The prospect of life in a new city can be daunting, and new arrivals should do all they can to prepare and arm themselves with all the facts in order to make the best decisions possible. A good place to start is by looking at the everyday upsides and downsides of living there.
For those considering moving to Pennsylvania's economic hub, here are some of our pros and cons of moving to Philadelphia.
Accommodation in Philadelphia
+ PRO: Some beautiful options for accommodation
As the birthplace of independent America, Philadelphia places a lot of emphasis on history and heritage. This is reflected in the city's accommodation, some of which is up to 300 years old.
Those looking for something a little more modern will also have some good options as there are plenty of newly-built lofts and apartments on offer.
- CON: Shortage of affordable housing
As the cost of living in Philadelphia rises, so does the cost of housing. There’s an ever-widening gap between low and high-income housing, leaving few options for the city’s middle-class residents.
Lifestyle in Philadelphia
+ PRO: Great location
Located just a few hours from New York City and Washington DC, Philadelphia is in an ideal spot for those who want to explore the major cities along the East Coast.
+ PRO: A city rich in history
As a key city in the American War of Independence, Philadelphia has many attractions that take visitors back in time. For new arrivals, this is a great way to learn about American history. They can even visit the Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and the famous cracked Liberty Bell.
Getting around in Philadelphia
+ PRO: Excellent public transport system
Philadelphia is often hailed as having one of the best public transport networks in the US, and most residents find there’s no need to own a car. Philadelphia is well covered by various types of public transport, including buses, subways, above-ground trains and trolleybuses.
- CON: Drivers might find life difficult
Those who do decide to drive will find that, although the city is laid out in a neat grid system, the number of one-way streets and confusing highway on-ramps can make navigating Philadelphia a frustrating exercise. On top of this, parking in the city is sparse and expensive, and drivers will also need to fork out for various tolls.
Cost of living in Philadelphia
+ PRO: One of the East Coast's lowest costs of living
While it's true that the cost of living in Philadelphia is higher than the national average and that it continues to rise, the location of the city should be taken into account. It is a well established fact that the East Coast is an expensive place to live. Compared with other East Coast cities, especially New York City and Washington DC, Philadelphia’s cost of living is far lower.
Working in Philadelphia
+ PRO: Hub of Pennsylvania’s economy
Philadelphia has a thriving economy and is home to the headquarters of a number of prominent companies, including a handful of Fortune 500 companies. Healthcare and education in particular are strong sectors with an abundance of work opportunities for skilled newcomers.
- CON: Jobs concentrated in education and healthcare
More than a third of Philadelphia’s jobs are in the fields of healthcare and education. With such a strong presence in the city, these two industries and their workers are frequently referred to in shorthand as 'meds and eds'. The rest of the city's economy is made up of a number of smaller industries with fewer opportunities.
Education in Philadelphia
+ PRO: Excellent opportunities for higher education
Teenagers nearing college age will be well situated to take advantage of one of the world's top universities: the University of Pennsylvania. Other highly rated education options in Philadelphia include Temple University and Drexel University.
►Learn more about life in the city in Moving to Philadelphia
Are you an expat living in Philadelphia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Philadelphia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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