in competition for the 16th Major League Soccer franchise. The Philadelphia Union will enter the league in 2010 calling Union Field at Chestermarker their home (a soccer-specific stadium) in Chester, Pennsylvaniamarker.

Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Philadelphia Phillies MLB Baseball Citizens Bank Parkmarker 1883 1980, 2008
Philadelphia 76ers NBA Basketball Wachovia Centermarker 1963 1966-67, 1982-83
Philadelphia Eagles NFL American Football Lincoln Financial Fieldmarker 1933 1948, 1949, 1960
Philadelphia Flyers NHL Ice Hockey Wachovia Centermarker 1967 1973–74, 1974–75
Philadelphia Union MLS Soccer Union Field at Chestermarker

(in Chester, PAmarker)
2010 none
Philadelphia Independence WPS Women's Soccer Union Field at Chestermarker

(in Chester, PAmarker)
2010 none
Philadelphia Wings NLL Arena Lacrosse Wachovia Centermarker 1987 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2001
Philadelphia KiXX NISL Arena Soccer Liacouras Centermarker 1996 2001-02, 2006-07


Philadelphia's economic sectors include manufacturing, oil refining, food processing, health care and biotechnology, tourism and financial services. According to a study prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopersmarker, Philadelphia and its surrounding region had the fourth highest GDP among American cities, with a total GDP of $312 billion in 2005. Only New York Citymarker ($1,133 billion), Los Angelesmarker ($693 billion), and Chicagomarker ($460 billion) had higher total economic output levels among American cities. Philadelphia ranked below Tokyomarker ($1,191 billion), Parismarker ($460 billion), Londonmarker ($452 billion), Osaka-Kobe ($391 billion), Mexico Citymarker ($315 billion), and above Washington, D.C.marker ($299 billion) and Bostonmarker ($290 billion).

The city is home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchangemarker and several Fortune 500 companies, including cable television and internet provider Comcast, insurance companies Colonial Penn, CIGNA and Lincoln Financial Group, energy company Sunoco, food services company Aramark and Crown Holdings Incorporated, chemical makers Rohm and Haas Company and FMC Corporation, pharmaceutical companies Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline, Boeing helicopters division, and automotive parts retailer Pep Boys. Early in the 20th Century, it was also home to the pioneering brass era automobile company Biddle.

The federal government has several facilities in Philadelphia. The city served as the capital city of the United Statesmarker, before the construction of Washington, D.C.marker Today, the East Coast operations of the United States Mint are based near the historic district, and the Federal Reserve Bank's Philadelphia division is based there as well. Philadelphia is also home to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

With the historic presence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the large ridership at 30th Street Stationmarker, Amtrak maintains a significant presence in the city. These jobs include customer service representatives and ticket processing and other behind-the-scenes personnel, in addition to the normal functions of the railroad.

Baltimore Avenue towards Center City.

The city is a national center of law because of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Lawmarker, Temple University Beasley School of Lawmarker, Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, Villanova University School of Lawmarker, and Widener University School of Law. Additionally, the headquarters of the American Law Institute is located in the city.

Philadelphia is an important center for medicine, a distinction that it has held since the colonial period. The city is home to the first hospital in the British North American colonies, Pennsylvania Hospitalmarker, and the first medical school in what is now the United States, at the University of Pennsylvaniamarker (Penn). Penn, the city's largest private employer, also runs a large teaching hospital and extensive medical system. There are also major hospitals affiliated with Temple University School of Medicinemarker, Drexel University College of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson Universitymarker, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicinemarker. Philadelphia also has three distinguished children's hospitals: Children's Hospital of Philadelphiamarker, the nation's first pediatric hospital (located adjacent to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania), St. Christopher's Hospital, and the Shriners' Hospital. In the city's northern section are Albert Einstein Hospital, and in the northeast section, Fox Chase Cancer Centermarker. Together, health care is the largest sector of employment in the city. Several medical professional associations are headquartered in Philadelphia.

With Philadelphia's importance as a medical research center, the region supports the pharmaceutical industry. GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Wyeth, Merck, GE Healthcare, Johnson and Johnsonmarker and Siemens Medical Solutions are just some of the large pharmaceutical companies with operations in the region. The city is also home to the nation's first school of pharmacy, the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, now called the University of the Sciences in Philadelphiamarker.

Tourism is a major industry in Philadelphia, which was the 11th-most-visited city in the United States in 2008. It welcomed 710,000 visitors from foreign countries in 2008, up 29% from the previous year.


Shopping options in Center Citymarker include The Gallery at Market Eastmarker, The Shops at Liberty Place, Jewelers' Row, South Streetmarker, and a variety of standalone independent retailers. Rittenhouse Row, a four block section of Walnut Street, has higher-end clothing chain stores as well as hipster-inspired clothing stores. The parallel streets of Sansom and Chestnut in this area have some high end boutiques and clothing retailers. Old City has some emerging boutiques from local, as well as international merchandisers. The Reading Terminal Marketmarker includes dozens of take-out restaurants, specialty food vendors, and small grocery store operators, a few of which are operated by Amish farmers from nearby Lancaster Countymarker.

Philadelphia also has a few eclectic neighborhood shopping districts, usually consisting of a few blocks along a major neighborhood thoroughfare, such as in Manayunkmarker or Chestnut Hillmarker. The Italian Marketmarker in South Philadelphia offers groceries, meats, cheeses and housewares, historically from Italy, but now from many nationalities. Two famed cheesesteak restaurants, Geno'smarker and Pat'smarker, are located nearby.

There are several large shopping malls and strip malls in the region, including Franklin Millsmarker in Northeast Philadelphiamarker, and many in the suburbs, most notably the King of Prussia Mallmarker in King of Prussiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, 19 miles from the heart of the city. The King of Prussia Mall is the largest shopping mall on the USmarker East Coast and the largest in the country in terms of leasable retail space.


The Inquirer Building on North Broad Street.

Philadelphia's two major daily newspapers are The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, both of which are owned by Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C. The Philadelphia Inquirer, founded in 1829, is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the United States. The Bulletin, another newspaper that operates in Philadelphia, traces its history back to The Philadelphia Bulletin that went defunct in 1982. The Bulletin is locally owned by The Bulletin, Inc.

The first experimental radio license was issued in Philadelphia in August, 1912 to St. Joseph's Collegemarker. The first commercial radio stations appeared in 1922: first WIP, then owned by Gimbel's department store, on March 17, followed the same year by WFILmarker, WOO, WCAUmarker and WDAS. The highest-rated stations in Philadelphia include soft rock WBEBmarker, KYW Newsradiomarker, and urban adult contemporary WDAS-FM. Philadelphia is served by three major public radio stations, WHYY-FM (NPR), WRTI (jazz, classical), and WXPN-FM (adult alternative music), as well as several smaller stations.

In the 1930s, the experimental station W3XEmarker, owned by Philco, became the first television station in Philadelphia; it became NBC's first affiliate in 1939, and later became KYW-TVmarker (CBS). WCAU-TVmarker, WPVI-TVmarker, WHYY-TVmarker, WPHL-TVmarker, and WTXF-TVmarker had all been founded by the 1970s. In 1952 WFIL (now WPVI), premiered the television show Bandstand, which later became the nationally broadcast American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark. Today, as in many large metropolitan areas, each of the commercial networks has an affiliate, and call letters have been replaced by corporate IDs: CBS3, 6ABC, NBC10, FOX29, Telefutura28, Telemundo62, Univision65, plus My PHL 17 and CW Philly 57marker. The region is served also by public broadcasting stations WYBE-TVmarker (Philadelphia), WHYY-TV (Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia), WLVT-TVmarker (Lehigh Valley), and New Jersey Networkmarker. In September 2007, Philadelphia approved a public access cable channel.

Rock stations WMMR and WYSP have traditionally been intense rivals. Since 2005, WMMR has played more music after a shift in WYSP's programming from rock (including controversial shock jock Howard Stern) to a Free FM format. WYSP has since returned to the classic rock format it shed in 1995. WYSP also broadcasts all Philadelphia Eagles games. WMMR's The Preston and Steve Show has been the area's top-rated morning show since Howard Stern left for Sirius Radio. In November 2008, WYSP launched a competing show hosted by Philadelphia native Danny Bonaduce. Both stations host regular live music and other events in throughout the region.

Four urban stations (WUSL ("Power 99"), WPHImarker ("100.3 The Beat"), WDAS and WRNB) are popular choices on the FM dial. WNUW is the city's Adult Contemporary station. The station had been home of "Smooth Jazz" WJJZ after the format was dropped from the 106.1 frequency (now WISX) but the format was dropped once again due to poor ratings.


Philadelphia is home to many "first-in-America" institutions, including:


As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 42.7% of Philadelphia's population; of which 39.4% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 43.8% of Philadelphia's population; of which 43.0% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indian made up 0.2% of the city's population. Asian Americans made up 5.4% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 6.2% of the city's population; of which 0.4% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.6% of the city's population; of which 1.2% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 10.3% of Philadelphia's population.

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,517,550 people, 590,071 households, and 352,272 families residing in the city. The population density was 11,233.6/square mile (4,337.3/km²). There were 661,958 housing units at an average density of 4,900.1/sq mi (1,891.9/km²). As of the 2004 Census estimations, there were 1,463,281 people, 658,799 housing units, and the racial makeup of the city was 45.0% White, 43.2% African American, 5.5% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.8% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population. The top 5 largest ancestries include Irish (13.6%), Italian (9.2%), German (8.1%), Polish (4.3%), and English (2.9%).

Of the 590,071 households, 27.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.1% were married couples living together, 22.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.3% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 25, 29.3% from 25 to 45, 20.3% from 45 to 65, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,746, and the median income for a family was $37,036. Males had a median income of $34,199 versus $28,477 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,509. About 18.4% of families and 22.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.3% of those under age 18 and 16.9% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2008 more than 500,000 immigrants call the Philadelphia metropolitan area home. More than one-fifth of these immigrants have arrived since 2000, resulting in an increase of 113,000 immigrants between the years 2000 and 2006. This is nearly the same amount of immigrants that arrived during the decade of the 1990s, of which today comprise 10.9% of the city's population. As reported by the Brookings Institution, the Philadelphia area is poised to re-emerge as a destination for immigrants, a longtime characteristic of the region that stalled in the mid-20th century.

Philadelphia has the second largest Irish, Italian, and Jamaican populations and the fourth largest African American population in the nation. Philadelphia also has the fourth largest population of Polish residents. In recent years, the Hispanic and Asian American populations have significantly increased. Hispanics have settled throughout the city, especially around El Centro de Oro. Philadelphia is home to the third largest Puerto Rican population in the United States. In recent years many Mexican immigrants have come to areas around the Italian Market. There are an estimated 10,000 Mexicans living in South Philadelphia. Mexicans and Guatemalans also have settled in small communities in North Philadelphia, mainly in the Kensington neighborhood. Colombian immigrants have also come to the Olney neighborhood. The Asian population was once concentrated in the city's thriving Chinatownmarker, but now Korean Americans have come to Olneymarker, and Vietnamesemarker have forged bazaars next to the Italian Marketmarker in South Philadelphia. Concentrations of Cambodian American neighborhoods can be found in North and South Philadelphia. Indiansmarker and Arabs have come to Northeast Philadelphiamarker along with Russian and Ukrainian immigrants. This large influx of Asians has given Philadelphia one of the largest populations of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Chinese, Indonesians and Koreans in United Statesmarker. The Philadelphia region also has the fourth largest population of Indian Americans. The West Indianmarker population is concentrated in Cedar Parkmarker. Germans, Greeks, Chinese, Japanese, English, Pakistanis, Iranians, and also immigrants from the former Yugoslavia along with other ethnic groups can be found throughout the city.


City Hall illuminated with projected lights for the 2005 winter holidays.
From a governmental perspective, Philadelphia County is a legal nullity, as all county functions were assumed by the city in 1952, which has been coterminous with the county since 1854.

Philadelphia’s 1952 Home Rule Charter was written by the City Charter Commission, which was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in an Act of April 21, 1949, and a city ordinance of June 15, 1949. The existing City Council received a proposed draft on February 14, 1951, and the electors approved it in an election held April 17, 1951. The first elections under the new Home Rule Charter were held in November, 1951, and the newly elected officials took office in January, 1952.

The city uses the "strong-mayor" version of the mayor-council form of government, which is headed by one mayor, in whom executive authority is vested. Elected "at-large," the mayor is limited to two consecutive four-year terms under the city's home rule charter, but can run for the position again after an intervening term. The current city mayor, having taken office in January 2008, is Michael Nutter, replacing John F. Street who served two terms from 1999 to the end of 2007. Nutter, as all Philadelphia mayors have been since 1952, is a member of the Democratic Party, which tends to dominate local politics so thoroughly that the Democratic primary for mayor is often more noticeable than the general mayoral election. The legislative branch, the Philadelphia City Council, consists of ten council members representing individual districts and seven members elected at large. The current council president is Anna C. Verna.

The Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas (First Judicial District) is the felony-level trial court of general jurisdiction for Philadelphia. It is funded and operated largely by city resources and employees. The Philadelphia Municipal Court handles matters of limited jurisdiction as well as landlord-tenant disputes, appeals from traffic court, preliminary hearings for felony-level offenses, and misdemeanor criminal trials. Traffic Court is a court of special jurisdiction that hears violations of traffic laws.

Pennsylvania's three appellate courts also have sittings in Philadelphia. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvaniamarker, the court of last resort in the state, regularly hears arguments in Philadelphia City Hallmarker. Also, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sit in Philadelphia several times a year. Judges for these courts are elected at large. Each court has a prothonotary's office in Philadelphia as well.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission was created in 1955 to preserve the cultural, social, political, economic and architectural history of the city. The commission maintains the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, adding historic buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts as it sees fit.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority is the largest landlord in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Established in 1937, it is the nation’s fourth-largest housing authority, housing approximately 84,000 people and employing 1,250. In 2006, its budget was $313 million.

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Philadelphia. The main Philadelphia Post Office is at 3000 Chestnut Street in the University Citymarker district. The facility at 3000 Chestnut became Philadelphia's main post office at 8 A.M. on Monday September 29, 2008, after the closure of the former main post office at 30th Street and Market Street in University City.

Politics and elections

Presidential election results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 16.33% 117,221 83.01% 595,980
2004 19.3% 130,099 80.4% 542,205
2000 18.0% 100,959 80.0% 449,182
1996 16.0% 85,345 77.5% 412,988
1992 20.9% 133,328 68.2% 434,904
1988 32.5% 219,053 66.6% 449,566
1984 34.6% 267,178 64.9% 501,369
1980 34.0% 244,108 58.7% 421,253
1976 32.0% 239,000 66.3% 494,579
1972 43.4% 340,096 55.1% 431,736
1968 30.0% 254,153 61.8% 525,768
1964 26.2% 239,733 73.4% 670,645
1960 31.8% 291,000 68.0% 622,544

As of November 2008, there are 1,126,768 registered voters in Philadelphia.

From the American Civil War until the mid-20th century, Philadelphia was a bastion of the Republican Party, which arose from the staunch pro-Northern views of Philadelphia residents during and after the war. After the Great Depression, Democratic registrations increased, but the city was not carried by Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt in his landslide victory of 1932 (in which Pennsylvania was one of the few states won by Republican Herbert Hoover). While other Northern industrial cities were electing Democratic mayors in the 1930s and 1940s, Philadelphia did not follow suit until 1951. That is, Philadelphia never had a "New Deal" coalition.

The city is now one of the most Democratic in the country, despite the frequent election of Republicans to statewide offices since the 1930s; in 2008, Democrat Barack Obama drew 83% of the city's vote.

Philadelphia once comprised six congressional districts. However, as a result of the city's declining population, it now has only four: the 1st district, represented by Bob Brady; the 2nd, represented by Chaka Fattah; the 8th, represented by Patrick Murphy; and the 13th, represented by Allyson Schwartz. All four are Democrats. Although they are usually swamped by Democrats in city, state and national elections, Republicans still have some support in the area; a Republican represented a significant portion of Philadelphia in the House as late as 1983. Pennsylvania's Democratic Senator, Arlen Specter, is from Philadelphia.


Like many American cities, Philadelphia saw a gradual yet pronounced rise in crime in the years following World War II. There were 525 murders in 1990, a rate of 31.5 per 100,000. There were an average of about 600 murders a year for most of the 1990s. The murder count dropped in 2002 to 288, then surged four years later to 406. Out of the ten most populous cities in the United States in 2006, Philadelphia had the highest homicide rate at 27.7 per 100,000 people, though the number of murders decreased to 392 in 2007.

In 2004, there were 7,513.5 crimes per 200,000 people in Philadelphia. In 2005, Philadelphia was ranked by Morgan Quitno as the sixth-most dangerous among 32 American cities with populations over 500,000. Among its neighboring Mid-Atlantic cities in the same population group, Baltimoremarker and Washington, D.C.marker were ranked second- and third-most dangerous cities in the United States, respectively, and Camdenmarker, New Jerseymarker, a city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, was ranked as the most dangerous city in the United States.

In 2008, Camden was the second-most dangerous city in the country, lower than its 2004 ranking, but still high for a city its size, while Philadelphia was ranked 22nd.


Education in Philadelphia is provided by many private and public institutions. The School District of Philadelphia runs the city's public schools. The Philadelphia School District is the eighth largest school district in the United States with 210,432 students in 346 public and charter schools.

Philadelphia is one of the largest college towns in the United States and has the second-largest student concentration on the East Coast with over 120,000 college and university students enrolled within the city and nearly 300,000 in the metropolitan area. There are over 80 colleges, universities, trade, and specialty schools in the Philadelphia region. The city contains three major research universities: the University of Pennsylvaniamarker, Drexel Universitymarker, and Temple Universitymarker. Other institutions of higher learning within the city's borders include Saint Joseph's Universitymarker, La Salle Universitymarker, Peirce Collegemarker, University of the Sciences in Philadelphiamarker, The University of the Artsmarker, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Artsmarker, the Curtis Institute of Musicmarker, Thomas Jefferson Universitymarker, Moore College of Art and Designmarker, The Art Institute of Philadelphiamarker, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicinemarker, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill Collegemarker, Philadelphia Universitymarker, Chestnut Hill Collegemarker, Holy Family Universitymarker, the Community College of Philadelphiamarker and Messiah College Philadelphia Campusmarker.

Philadelphia's famous Pennsylvania Main Line and western suburbs are home to other notable colleges and universities including Villanova Universitymarker, Bryn Mawr Collegemarker, Haverford Collegemarker, and Swarthmore Collegemarker.

In early September 2009, the Free Library of Philadelphia announced that the Parkway Central Library and all of its local and regional branches will cease operations as of the 2nd of October, 2009 due to the state budget crisis in Harrisburg.


Philadelphia is served by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which operates buses, trains, rapid transit, trolleys, and trackless trolleys throughout Philadelphia, the four Pennsylvania suburban counties of Bucksmarker, Chestermarker, Delawaremarker, and Montgomerymarker, in addition to service to Mercer County, New Jerseymarker and New Castle County, Delawaremarker. The city's subway, opened in 1907, is the third-oldest in America.

SEPTA's R1 Regional Rail line offers direct service to the Philadelphia International Airportmarker.

Philadelphia's 30th Street Stationmarker is a major railroad station on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, which offers access to Amtrak, SEPTA, and New Jersey Transit lines.

The PATCO Speedline provides rapid transit service to Camdenmarker, Collingswoodmarker, Westmontmarker, Haddonfieldmarker, Woodcrest marker, Ashland marker, and Lindenwoldmarker, New Jerseymarker, from stations on Locust Street between 16th and 15th, 13th and 12th, and 10th and 9th Streets, and on Market Street at 8th Street.


Two airports serve Philadelphia: the Philadelphia International Airportmarker (PHL), straddling the southern boundary of the city, and the Northeast Philadelphia Airportmarker (PNE), a general aviation reliever airport in Northeast Philadelphiamarker. Philadelphia International Airport provides scheduled domestic and international air service, while Northeast Philadelphia Airport serves general and corporate aviation. As of March 2006, Philadelphia International Airport was the 10th largest airport measured by "traffic movements" (i.e. takeoffs and landings), and was also a primary hub for US Airways.


Aerial view showing the major highways circumscribing Philadelphia.

Interstate 95 runs through the city along the Delaware River as a main north-south artery. The city is also served by the Schuylkill Expressway, a portion of Interstate 76 that runs along the Schuylkill River. It meets the Pennsylvania Turnpike at King of Prussia, Pennsylvaniamarker, providing access to Harrisburg, Pennsylvaniamarker and points west. Interstate 676, the Vine Street Expressway, was completed in 1991 after years of planning. A link between I-95 and I-76, it runs below street level through Center City, connecting to the Ben Franklin Bridge at its eastern end.

Roosevelt Boulevard and the Roosevelt Expressway (U.S. 1) connect Northeast Philadelphiamarker with Center City. Woodhaven Road (Route 63), built in 1966, and Cottman Avenue (Route 73) serve the neighborhoods of Northeast Philadelphiamarker, running between Interstate 95 and the Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. 1). The Fort Washington Expressway (Pennsylvania Route 309) extends north from the city's northern border, serving Montgomery Countymarker and Bucks Countymarker. Route 30marker, extending east-west from West Philadelphia to Lancastermarker, is known as Lancaster Avenue throughout most of the city and through the adjacent Main Line suburb.

Interstate 476, commonly nicknamed the "Blue Route" through Delaware Countymarker, bypasses the city to the west, serving the city's western suburbs, as well as providing a link to Allentownmarker and points north. Similarly, Interstate 276, the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Delaware River Extension, acts as a bypass and commuter route to the north of the city as well as a link to the New Jersey Turnpike to New Yorkmarker.

However, other planned freeways have been canceled, such as an Interstate 695 running southwest from downtown, two freeways connecting Interstate 95 to Interstate 76 that would have replaced Girard Avenue and South Street and a freeway upgrade of Roosevelt Boulevard.

The Delaware River Port Authority operates four bridges in the Philadelphia area across the Delaware River to New Jerseymarker: the Walt Whitman Bridgemarker (I-76), the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (I-676 and US 30), the Betsy Ross Bridge (Route 90), and the Commodore Barry Bridgemarker (US 322). The Tacony-Palmyra Bridge connects PA Route 73 in the Tacony section of Northeast Philadelphiamarker with New Jersey's Route 73 in Palmyramarker, Camden Countymarker, and is maintained by the Burlington County Bridge Commission.

Bus Service

Philadelphia is also a major hub for Greyhound Lines, which operates 24-hour service to points east of the Mississippi River. Most of Greyhound's services in Philadelphia operate to/from the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminalmarker, located at 1001 Filbert Street in Center City Philadelphia. In 2006, the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal was the second busiest Greyhound terminal in the United States, after the Port Authority Bus Terminalmarker in New York. Besides Greyhound, six other bus operators provide service to the Center City Greyhound terminal. These are Bieber Tourways, Capitol Trailways, Martz Trailways, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Susquehanna Trailways, and the bus division for New Jersey Transit Other services include Megabus and Bolt Bus.


Suburban Station

Since the early days of rail transport in the United States, Philadelphia has served as hub for several major rail companies, particularly the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Railroad. The Pennsylvania Railroad first operated Broad Street Stationmarker, then 30th Street Stationmarker and Suburban Stationmarker, and the Reading Railroad operated out of Reading Terminalmarker, now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Centermarker. The two companies also operated competing commuter rail systems in the area, known collectively as the Regional Rail system. The two systems today, for the most part still intact but now connected, operate as a single system under the control of the SEPTA, the regional transit authority. Additionally, Philadelphia is linked to southern New Jerseymarker via the PATCO Speedline subway system.

Philadelphia, once home to more than 4,000 trolleys on 65 lines, is one of the few North American cities to maintain streetcar lines. Today, SEPTA operates five "subway-surface" trolleys that run on street-level tracks in West Philadelphia and subway tunnels in Center Citymarker. SEPTA also recently reintroduced trolley service to the Girard Avenue Line, Route 15. The route is considered by some a "heritage" line, yet the use of rebuilt 1947 PCC streetcars was primarily for budgetary reasons, not a historic tribute.

Today, Philadelphia is a hub of the semi-nationalized Amtrak system, with 30th Street Station being a primary stop on the Washington-Boston Northeast Corridor and the Keystone Corridor to Harrisburgmarker and Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker. 30th Street also serves as a major station for services via the Pennsylvania Railroad's former Pennsylvania Main Line to Chicagomarker. 30th Street is Amtrak's third-busiest station in numbers of passengers as of fiscal year 2003. It is also a terminus of New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line.


Southeastern Pennsylvania was, at one time, served only by the 215marker area code, beginning in 1947 when the North American Numbering Plan of the "Bell System" went into effect. The area covered by the code was severely truncated when area code 610marker was split from 215. Today only the city and its northern suburbs are covered by 215. An overlay area code, 267, was added to the 215 service area in 1997. A plan to introduce area code 445 as an additional overlay in 2001 was delayed and later rescinded.

Philadelphia is now also served by Wireless Philadelphia, a citywide initiative to provide Wi-Fi service. The Proof of Concept area was approved on May 23, 2007, and service is now available in many areas of the city; although discontinued by Earthlink.

Sister cities

Philadelphia has ten sister cities, as designated by the International Visitors Council of Philadelphia (IVC):

Philadelphia has dedicated landmarks to its sister cities. Dedicated in June 1976, the Sister Cities Plaza, a one-half-acre site located at 18th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, honors Philadelphia's relationships with Tel Avivmarker and Florencemarker which were its first Sister Cities. Another landmark, the Torun Triangle, honoring the Sister City relationship with Toruńmarker, Polandmarker, was constructed in 1976, west of the United Way building at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Triangle contains the Copernicus monument. The Chinatown Gate, erected in 1984 and crafted by artisans of Tianjin, Chinamarker, stands astride the intersection of 10th and Arch Streets as an elaborate and colorful symbol of the Sister City relationship.

See also


External links

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