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Philadelphia gained attention way back in the 18th century, becoming the location where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both drafted and signed. Naturally, the Philly of today has several historical landmarks to visit. Add to this a rich culture, explosive food scene, tons of art and sports, and a dash of vivacity from its residents, and you get all the benefits of a major city with the costs of a small one. Philadelphia has a total of 25 neighborhoods, and there’s a neighborhood for every kind of person in Philly.
With a rundown of the city as well as the basics of the neighborhoods, we’ve chalked up a guide to moving to Philadelphia. The good thing is irrespective of whether you’re moving here from one of the bigger cities, or a smaller town, there’s generally a spot to be found in Philadelphia. Read on to get an understanding of the cost of living in Philadelphia, and some relocation tips as well.
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Philadelphia ranks 6th among the USA’s most populous cities, making it one of the largest cities on the east coast. It has several attractions, most notably the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall. Another big gem is the Philadelphia Museum of Art, boasting Neoclassical architecture and dating back to the 1920’s. There’s a lot of street art to be discovered, and its cuisine reflects its metropolitan nature with delicious diversity. It is also home to the infamous cheesesteak.
Location wise, Philadelphia is quite convenient. Washington
D.C, Baltimore and New York are all within a 2-hour drive, or an even quicker
train ride. That being said, Philadelphia has its share of traffic snarls. The
remedy to this is its fantastic public transport system; you don’t have to
worry about not owning a car in Philadelphia. It has a great network of parks,
and is 2 hours away from beaches and the Poconos. The Pennsylvania State Park
system ensures you have plenty of trekking and camping options within
Philadelphia is crawling with an efficient public
transportation system that can take you to practically any corner of the city.
The biggest thing you need to familiarize yourself with when considering moving
to Philadelphia is SEPTA, the efficient, functional and affordable public
transportation system of Philadelphia.
SEPTA stands for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Catering to 1.3 million people each day, it is the USA’s 6th largest public transportation system. Its train, subway, trolley and bus lines give visitors and residents an affordable way to get around in Philadelphia. They have a very useful website with maps and schedules, as well as an app so people can easily keep track of rides.
Most of SEPTA’s services are wheelchair accessible, and the
buses have ramps that can be lowered to street level. Look up the stations on
SEPTA’s website to find out which ones are access-enabled. Keep an eye out for
the access symbol next to the line name.
Philadelphia is also very easy to explore by foot. The city’s founder William Penn is credited for the grid-street design, said to be the inspiration behind D.C’s grids. Center City is at its heat-spanning 25 blocks between two rivers, the north/south streets are numbered and the east/west streets have tree names. Wheelchairs and strollers can use the curb cut-outs for convenience. You can also ride a bike in Philadelphia, just as easily. And for some fun, hop onto a horse-drawn carriage to see the historical sites in the city!
Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia is between $1,450 and $1,650. A two-bedroom apartment is around $1,700. Of course, when it comes to the different locations, the prices vary. Flats in and around Center City and University City are more expensive, with the average coming in at $2,600. Comparatively, those farther away from Center City are more affordable. Neighborhoods farthest from Center City like Spruce Hill, Fishtown and Manayunk, average at around $800.
Those living farther away from Center City will face longer
commute hours. But, because of Philadelphia’s fantastic public transportation
system, this shouldn’t prove problematic. Of course, you could always become a
car-owner. But be warned, parking in Philadelphia can prove to be troublesome.
Generally, the cost of living in any area depends on factors
like your salary and career, and the type of house and locality you live in.
We’ve chalked up an approximate cost of living in Philadelphia so you get a
rough idea of the figures.
The cost of living in Philadelphia is cheaper than that of the other East Coast cities. There’s different ranges to be explored with each of the neighborhoods, giving you some difficult choices to make. For the sake of an overview, the cost of living in Center City and the middle of the city is higher than the cost of living around the city fringes.
Your daily spending on groceries would be around $12 to $15. The list below shows the average prices of products.
Bread - between $3.50 to $4.50
Gallon Of Milk - $2 to $2.50
Carton of Eggs - $2 to $3 depending on size
Doctor’s visit - $120 to $130
Dentist’s visit - $100
A good meal outside can start at $15, and the prices just
keep getting higher as the quality of the restaurants and bars improves. The
cost of gas is $3 per gallon, and your energy bill could come to around $200 to
$220. A monthly TransPass with SEPTA’s key card is $96.00
Overall, estimated monthly costs for a single person would be anywhere between $1,500 and $2,000.
The first, and biggest relocation tip, is to understand the city you’ll be moving into. With 25 different neighborhoods, it’s practically impossible to give you a snapshot of all of Philadelphia. However, we’ve jotted down some of the more well-known ones, so you can get an idea of what’s where, along with the housing prices according to PhillyMag.
Northern Liberties has all the makings of what happens when art adds its pizzazz to the place. It was once a manufacturing district, but was revitalized by artists in the 1990s. Its cheap studio space attracted them like moths to a flame. Today, Northern Liberties is known to be a hipster, trendy neighborhood. This is further complemented by funky restaurants and bars, chic boutiques and art galleries. The Market-Frankford elevated train line runs right through.
Median single-family house value: $451,800Median monthly rent: $1,903
Fishtown is rapidly becoming one of the popular
up-and-coming localities in Philadelphia. Once the hub for commercial fishing,
it is now a hub for art and music. It provides a bustling contrast to the rest
of the city’s grid layout with narrow, winding streets. These are lined with
row homes, bars and restaurants, independently owned businesses and art + music
venues. Fishtown sits to the north of Center City.
Median single-family house value: $280,000Median monthly rent: $1,511
It is mainly the students and young professionals that flock
to University City in West Philadelphia. The academic hub of Philadelphia is
home to Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University
of the Sciences. University City has lots of shopping and dining choices to
pick from, as well as music venues, parks and a movie theater.
Median monthly rent: $2,000
Chestnut Hill is expensive, but is great for families. With a lot of family-friendly things to see, loads of parks and playgrounds. It’s also in proximity to Fairmount Park, which is also home to the zoo. With public and private schools, and a free library, this is a homely neighborhood.
Median single-family home value: $580,400Median monthly rent: $2,217
Officially recognized by Philadelphia in 2007, the
Gayborhood is located in the Washington Square West neighborhood. You’ll find
plenty of LGBT–friendly bars and clubs around the place. It is marked with
several pride flags, including pride-colored crosswalks!
Median single-family home value: $965,000Median monthly rent: $1,626
Relocating can be as nerve-wracking as it can be exciting.
While the prospects of a new beginning are encouraging, the chaos that comes
with it can be hard to deal with. Brief and to the point, our relocation tips
should make the process easier on you.
Philadelphia is the biggest city
in Pennsylvania and has a rich history. Its Penn grid-system makes it easy to
navigate the city and its neighborhoods, as does its fantastic public
transportation system. Summers get hot and winters are snowy in Philly, but
there’s always loads to do no matter the season. It costs between $1,450 and
$1,650 to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia, and the estimated
monthly cost of living here is between $1,500 and $2,000.
Certain sections of North
Philadelphia and Lower Northeast Philadelphia are known for their higher crime
rates and drug markets. There’s also certain neighborhoods like Tioga-Nicetown,
Allegheny West, Strawberry Mansion and Hunting Park that suffer from poverty
and high crime rates due to lack of investments and depreciation post
The cost of living in Philadelphia is 17% higher than the
national average; a family of four will spend around $3,643.75 a month on expenses,
while a single person will need to spend around $1016.02. Considering that the
average salary of Philadelphians is $69k, a salary of $100k is a good salary to
live in comfort. This salary gives you enough capital to take care of your
essential purchases, savings, and expenditure on entertainment.
Philadelphia has a fairly high
crime rate, and certain areas of the city have more crime than others. Many of
these unsafe neighborhoods are located in North Philadelphia, like Allegheny
West, Tioga-Nicetown and Strawberry Mansion. These areas of North Philadelphia
along with Lower Northeast Philadelphia make up what’s known as the
Philadelphia Badlands. Avoid these neighborhoods and stick to the many friendly
ones for a good experience.
Philadelphia has a worrying
crime rate; the violent crime comparison per 1,000 residents is 9.12, higher
than the national median of 4. Your chances of becoming a victim of a violent
crime is 1 in 110. While this is certainly cause for concern, remember that
Philly is a big city getting bigger by the day. Plus, when compared to other
cities its size, Philly is actually comparatively safe. There’s plenty of safe
neighborhoods as well. Stay away from the worrisome corners of the city and
practice basic safety precautions for Philadelphia to be the perfect city to
According to an analysis
conducted by Pew, people are considered to be part of the middle class if their
household income falls within a certain bracket, divided by family size and
estimated taking into consideration the cost of living. An individual earning
$25,676 – $77,028, a couple with a household income of $36,311 – $108,934 and a
family of 4 with a household income of $51,352 – $154,055 in the state of
Pennsylvania is considered to be middle class. In 2010, middle-class family
income for Philadelphia (67% to 200% of regional median family income) was
$51,974 to $155,147.
As a general rule, the closer
you are to the city center, the more expensive it’ll be. Living in the suburbs
at the fringes of the city is quite cheap, and due to Philly’s good
transportation you can manage your daily commute without a car of your own.
Upland is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Philly while Milford
Square is a great place for families to raise children while saving up on
costs. These are accompanied by New Berlinville, Douglas Township and Chester.
This depends entirely on where your office is located and the kind of cost of living you can afford to undertake. There’s jobs scattered throughout the city but take into consideration your daily commute. If you have your own car, make sure you’re near the main arterial streets that run through Philly. Living in the suburbs of Philly is cheap, and the public transit system ensures no one is really isolated in the city.
Philadelphia happens to be a great place to live, and can become your next home if approached right. Affordable and enjoyable, it is quite the gem on the East Coast. With our help, you can handle moving to Philadelphia like a pro.
See also: Best Moving Companies in Philadelphia | Moving from Boston to Philadelphia
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