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Facts about Philadelphia for Kids


  • Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its only consolidated city-county, the fifth-most-populous city in the United States, and the core of the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the country.
  • Located in the Northeastern United States at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, Philadelphia is the economic and cultural center of the DelawareValley.
  • The four Pennsylvania counties nearest Philadelphia had an estimated total population of 2,510,793 in 2013; while by 2014 census estimates, the Philadelphia metropolitan area, also known as the Delaware Valley, is home to 6.1 million residents, and the larger Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area contains approximately 7.2 million residents.
  • During the American Revolution, Philadelphia played an instrumental role as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787.
  • During the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and railroad hub that grew from an influx of European immigrants.
  • Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch, who in 1623 built Fort Nassau on the Delaware River opposite the Schuylkill River in what is now Brooklawn, New Jersey.
  • The Dutch considered the entire Delaware River valley to be part of their New Netherland colony.
  • The English conquered the New Netherland colony in 1664, but the situation did not really change until 1682, when the area was included in William Penn’s charter for Pennsylvania.
  • In 1681, in partial repayment of a debt, Charles II of England granted William Penn a charter for what would become the Pennsylvaniacolony.
  • Benjamin Franklin, a leading citizen, helped improve city services and founded new ones, such as fire protection, a library, and one of the American colonies’ first hospitals.
  • The rise in population of the surrounding districts helped lead to the Act of Consolidation of 1854, which extended the city limits of Philadelphia from the 2 square miles of present-day Center City to the roughly 130 square miles of Philadelphia County.
  • By the 20th century, Philadelphia had become known as “corrupt and contented”, with a complacent population and an entrenched Republican political machine.
  • Revitalization and gentrification of neighborhoods began in the late 1970s and continues into the 21st century, with much of the development in the Center City and University City areas of the city.
  • Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are divided into large sections—North, Northeast, Northwest, West, South and Southwest Philadelphia—all of which surround Center City, which corresponds closely with the city’s limits before consolidation in 1854.
  • The row house was introduced to the United States via Philadelphia in the early 19th century and, for a time, row houses built elsewhere in the United States were known as “Philadelphia rows”.
  • The most rain recorded in one day occurred on July 28, 2013, when 8.02 in (204 mm) fell at Philadelphia International Airport.
  • According to the 2014 United States Census estimates, there were 1,560,297 people residing in the City of Philadelphia, representing a 2.2% increase since 2010.
  • The racial makeup of the city in 2013 was 36.3% Non-Hispanic White, 44.2% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American and Alaska Native, 6.9% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 2.4% Two or More Races, and 13.3% were Hispanic or Latino.
  • There has also been an increase of yuppie, bohemian, and hipster types particularly around Center City, the neighborhood of Northern Liberties, and in the neighborhoods around the city’s universities, such as near Temple in North Philadelphia and particularly near Drexel and University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia.
  • 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.