Thinking About Making the Move to Pennsylvania? Read This Guide First.
Table of Contents
- Where Are The Best Places To Live In Pennsylvania?
- How Is The Job Market In Pennsylvania?
- How Much Does It Cost To Live In Pennsylvania?
- How Is The Pennsylvania Real Estate Market?
- Is Pennsylvania A Good Place To Retire?
- What Are The People And Culture Like In Pennsylvania?
- Some Of The Coolest Things To Do In Pennsylvania
- The Pros And Cons Of Living In Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Fun Facts & Strange Laws
If you’re thinking of moving to Pennsylvania, then you are in for a fun experience! The “Keystone State” is one of the most interesting and historical states in the country, starting with the fact that it happens to be the place where we separated ourselves from Great Britain and declared our country’s independence!
Today, Pennsylvania has a lot to offer — whether you’re looking to place your children in some of the best education systems in the country, or enjoy what is arguably the best cheesesteak in the world, this guide will help you figure out if PA is the right place to make a move to.Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations.
Where Are The Best Places To Live In Pennsylvania?
PA is brimming with ample opportunity for employment, financial security, housing and a high standard of living…. if you know where to look.
The location you deem the most appropriate to move to will largely be based on your unique and individual goals, preferences, budget and more. But one thing is certain — no matter what the future holds in store for you or your family, there is sure to be a place in PA that is suitable to achieve them.
Without further delay, and in no particular order, we’ve included just a few of the best places to live in PA…
Philadelphia is perhaps the most well-known city in the entire state by name, but there are many reasons other than sheer notoriety that make this city a serious contender on the list of places to move to.
It may be the biggest city in PA, but it also happens to be one of the most affordable locations as well! This is great news for those who want the opportunity of career growth without losing the option of having a fun nightlife and fulfilling entertainment! It’s also known as the “city of brotherly love”, a stark contrast to other less welcoming cities around the US.
Bellefonte has been rated one of the top places to live in PA for many reasons, but there are two reasons that frequently top the list of why people are so attracted to this location. The first reason is that Bellefonte is a small yet friendly, close-knit town. Bellefonte thrives on their small-town events and gatherings, and the residents love to flaunt their quiet yet active nature!
The second is that the town has an unusual appreciation for small businesses and shops, which is often what attracts newcomers to this cozy little spot! They have one-of-a-kind, family-owned restaurants, bars, and shops which is typically what brings people so close together! Aside from all of the kid-friendly activities, excellent rated music programs, and appealing family-oriented vibe, it is just a short drive to the excitement of Penn State University and the booming State College life of a busy town!
This makes Bellefonte perfect for those who want the best of both of those worlds!
Despite the name, Collegeville is not, in fact, located near a large college university. Rather the town is situated in a suburb in Montgomery County, PA. Collegeville is known for its top-rated education systems, a safe environment with a low crime rate, and a great place to find employment!
Out of all of Pennsylvania’s suburbs, this is the location that has one of the strongest economies that continues to thrive year in and year out. Collegeville is the perfect location for those who are looking to gain financial security, switch up their job or career goals, or simply start their lives from scratch!
Bucks County is comprised of a number of smaller towns and boroughs. People in the county are friendly and close-knit. It’s an area where residents look forward to catching up with friends they’ve made at one of the local towns or while enjoying any number of local restaurants or bars.
It is a great location to start and raise a family as well as discover new unique places like old bookstores, parks, or artsy little shops! You can always count on Buck Country to deliver on activities, events, fun destinations, great relationships, and a very satisfying quality of life. As an added perk for those with kids, the county is also known for its amazing educational systems.Need cheap moving supplies? Fast free delivery.
How Is The Job Market In Pennsylvania?
Employment opportunities in PA remain high, with the state’s unemployment rate generally being in alignment with that of the country as a whole.
According to U.S. News, the top industries in PA include:
- Healthcare and Social Assistance, employing 517,000+ workers, with nursing aids being among the careers in this field.
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, employing over 227,000+ workers, with accounting ranking among the top careers in this field.
- Accommodation and Food Services, employing over 211,000+ workers, with server and waiter/waitress ranking among the more popular positions.
Other Top Industries In Pa
- Architecture & Engineering
- Administrative Support
- Community & Social Service
- Production & Manufacturing
- Computer Technology
- Business & Financial Operations
- Life, Physical, & Social Science
Top Careers By Income
- Chief Executives
- Oral Surgeons
- General Practitioners
- Nurse Anesthetists
- Financial Managers
Infrastructure And Global Reach
When it comes to infrastructure, PA needs some help. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as this state has some of the oldest infrastructure in the country. After all, it was an original colony.
The good news is that help is on its way. The state’s proposal for a new plan, called “Restore Pennsylvania,” aims to shore up some of these gaps. The plan is designed to help protect the state against floods, remove contamination, improve transportation and roads, replace bridges that are in poor condition, and expand the broadband network.
But until then, it is necessary to keep in mind just one thing — potholes. PA is notoriously famous for some of the biggest potholes that exist in the country. But don’t let that throw you off! These potholes are targeted as one of the first things to restore in the near future!
Aside from potholes, PA happens to have one of the most successful port systems which helps to easily and successfully reach markets and customers in a speedy manner. Furthermore, PA has more than 120,000 miles of state and local highways and bridges which is also convenient for reaching markets quickly.
The minimum wage is at the federal minimum of $7.25/hr. But don’t let that scare you, as most employers choose to start their employees off at a higher rate than the minimum rate set at the state level.
The state is currently pushing to increase the minimum wage from $7.25/hr to $12/hr starting in July of 2020, which is a huge jump. That jump will help strengthen the economy by allowing PA residents to be able to afford to put that extra money back into the economy without a financial burden.
From there, they have plans to increase this amount in increments of 50¢ until they reach their main minimum wage goal of $15/hr by the year 2026. Furthermore, PA is working on a plan to require overtime pay for workers who earn an annual income of less than $45,500 by the year 2022.
So, despite the current minimum wage being at the lowest the nation allows, things are looking up for the residents of PA when it comes to their income, and it’s starting this year!
The unemployment rate in PA is at 4.2%, which is slightly higher than the national average of 3.6%. However, given that PA has one of the slowest growing population rates in the country, there is still plenty of employment opportunities with competition for positions comparatively low.
Even though PA has a higher rate of unemployment than the collective average, PA’s job growth increased by 0.6% just this year. Interestingly enough, that small jump happened on its own, and was not a result of anything that PA had influenced. This is a good sign, as the new minimum wage laws are set to take off and increase job growth even more in the near future!Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations.
How Much Does It Cost To Live In Pennsylvania?
The costs of living in PA come in below the national average in most categories, with the overall cost of living being 7.5% lower overall.
The Cost Of Living In Pa Compared To The National Average
*The National Average is at 100
- Overall — 92.5
- Grocery — 100.3
- Health — 97
- Housing — 75.1
- Utilities — 98.2
- Transportation — 104
- Misc — 99
State Taxes In Pennsylvania
In addition to federal taxes, Pennsylvania has 2 additional taxes that most other states do not require:
- Local wage taxes
- Service taxes
These additional taxes are automatically deducted from paychecks. Although this initially seems like quite a buzzkill, the good news is that not everything you buy in the state is actually taxed, thus balancing out these additional costs, and in some cases, saving you money as compared to other states.
PA does not tax residents on:
- Amusement parks
- Alcohol purchases
Clothing, food, and alcohol purchases are major perks for many households, and represent an area where significant cost savings can be had.
How Is The Pennsylvania Real Estate Market?
The median home value in PA sites between $173,700 and $200,000, with home values having risen an impressive 4% over the last year. According to Zillow and other sources, forecasts project the market to increase another 4% or more over the next 12 months.
- Median Home Cost — $173,700 – $200,000
- Median Listing Price — $212,900
- Median List Price Per Sq Ft — $133/sq ft
- Average Rent Cost — $1350/mo
- Median Home Value — $195,178
- Average Days On Market — 77
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate — 46%
Pennsylvania Real Estate Bests
Best time to buy: Fall/winter as there is less competition for buyers. Sellers who put their homes on the market in the winter usually want to sell as quickly as possible, so buyers get the luxury of better deals and easier negotiations on pricing.
Best time to list: March is the best time to list your home in preparation for Pennsylvania’s highest-selling season.
Best time to sell: May is the best time for sellers as warmer temperatures result in homes staying on the market for less time. Weather is also a factor as PA experiences harsh cold temperatures and snow.
Top locations to invest in:
- West Chester
Top PA markets:
- Bucks County
- Ridley Park
Top markets in Philadelphia:
- Point Breeze
- Center City
- Mount Airy East
Is Pennsylvania A Good Place To Retire?
Ranked 5th in the nation among the top places for retirees to live, this town of just around 5000 people is conveniently situated just a short drive outside of Philadelphia. The down as nearly 21 medical centers per every 1000 residents, as well as 5 recreation centers and plenty of local events and activities to keep retirees busy.
They call themselves the “City of Brotherly Love,” and it couldn’t be any more of a fact! Philly is an incredibly friendly city with the greater community as a whole always ready to look out for each other.
Philly also has a lot for retirees to do, especially as it relates to arts and entertainment. From world-class museums and historic libraries, to a nightlife of clubs, fine dining, and exciting events, Philadelphia is never a bore!
For any retiree that enjoys a world full of musical concerts, lectures, shows, and food, Philadelphia is the perfect spot to reward yourself after a lifetime of work! So much to learn, so much to do, and so much to love! This quirky city is a must for living life to your fullest!
With almost a dozen medical centers per 1000 residents, the town is a haven for seniors in PA, with around 30% of the population ranking among the nation’s retirees.
Doylestown is a quaint town that has a lot of history and culture, making it a great destination for retirees looking to explore the past. Residents have a choice of living in a well-run, upper-class retirement establishment, or simply moving into the best part of the town — the heart of Doylestown!
In the center of this cozy, close-knit community, is a broad range of independent shops, restaurants, bars, and parks to enjoy! The neighborhood is also known for its variety of art fairs, sports events, and unique town gatherings! Doylestown is perfect for those who want to kick back and enjoy retired life while still having plenty to do when the need arises.
Recently ranked as one of the best places to retire in the country, Lititz is a town full of that much-needed countryside vibe! If you’re ready to jump into the next chapter of your life, why not jump into a world full of festivals, activities, and unique culture! Almost every business in Lititz has a creative backstory and energy that will make you think outside of the box — it’s a town for inspiration and pure spiritual freedom! There are theaters, artsy events, libraries, and parks that will bring your retirement to a level of pure happiness!Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations.
What Are The People And Culture Like In Pennsylvania?
The state of PA is unique in that it has a broad mix of urban and rural demographics depending on where you live. This variety gives people a chance to meet people from all walks of life.
From huge, booming cities to quiet, quaint countryside towns, there is nothing that Pennsylvania lacks. Multiple tourist areas and attractions make the people of PA a welcoming and patient group of residents, especially in big cities.
Which brings us to Philadelphia! Philadelphia isn’t the “City of Brotherly Love” for no reason — the entire city and the people in it really do have your back! In contrast to cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and NYC, Philadelphia is proud of their culture, and they are always thrilled to share it with you or lend a helping hand.
One thing you may want to take note of is that the entire city of Philadelphia is VERY into their sports teams — especially the Philadelphia Eagles! So if you happen to be wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey while walking the streets of Philly, BEWARE! Philadelphians can smell rivalry from miles and miles away!
For the most part, Philadelphians speak English. But, their English is almost a language on its own! Don’t worry, the Philly dialect quickly becomes a second nature understanding…most people tend to adapt to it very quickly! It’s definitely interesting, to say the least, so here is a list of Philly jargon to start you off!
Common Philly Slang And Dialect
- Whiz — the cheese that most people simply call “cheese”
- Wit/witout — not just another way of saying “with” or “without,” it’s also how you order one of their famous cheesesteaks. How does a native Philadelphian order a cheesesteak?
- For a cheesesteak, you say “whiz wit.”
- For a steak sandwich, you say “whiz witout.”
- For a cheesesteak with peppers, onions, and mushrooms, you say “whiz wit peppers onions mushrooms”
- Youse — you guys
- Example: where youse heading to watch the eagles game?
- Whaddaya — what do you?
- Example: whaddaya doin later?
- Jawn — a word that replaces any noun, literally
- For example, when asking for ketchup, “can someone pass me that jawn?”
- Wooder — water
- Jimmies — sprinkles that go on ice cream
- Sub — substitute teacher
- Hoagie — sub, the sandwich
- Jeet — did you eat?
- Aight or Ard— alright
- Beggle — bagel
- Tal — towel
- Draw — drawer
- Dahnashure — down the shore
- Lager — specifically refers to a Yuengling lager beer, and not any other type of lager or brand
- Gawhead — go ahead
- Paymint — pavement
- Pock a book — purse
- Sowfilly — South Philly
- Norfilly — North Philly
- Awna — on a
- Sparragrass — asparagus
- Earl — oil
- Tap Mac — to get money from the ATM machine
- Example: they don’t take cards I gotta tap Mac real quick
- U City — any of the 3 main college campuses in Philadelphia that college students live on
- Example: when asking someone where they attend college, “u city?”
- Bomb — a word used to describe something that is extremely cool, and not referring to an explosive device
- Eyyo — hello, hey, or what’s up
- Drawlin — used to describe someone who is doing something stupid or acting foolish
- Will Smith — the famous, well-known actor Will Smith who is from West Philadelphia, born and raised
Some Of The Coolest Things To Do In Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania has plenty of attractions, landmarks and interesting places to explore. Below we’ve included just a handful of our favorites.
Ringing Rocks Park — Upper Black Eddy, Pa
Why go to just any park when you could go to one that has mysterious rocks that ring like bells when you hit them? Create your own “rock” concert, literally, by checking out this musically unique park. Don’t forget your hammer!
Trundle Manor House Of Oddities — Pittsburgh, Pa
And when we say house, we mean that it is a house that has steampunk sculptures and odd, intriguing taxidermy art! This seemingly typical house (minus the coffins on the porch, of course) is actually filled with antique medical devices, weaponry, animal skills, and their famous specialty, “Dead Things In Jars.” It’s almost like walking into the house of the Addams Family!
The Dream Garden — Philadelphia, Pa
The Dream Garden is the garden that has the largest glass mural in the United States! Constructed of 100,000 one-of-a-kind hand-blown glass pieces, this mural is a huge attraction as this 260 colored 15 x 49 ft piece of artwork creates the perfect opportunity for peaceful conversation and artsy admiration!
Randyland — Pittsburgh, Pa
Randyland is a psychedelic neighborhood that Willy Wonka himself would adopt as his own! Randyland is essentially what it would be like to go on one of those psychedelic acid trips…but without having to take acid! Take a walk through the swirling colors of trippy art and awesome creative visuals that will make you think that you’re in a completely different world that you could only experience in your dreams!
Penn’s Cave — Spring Mills, Pa
Penn’s Cave is not just a typical cave; it’s a water-based cave with a lot of historical mystery! Hop on that small boat and float into the deep world of seducing colors, culture, and mystery! Watch out for friendly yet sleepy bats hanging around while you view the magic of the Angels Wing as well as the Garden Of The Gods!
The Masonic Temple Of Philadelphia — Philadelphia, Pa
Whether you’re a conspiracy theorist or not, The Masonic Temple is the home to those who were accepted into the Freemason society by the Masonic Movement where they talked about top-secret democratic ideas and other interesting philosophies of enlightenment. Each room in this temple has its own specific theme and personality, and every room was purposely built with an architectural mistake. Why? To demonstrate that no man is perfect compared to God!
If these don’t strike your interest, here are some other awesome places to check out in PA!
- The Robot Hall Of Fame, Pittsburgh, Pa
- The Fountain Of Youth, Wexford, Pa
- The Weeping Glass, Pittsburgh, Pa
- The Living Dead Museum, Evans City, Pa
- Rosenbach Free Library, Philadelphia, Pa
- Love Letter Murals, Philadelphia, Pa
- Baldwins Book Barn, West Chester, Pa
- Hershey Park, Hershey, Pa
The Pros And Cons Of Living In Pennsylvania
Now that you know everything there is to know about moving to PA, let’s go over a list of the general pros and cons.
Pros Of Living In Pennsylvania
- You get to experience all 4 seasons of the year!
- The famous Wawa and Sheetz are almost everywhere you go!
- PA is home to some of the best pizza in the world!
- PA is the only place in the country where you can get a real cheesesteak!
- There is a wide variety of diversity and culture!
- PA is one of the most historical states in the country — so much to learn, and you’ll never get bored!
- Some of the best educational systems and colleges are located in PA!
- The cost of living is very low and affordable!
- Excellent healthcare and hospitals are available throughout the entire state!
- Endless activities, events, and friendly neighbors!
Cons Of Living In Pennsylvania
- If you don’t like snow, then watch out for those PA winter snowstorms and bitterly cold temperatures!
- There are 2 additional taxes that you must pay
- There are a lot of local dialect differences that you will have to learn, although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
- Getting the hang of the highways and on-ramps can be frustrating
- Philadelphia drivers are heavily known for their “Philly road rage,” so don’t drive too slow
- Higher property taxes than the US average
- PA is just getting the hang of selling alcohol in any place other than bars or liquor stores, so you can’t stop for a beer at your local gas station
- There are massive amounts of potholes, so watch out!
Pennsylvania Fun Facts & Strange Laws
And, just for fun, check out Pennsylvania’s list of fun facts and strange laws!
Fun Facts About The State
- People tend to enjoy getting married in firehalls — who knows, maybe it has something to do with the spark
- For some reason, some of the best food that you can get are in convenience stores
- There is a specific way that you must order a cheesesteak in Philly, otherwise you just won’t get one
- Ferris Wheels, movie theaters, Slinkies, bubble gum, revolving doors, odometers, jeeps, and crayons are just a few of the things that were created in PA
- In fact, you can go to the Crayola Factory and see how crayons are made!
- Speaking of classic inventions, you can thank PA for The Polio Vaccine as well
- Pennsylvania is technically not a state, it’s a commonwealth
- The very first department store in the US was located in PA — it was called Wanamakers
- In 1943, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers actually became one team for one year called The Steagles
- PA has the highest number of Amish people in the world
- The world’s first computer was used in Philadelphia
- The country’s first zoo, The Philadelphia Zoo, was started by Ben Franklin
- The Pennsylvania Dutch are actually German
- Philadelphia is home to the world’s biggest clothespin — why? Because Philly loves their art!
Strange Laws Still On The Books In Pennsylvania
- Singing in the bathtub is strictly prohibited, so stick to singing in the shower
- Fortune telling is illegal, not that it stops anybody from doing it, though
- It is against the law to sell your children…disappointing, we know
- If you are convicted of a felon, then you are forbidden to play Bingo
- Selling cars on a Sunday can get you in big trouble
- It is illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator if you are outside, but if you’re inside, go for it
- Using dynamite to catch a fish is illegal, so brush up on those fishing pole skills
- All fire hydrants must be thoroughly checked at least one hour before a fire, so plan your house fires accordingly
- It is illegal to eat peanuts while walking backward
Ready to Make the Move to Pennsylvania?
There’s no doubt that PA has a lot to offer those looking to make the move. From no less than 11 majestic mountain ranges, to the vibrant lifestyle of city living, PA has it all. Excellent healthcare and educational systems, a strong economy and plenty of opportunities to plant down roots are just a few of the reasons why PA is an attractive place to make a move to.
Further Reading: Looking For More Moving To Pennsylvania Resources? Check These Articles Out!
- Our Pennsylvania Home Selling Guide
- How To Sell A House In Pennsylvania Without A Realtor
- What Are Pennsylvania Flat Fee MLS Listings?
- We Buy Houses In Pennsylvania Fast And For Cash
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- How Many Boxes Do I Need To Move? Use Our Moving Box Calculator
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About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com, the broker of Get LISTED Realty and an official member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, Fox News, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.