The skyline of Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a state located in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada to the north, and New Jersey to the east. The state's four most populous cities are, respectively, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown and Erie. The state capital is Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania has 51 miles (82 km) of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles (92 km) of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary.
Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roadsPennsylvania is 170 miles (274 km) north to south and 283 miles (455 km) east to west. Of a total 46,055 square miles (119,282 km2), 44,817 square miles (116,075 km2) are land, 490 square miles (1,269 km2) are inland waters and 749 square miles (1,940 km2) are waters in Lake Erie. It is the 33rd largest state in the United States.
The bounds of the state are the Mason-Dixon Line (39° 43' N) to the south, the Delaware River to the east, 80° 31' W to the west, and the 42° N to the north, with the exception of a short segment on the western end, where a triangle extends north to Lake Erie. Pennsylvania borders six other states: New York to the north; New Jersey to the east; Delaware and Maryland to the southeast; West Virginia to the southwest, and Ohio to the west. Pennsylvania also shares a water border with Canada.
It has the cities of Philadelphia, York, Reading and Lancaster in the southeast, Pittsburgh in the southwest, the tri-cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton in the central east (known as the Lehigh Valley), the tri-cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Hazleton in the northeast, and Erie in the northwest, with state capital Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River in the central region of the commonwealth.
Pennsylvania's diverse topography also produces a variety of climates. Straddling two major zones, the majority of the state with the exception of the southeastern corner has a humid continental climate. Greater Philadelphia has some characteristics of the humid subtropical climate that covers much of Delaware and Maryland to the south. Moving toward the mountainous interior of the state, the climate becomes markedly colder, the number of cloudy days increases, and winter snowfall amounts are greater. Western areas of the state, particularly cities near Lake Erie, can receive over 100 inches (254 cm) of snowfall annually, and the entire state receives plentiful rainfall throughout the year. The state does get severe weather from spring through summer into fall, an average of 10 tornadoes touchdown each year in the state.
Before the Commonwealth was settled by Europeans, the area was home to the Delaware (also known as Lenni Lenape), Susquehannock, Iroquois, Eriez, Shawnee, and other Native American tribes. Both the Dutch and the English claimed both sides of the Delaware River as part of their colonial lands in America. The Dutch were the first to take possession, and this has impact on the history of Pennsylvania. By June 3, 1631, the Dutch had started up the DelMarVa Peninsula by establishing the Zwaanendael Colony on the site of present day Lewes, Delaware. In 1638, Sweden heated up the issue by establishing the New Sweden Colony, centered on Fort Christina, on the site of present day Wilmington, Delaware. New Sweden claimed and, for the most part, controlled the lower Delaware River region (Parts of present Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania), but settled few colonists there.
On March 12, 1664, King Charles II of England gave James, Duke of York a Grant that included all of the lands included in the original Virginia Company of Plymouth Grant as well as other lands. This grant was – again – in conflict with the Dutch claim for New Netherland, which included parts of today’s Pennsylvania.
On June 24, 1664, The Duke of York sold the portion of his large grant that included present day New Jersey to John Berkeley and George Carteret for a proprietary colony. As of yet, the land was not in English possession, but the sale boxed in the portion of New Netherland on the West side of the Delaware River. The English conquest of New Netherland was commenced on August 29, 1664, when New Amsterdam was coerced to surrender facing the cannons on English ships in New York Harbor. This conquest continued, and was completed in October of 1664, when the English captured Fort Casimir in what today is New Castle, Delaware.
The Peace of Breda between England, France and the Netherlands confirmed the English conquest on July 21, 1667, although there were temporary reversions.
On September 12, 1672, as part of the Third Anglo—Dutch War, the Dutch re-conquered New York Colony/New Amsterdam, the Dutch established three County Courts which went on to become original Counties in present day Delaware and Pennsylvania. The one that later transferred to Pennsylvania was Upland. This was partially reversed on February 9, 1674, when the Treaty of Westminster ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War, and reverted all political situations to the Status Quo Ante Bellum. The English retained the Dutch Counties with their Dutch names. By June 11, 1674, New York reasserted control over the outlying colonies, including Upland, but the names started to be changed to English names by November 11, 1674. Upland was partitioned on November 12, 1674, producing the general outline of the current border between Pennsylvania and Delaware.
On February 28, 1681, Charles II granted a land charter to William Penn to repay a debt of £16,000 (around £2,100,000 in 2008, adjusting for retail inflation) owed to William's father, Admiral Penn. This was one of the largest land grants to an individual in history. It was called Pennsylvania, meaning "Penn's Woods", in honor of Admiral Penn. William Penn, who had wanted his province to be named "Sylvania", was embarrassed at the change, fearing that people would think he had named it after himself, but King Charles would not rename the grant. Penn established a government with two innovations that were much copied in the New World: the county commission and freedom of religious conviction.
What had been Upland on what became the Pennsylvania side of the Pennsylvania-Delaware Border was renamed as Chester County when Pennsylvania instituted their colonial governments on March 4, 1681.
Between 1730 and when it was shut down by Parliament with the Currency Act of 1764, the Pennsylvania Colony made its own paper money to account for the shortage of actual gold and silver. The paper money was called Colonial Scrip. The Colony issued "bills of credit", which were as good as gold or silver coins because of their legal tender status. Since they were issued by the government and not a banking institution, it was an interest-free proposition, largely defraying the expense of the government and therefore taxation of the people. It also promoted general employment and prosperity, since the Government used discretion and did not issue too much to inflate the currency. Benjamin Franklin had a hand in creating this currency, of which he said its utility was never to be disputed, and it also met with the "cautious approval" of Adam Smith.
The Masters-Penn mansion housed Pennsylvania's governor in the early 1770s. It later served as the presidential mansion of George Washington and John Adams, 1790-1800, while Philadelphia was the temporary national capital.After the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, Delegate John Dickinson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. The Congress was the first meeting of the thirteen colonies, called at the request of the Massachusetts Assembly, but only nine colonies sent delegates. Dickinson then wrote Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, To the Inhabitants of the British Colonies, which were published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle between December 2, 1767, and February 15, 1768.
When the Founding Fathers of the United States convened in Philadelphia in 1774, 12 colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress. The Second Continental Congress, which also met in Philadelphia (in May, 1775), drew up and signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, but when that city was captured by the British, the Continental Congress escaped westward, meeting at the Lancaster courthouse on Saturday, September 27, 1777, and then to York. There they drew up the Articles of Confederation that formed 13 independent colonies into a new nation. Later, the Constitution was written, and Philadelphia was once again chosen to be cradle to the new American Nation.
Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 12, 1787, five days after Delaware became the first.
Dickinson College of Carlisle was the first college founded in the United States. Established in 1773, the college was ratified five days after the Treaty of Paris on September 9, 1783. The school was founded by Benjamin Rush and named after John Dickinson.
The "Redbrick Capitol", used from 1821 until it burned down in 1897For half a century, the Commonwealth's legislature met at various places in the general Philadelphia area before starting to meet regularly in Independence Hall in Philadelphia for 63 years. But it needed a more central location, as for example the Paxton Boys massacres of 1763 had made the legislature aware. So, in 1799 the legislature moved to the Lancaster Courthouse, and finally in 1812 to Harrisburg. The legislature met in the old Dauphin County Court House until December 1821,when the Redbrick Capitol was finished. It burned down in 1897, presumably because of a faulty flue. The legislature met at Grace Methodist Church on State Street (still standing) until the present capitol was finished in 1907.
The new state Capitol drew rave reviews. Its dome was inspired by the domes of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and the United States Capitol. President Theodore Roosevelt called it the "the most beautiful state Capitol in the nation" and said, "It's the handsomest building I ever saw" at the dedication. In 1989, the New York Times praised it as "grand, even awesome at moments, but it is also a working building, accessible to citizens ... a building that connects with the reality of daily life".
Pennsylvania accounts for nine percent of all wooded areas in the United States. In 1923 President Calvin Coolidge established the Allegheny National Forest under the authority of the Weeks Act of 1911 in the northwest part of the state in Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren Counties for the purposes of timber production and watershed protection in the Allegheny River basin. The Allegheny is the state's only national forest.
James Buchanan, of Franklin County, was the only bachelor President of the United States and the only one to be born in Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg—-the major turning point of the Civil War—took place near Gettysburg. An estimated 350,000 Pennsylvanians served in the Union Army forces along with 8,600 African American military volunteers.
Pennsylvania was also the home of the first commercially drilled oil well. In 1859, near Titusville, Pennsylvania, Edwin L. Drake successfully drilled the well, which led to the first major oil boom in United States history.
Further information: List of people from Pennsylvania
Demographics of Pennsylvania (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 87.60% 10.71% 0.43% 2.04% 0.07%
2000 (Hispanic only) 2.74% 0.44% 0.06% 0.03% 0.02%
2005 (total population) 86.83% 11.20% 0.45% 2.46% 0.09%
2005 (Hispanic only) 3.52% 0.53% 0.07% 0.05% 0.02%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 0.32% 5.83% 5.64% 22.23% 18.99%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) -0.64% 5.21% 2.77% 21.86% 14.13%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 29.86% 20.24% 23.61% 45.64% 35.44%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
The center of population of Pennsylvania is located in Perry County, in the borough of Duncannon.
Populations from 1790 to 2000As of 2008, the American Community Survey found that Pennsylvania's population was 12,418,756. 83.8% were White, 10.3% were Black, 0.1% were Native American, 2.4% Asian, 2.0% were of some other race, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos made up 4.6% of the population. 11.9% of all people were living below the poverty level, including 16.6% of those under 18.
As of 2006, Pennsylvania has an estimated population of 12,440,621, which is an increase of 35,273 from the previous year, and an increase of 159,567 since the year 2000. Net migration from other states resulted in a decrease of 27,718, and immigration from other countries resulted in an increase of 126,007. Net migration to the Commonwealth was 98,289. Migration of native Pennsylvanians resulted in a decrease of 100,000 people. In 2006, 5.00% of Pennsylvanians were foreign born (621,480 people). The state has an estimated 2005 poverty rate of 11.9%. The state also has the 3rd highest proportion of elderly (65+) citizens in 2005.
Foreign-born Pennsylvanians are largely from Asia (36.0%), Europe (35.9%), Latin America (30.6%), Africa (5%), North America (3.1%), and Oceania (0.4%).
Pennsylvania's reported population of Hispanics, especially among the Asian, Hawaiian and White races, has markedly increased in recent years. The Hispanic population is greatest in Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, Hazleton, and around Philadelphia, with over 20% being Hispanic. It is not clear how much of this change reflects a changing population and how much reflects increased willingness to self-identify minority status.
Census Pop. %±
1790 434,373 —
1800 602,365 38.7%
1810 810,091 34.5%
1820 1,049,458 29.5%
1830 1,348,233 28.5%
1840 1,724,033 27.9%
1850 2,311,786 34.1%
1860 2,906,215 25.7%
1870 3,521,951 21.2%
1880 4,282,891 21.6%
1890 5,258,113 22.8%
1900 6,302,115 19.9%
1910 7,665,111 21.6%
1920 8,720,017 13.8%
1930 9,631,350 10.5%
1940 9,900,180 2.8%
1950 10,498,012 6.0%
1960 11,319,366 7.8%
1970 11,793,909 4.2%
1980 11,863,895 0.6%
1990 11,881,643 0.1%
2000 12,281,054 3.4%
Est. 2009 12,604,767 2.6%
Pennsylvania's population was reported as 5.9% under 5 and 23.8% under 18, with 15.6% aged 65 or older. Females made up 51.7% of the population.
The five largest ancestry groups self-reported in Pennsylvania are: German (27.66%), Irish (17.66%), Italian (12.82%), English (8.89%) and Polish (7.23%).
A rapid growth in population is occurring in the Lower Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania (Particularly Lancaster, York, Gettysburg, and Harrisburg). Most residents are natives of Baltimore or Philadelphia or have jobs in those cities.The population in this region already exceeds two million.
“ The new sovereign also enacted several wise and wholesome laws for his colony, which have remained invariably the same to this day. The chief is, to ill–treat no person on account of religion, and to consider as brethren all those who believe in one God.
- Voltaire, speaking of William Penn ”
Of all the colonies, only in Rhode Island was religious freedom as secure as in Pennsylvania, and one result was an incredible religious diversity, one which continues to this day.
Pennsylvania's population in 2000 was 12,281,054. Of these, 8,448,193 were estimated to belong to some sort of organized religion. According to the Association of religion data archives at Pennsylvania State University, reliable data exists for 7,116,348 religious adherents in Pennsylvania in 2000 following 115 different faiths. Their affiliations, including percentage of all adherents, were:
Roman Catholic: 3,802,524 (53.43%)
Orthodox: 75,354 (1.06%)
Mainline Protestant: 2,140,682 (30%)
United Methodist Church: 659,350 (9.27%)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 611,913 (8.60%)
Presbyterian Church: 324,714 (4.56%)
United Church of Christ: 241,844 (3.40%)
American Baptist Churches in the USA: 132,858 (1.87%)
Episcopal Church: 116,511 (1.64%)
Evangelical Protestant: 704,204 (10%)
Assemblies of God: 84,153 (1.18%)
Church of the Brethren: 52,684 (0.74%)
Mennonite Church USA: 48,215 (0.68%)
Christian and Missionary Alliance: 45,926 (0.65%)
Southern Baptist Convention: 44,432 (0.62%)
Independent Non-charismatic churches: 42,992 (0.60%)
Other theology: 393,584 (5.53%)
Jewish estimate: 283,000 (3.98%)(4th largest in the United States) (Could be as high as 350,000)
Muslim estimate: 71,190 (1.00%) (Could be as high as 150,000)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 31,032 (0.44%)
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations: 6,778 (0.10%)
While Pennsylvania has a very numerous Amish population, Holmes County, Ohio has the largest Amish population in the world. While Pennsylvania owes its existence to Quakers and many of the older trappings of the Commonwealth are rooted in the teachings of the Religious Society of Friends (as they are officially known), practicing Quakers are a small minority today
The term "Dutch," when referring to the Pennsylvania Dutch, means "German" or "Teutonic" rather than "Netherlander." Germans, in their own language, call themselves "Deutsch," which in English became, misleadingly, "Dutch." The Pennsylvania Dutch language is a descendant of German, in the West Central German dialect family. Although it is still spoken as a first language among some Old Order Amish and Mennonites (principally in the Lancaster County area), the language is almost extinct as an everyday language among the non-religious, though a few words have passed into English usage.
Pennsylvania's 2008 total gross state product (GSP) of $553.3 billion ranks the state 6th in the nation. If Pennsylvania were an independent country, its economy would rank as the 18th largest in the world. On a per-capita basis, Pennsylvania's per-capita GSP of $35,641 ranks 26th among the 50 states.
Bethlehem Steel's closed manufacturing facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This site became the site of the new multi-million dollar Sands Casino Resort in 2009.Philadelphia in the southeast corner, Pittsburgh in the southwest corner, Erie in the northwest corner, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre in the northeast corner, and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton in the east central region are urban manufacturing centers. Much of the Commonwealth is rural; this dichotomy affects state politics as well as the state economy. Philadelphia is home to six Fortune 500 companies, with more located in suburbs like King of Prussia; it's a leader in the financial and insurance industry. Pittsburgh is home to eight Fortune 500 companies, including U.S. Steel, PPG Industries, and H.J. Heinz. In all, Pennsylvania is home to fifty Fortune 500 companies.
As in the US as a whole and in most states, the largest private employer in the Commonwealth is Wal-Mart, followed by the University of Pennsylvania.
The first nationally chartered bank in the United States, the Bank of North America, was founded in 1781 in Philadelphia. After a series of mergers, the Bank of North America is part of Wachovia, which uses national charter 1. It is not known if the Bank of North America's charter will be retained after March 2010 when Wells Fargo, which acquired Wachovia in 2008, consolidates its own charter and Wachovia's under the name Wells Fargo, N.A.
Pennsylvania is also the home to the first nationally-chartered bank under the 1863 National Banking Act. That year, the Pittsburgh Savings & Trust Company received a national charter and renamed itself the First National Bank of Pittsburgh as part of the National Banking Act. That bank is still in existence today as PNC Financial Services, and remains based in Pittsburgh. PNC is the state's largest bank, and the fifth-largest in the United States.
Pennsylvania ranks 19th overall in agricultural production, but 1st in mushrooms, 3rd in Christmas trees and layer chickens, 4th in nursery and sod, milk, corn for silage, grapes grown (including juice grapes), and horses production. It also ranks 8th in the nation in Winemaking.
Casino gambling was recently legalized in Pennsylvania. Currently, there are 9 casinos across the state with 3 under construction or in planning. Only horse racing, slot machines, and electronic table games are legal in Pennsylvania, although a bill to legalize table games was being negotiated in the fall of 2009. Tables games such as poker, roulette, black jack and dice were finally approved by the state legislature in January 2010, being signed into law by the Governor on January 7. Sports betting is illegal.
Governor Ed Rendell has considered legalizing slot machines in bars and private clubs, since an estimated 17,000 operate illegally across the state. Under this plan, any establishment with a liquor license would be allowed up to 5 machines. All machines would be connected to the state's computer system, like commercial casinos. When someone wins on these machines, the state takes 50% and the player 50%.
Pennsylvania has had five constitutions during its statehood: 1776, 1790, 1838, 1874, and 1968. Prior to that, the province of Pennsylvania was governed for a century by a Frame of Government, of which there were four versions: 1682, 1683, 1696, and 1701. The capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg. The legislature meets in the State Capitol there.
The current Governor is Ed Rendell, a former head of the Democratic National Committee who began as a District Attorney and mayor in Philadelphia. The other elected officials composing the executive branch are the Lieutenant Governor Joseph Scarnati, Attorney General Tom Corbett, Auditor General Jack Wagner, and State Treasurer Robert McCord.
Pennsylvania has a bicameral legislature set up by Commonwealth's constitution in 1790. The original Frame of Government of William Penn had a unicameral legislature. The General Assembly includes 50 Senators and 203 Representatives. Joseph B. Scarnati III is currently President Pro Tempore of the State Senate, Dominic Pileggi the Majority Leader, and Robert J. Mellow the Minority Leader. Keith R. McCall is Speaker of the House of Representatives, with Todd A. Eachus as Majority Leader and Samuel Smith as Minority Leader. As of the 2008 elections, the Democrats have a narrow majority in the state house and the Republicans retain their lead in the state senate.
Pennsylvania is divided into 60 judicial districts, most of which (except Philadelphia) have magisterial district judges (formerly called district justices and justices of the peace), who preside mainly over preliminary hearings in felony and misdemeanor offenses, all minor (summary) criminal offenses, and small civil claims. Most criminal and civil cases originate in the Courts of Common Pleas, which also serve as appellate courts to the district judges and for local agency decisions.The Superior Court hears all appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas not expressly designated to the Commonwealth Court or Supreme Court. It also has original jurisdiction to review warrants for wiretap surveillance.The Commonwealth Court is limited to appeals from final orders of certain state agencies and certain designated cases from the Courts of Common Pleas. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the final appellate court. All judges in Pennsylvania are elected; the chief justice is determined by seniority.
Sales tax provides 39% of Commonwealth's revenue; personal income tax 34%; motor vehicle taxes about 12%, and taxes on cigarettes and alcohol beverage 5%.
Personal income tax is a flat 3.07%. An individual's taxable income is based on the following eight types of income: compensation (salary); interest; dividends; net profits from the operation of a business, profession or farm; net gains or income from the dispositions of property; net gains or income from rents, royalties, patents and copyrights; income derived through estates or trusts; and gambling and lottery winnings (other than Pennsylvania Lottery winnings).
Counties, municipalities, and school districts levy taxes on real estate. In addition, some local bodies assess a wage tax on personal income. Generally, the total wage tax rate is capped at 1% of income but some municipalities with home rule charters may charge more than 1%. Thirty-two of the Commonwealth's sixty-seven counties levy a personal property tax on stocks, bonds, and similar holdings.
Representation in the 111th Congress
Pennsylvania's two U.S. Senators in the 111th Congress are Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, Jr.
Pennsylvania's U.S. Representatives for the term beginning January 2009 are Robert Brady (1st), Chaka Fattah (2nd), Kathy Dahlkemper (3rd), Jason Altmire (4th), Glenn "G.T." Thompson (5th), Jim Gerlach (6th), Joe Sestak (7th), Patrick Murphy (8th), Bill Shuster (9th), Chris Carney (10th), Paul E. Kanjorski (11th), John Murtha (12th), Allyson Schwartz (13th), Michael F. Doyle (14th), Charlie Dent (15th), Joe Pitts (16th), Tim Holden (17th), Tim Murphy (18th), and Todd Russell Platts (19th).
In the past decade, no political party has been clearly dominant in Pennsylvania. This, combined with Pennsylvania's rank of 6th in the country in population, has made it one of the most important swing states. Democrats are strong in Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Erie County, Allegheny County, Lehigh County, Northampton County, Luzerne County, and Lackawanna County. Republicans are strong in Lancaster County, York County, Franklin County, Westmoreland County, Butler County, Blair County, Lycoming County, and Cumberland County. Swing counties in the state include Bucks County, Chester County, Berks County, Dauphin County, Cambria County, Beaver County, and Mercer County. In general, the Democrats are strongest in the large metro areas, particularly Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, and Allentown, while Republican support is widespread in rural areas in the central Allegheny Mountains and in the northern counties.
Since 1992, Pennsylvania has been trending Democratic in Presidential elections (though the Pittsburgh metropolitan area trended more Republican in the 2008 Presidential election), voting for Bill Clinton twice by large margins, and slightly closer in 2000 for Al Gore. In the 2004 Presidential Election, Senator John F. Kerry beat President George W. Bush in Pennsylvania 2,938,095 (50.92%) to 2,793,847 (48.42%). Most recently, in the 2008 Presidential Election, Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain in Pennsylvania, 3,184,778 (54%) to 2,584,088 (44%). The state holds 21 electoral votes.
Cities and municipalities
The skyline of Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States
The skyline of Pittsburgh, second largest city in Pennsylvania and 21st largest metropolitan area in the United States
View of the Albertus L. Meyers Bridge along with the PPL Building in Allentown, Pennsylvania's third largest city
The skyline of Erie, Pennsylvania's fourth largest cityMunicipalities in Pennsylvania are incorporated as cities of several classes, as boroughs, as townships of several classes, or under home rule charters. A "village," often identified by a roadside sign, is unincorporated, and is merely a locale without distinct boundaries. There are 2,567 municipalities in the state.
There is some confusion about the number of "towns" in Pennsylvania. In 1870 Bloomsburg, the county seat of Columbia County, was incorporated as a town and is recognized by state government publications as "the only incorporated town" in Pennsylvania. However, in 1975 McCandless Township, in Allegheny County adopted a home rule charter under the name "Town of McCandless".
Ten most populous municipalities
The ten most populous municipalities in Pennsylvania, according to the 2006-2008 Community Survey, are:
5.Upper Darby Township (82,159)
10.Millcreek Township (54,022)
 Ten most populous metropolitan areas
The ten most populous metropolitan areas are:
1.Delaware Valley (Philadelphia) (5,838,471)
2.Pittsburgh metropolitan area (Pittsburgh) (2,351,192)
3.Lehigh Valley (Allentown-Bethlehem- Easton) (808,210)
6.Lancaster metropolitan area (502,370)
Main article: Education in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has 501 public school districts, thousands of private schools, publicly funded colleges and universities, and over 100 private institutions of higher education.
Primary and secondary education
In general, under state law, school attendance in Pennsylvania is mandatory for a child from the age of 8 until the age of 17, or until graduation from an accredited high school, whichever is earlier. As of 2005, 83.8% of Pennsylvania residents age 18 to 24 have completed high school. Among residents age 25 and over, 86.7% have graduated high school. Additionally, 25.7% have gone on to obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher. State students consistently do well in standardized testing. In 2007, Pennsylvania ranked 14th in mathematics, 12th in reading, and 10th in writing for 8th grade students.
In 1988, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 169, which allows parents or guardians to homeschool their children as an option for compulsory school attendance. This law specifies the requirements and responsibilities of the parents and the school district where the family lives.
There are dozens of colleges and universities throughout the state. Four are members of the Association of American Universities, an invitation only organization of leading research universities. These are the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. The University of Pennsylvania is the only university in the state that is in the Ivy League.
Pennsylvania is home to the nation's first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo. Other long-accredited AZA zoos include the Erie Zoo and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The Lehigh Valley Zoo and ZOOAMERICA are other notable zoos. The Commonwealth boasts some of the finest museums in the country, including the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and several others. One unique museum is the Houdini Museum in Scranton, the only building in the world devoted to the legendary magician. Pennsylvania is also home to the National Aviary, located in Pittsburgh.
All 121 state parks in Pennsylvania feature free admission.
Pennsylvania offers a number of notable amusement parks, including Camel Beach, Conneaut Lake Park, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Dutch Wonderland, DelGrosso Amusement Park, Hersheypark, Idlewild Park, Kennywood, Knoebels, Lakemont Park, Sandcastle Waterpark, Sesame Place, Great Wolf Lodge and Waldameer Park. Pennsylvania also is home to the largest indoor waterpark resort on the East Coast, Splash Lagoon in Erie.
There are also notable music festivals that take place in Pennsylvania. These include Musikfest and NEARfest in Bethlehem, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Creation Festival, the Great Allentown Fair, and Purple Door.
There are nearly one million licensed hunters in Pennsylvania. Whitetail deer, cottontail rabbits, squirrel, turkey, and grouse are common game species. Pennsylvania is considered one of the finest wild turkey hunting states in the Union, alongside Texas and Alabama. Sport hunting in Pennsylvania provides a massive boost for the Commonwealth's economy. A report from The Center for Rural Pennsylvania (a Legislative Agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly) reported that hunting, fishing, and furtaking generated a total of $9.6 billion statewide.
The Boone and Crockett Club shows that five of the ten largest (skull size) black bear entries came from the state. The state also has a tied record for the largest hunter shot black bear in the Boone & Crockett books at 733 lb (332 kg) and a skull of 23 3/16 tied with a bear shot in California in 1993.The largest bear ever found dead was in Utah in 1975, and the second largest was shot by a poacher in the state in 1987. Pennsylvania holds the second highest number of Boone & Crockett-recorded record black bears at 183, second only to Wisconsin's 299.
There are 69 railroads in the state and 5,100 miles (8,200 km) of railways, 5th highest in the nation.There are 134 public-use airports and six international airports.The International Airports in the state are:
Philadelphia International Airport
Pittsburgh International Airport
Lehigh Valley International Airport
Harrisburg International Airport
Erie International Airport
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
The Port of Erie is the state's only Great Lakes port and provides access to the St. Lawrence Seaway. It boasts some of the finest port facilities on the Great Lakes. The port of Pittsburgh is the second largest inland port in the United States. There are 120,000 miles (190,000 km) of highways in the state. SEPTA, based in Philadelphia, is the fifth largest transportation agency in the United States. The Port Authority of Allegheny County, which services Pittsburgh, is the 12th largest transportation agency in the United States.
The state has an extensive network of Interstate highways. Interstate 80 runs from the Ohio line in the west to the New Jersey state line at the Delaware Water Gap in the east. The road is toll-free and crosses mostly rural and suburban areas, running far to the South of cities such as Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Williamsport. The Pennsylvania Turnpike consists of several routes crossing the state, including Interstate 76/Interstate 276 (which runs from the Ohio border north of Pittsburgh to the New Jersey state line north of Philadelphia) and Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension, which runs from the mainline in the Philadelphia metro area to Scranton in the North. Interstate 90 runs through Erie County in extreme Northwest Pennsylvania, connecting Ohio with New York. Interstate 86 connects with Interstate 90 in Erie County.
Further information: List of people from Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is home to many professional sports teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer, the Erie Bayhawks of the National Basketball Association Development League, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, the Johnstown Chiefs of the East Coast Hockey League, and the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League. Among them, these teams have accumulated 7 World Series Championships (Pirates 5, Phillies 2), 16 National League Pennants, 3 pre-Super Bowl era NFL Championships (Eagles), 6 Super Bowl Championships (Steelers), 1 Arena Bowl Championship (Soul), 2 NBA Championships (76ers), and 5 Stanley Cup winners (Flyers 2, Penguins 3).
There are many minor league baseball teams located throughout the state; several of these teams are associated with either the Phillies or the Pirates. In 2008, the Phillies moved their AAA-level team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, from Ottawa, Ontario, in Canada, to a newly-constructed stadium, Coca-Cola Park in Allentown. The Lehigh Valley is a core fan base for both the Phillies and the Philadelphia Eagles, who conduct their pre-season training camp on the practice fields of Lehigh University. Therefore, expectations are that the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (named after pig iron, an instrumental part in the construction of steel which has been a large part of the local economy for decades), is likely to prove popular among Allentown and Lehigh Valley Phillies fans. The Phillies' AA team, also called the Phillies, is located in Reading, while the short-season A-level affiliate, called the Crosscutters, is located in Williamsport. The Pirates' AA team, the Curve, is located in Altoona. The short-season A-level affiliate, the State College Spikes, is located in State College. The Spikes share a stadium with the Penn State University baseball team. Other Major League Baseball teams have a presence in the state as well. The New York Yankees' AAA team, also called the Yankees, is located in Moosic, between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre in the northeastern part of the state. The Detroit Tigers' AA team, the SeaWolves, is located in Erie, and the Washington Nationals' AA affiliate, the Senators, plays in the capital of Harrisburg. Two independent-league teams, the Lancaster Barnstormers and York Revolution of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, are located in south-central Pennsylvania, while the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League are located in the south-western corner of the state.
Each summer, the Little League World Series is held in South Williamsport, near where Little League Baseball was founded in Williamsport. Also, the first World Series between the Boston Pilgrims (which became the Boston Red Sox) and Pittsburgh Pirates was played in Pittsburgh in 1903.
College football is very popular in Pennsylvania. The Penn State University Nittany Lions are coached by Joe Paterno who has led Penn State to two national championships (1982 & 1986) as well as five undefeated seasons (1968, 1969, 1973, 1986 and 1994). Penn State plays its home games in the largest stadium in the United States, Beaver Stadium, which seats 107,282. In addition, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers have won nine national championships (1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1976) and have played eight undefeated seasons (1904, 1910, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1937 and 1976). Pitt plays its home games at Heinz Field, a facility it shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Other Pennsylvania schools that have won national titles in football include Lafayette College (1896), Villanova University(2009), and the University of Pennsylvania (1895, 1897, 1904 and 1908). In professional football, the Philadelphia Eagles hold their training camp annually, each July and August, at Lehigh University, in Bethlehem.
College basketball is also popular in the state, especially in the Philadelphia area where five universities, collectively termed the Big Five, have a rich tradition in NCAA Division I basketball. National titles in college basketball have been won by the following Pennsylvania universities: La Salle University (1954), Temple University (1938), University of Pennsylvania (1920 and 1921), University of Pittsburgh (1928 and 1930) and Villanova University (1985).
In motorsports, the Mario Andretti dynasty of race drivers hails from Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley. Notable Racetracks in Pennsylvania include the Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, the Lake Erie Speedway in North East, the Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, the Motordome Speedway in Smithton, the Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth; and the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, which is home both the Pennsylvania 500 and the Pocono 500.
There are also two motocross race tracks that host a round of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championships in Pennsylvania. [High Point Raceway]High Point in located in Mt. Morris, PA, and Steel City is located in Delmont, PA.
Horse racing courses for horses in Pennsylvania consist of The Meadows Racetrack, south of Pittsburgh, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, in Wilkes-Barre and Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack in Chester which offer harness racing, and Penn National Race Course in Grantville and Philadelphia Park, in Bensalem, and Presque Isle Downs, south of Erie, which offer thoroughbred racing. Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, had Philadelphia Park as his home course.
Arnold Palmer, one of the 20th century's most notable pro golfers, comes from Latrobe, while Jim Furyk, a current PGA member, grew up near in Lancaster. PGA tournaments in Pennsylvania include the 84 Lumber Classic, played at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, in Farmington and the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, played at Glenmaura National Golf Club, in Moosic.
Philadelphia is home to LOVE Park, once a skateboarding mecca, and across from City Hall, host to ESPN's X Games in 2001 and 2002.
In his book Yo Mama Cooks Like a Yankee, author Sharon Hernes Silverman calls Pennsylvania the snack food capital of the world. It leads all other states in the manufacture of pretzels and potato chips. The Sturgis Pretzel House introduced the pretzel to America, and companies like Anderson Bakery Company, Intercourse Pretzel Factory, and Snyder's of Hanover are leading manufacturers in the Commonwealth. Two of the three companies that define the U.S. potato chip industry are based in Pennsylvania: Utz Quality Foods, Inc., which started making chips in Hanover, Pennsylvania in 1921, and Wise Snack Foods which started making chips in Berwick in 1921 (the third, Lay's Potato Chips, is a Texas company). Other companies such as Herr Foods, Martin's Potato Chips, Snyder's of Berlin (not associated with Snyder's of Hanover) and Troyer Farms Potato Products are popular chip manufacturers. The U.S. chocolate industry is centered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with Mars, Godiva, and Wilbur Chocolate Company nearby, and smaller manufacturers such as Asher's near Lansdale and Gertrude Hawk of Dunmore. Other notable companies include Just Born in Bethlehem, PA, makers of Hot Tamales, Mike and Ikes, and the Easter favorite marshmallow Peeps, Benzel's Pretzels and Boyer Brothers of Altoona, PA, which is well known for its Mallo Cups. Auntie Anne's Pretzels began as a market-stand in Downingtown, PA and now has corporate headquarters in Lancaster City.Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch foods include chicken potpie, schnitz un knepp (dried apples, hame, and dumplings), fasnachts (raised doughnuts), scrapple, pretzels, bologna, and chow-chow. Shoofly is another traditional Pennsylvanian Dutch food. D.G. Yuengling & Son, America's oldest brewery, has been brewing beer in Pottsville since 1829.
Among the regional foods associated with Philadelphia are pierogies, cheesesteaks, hoagie, soft pretzels, liver on a stick, Italian water ice, scrapple, Tastykake, and strombolis. In Pittsburgh, tomato ketchup was improved by Henry John Heinz from 1876 to the early 1900s. Famous to a lesser extent than Heinz ketchup are the Pittsburgh's Primanti Brothers Restaurant sandwiches. Outside of Scranton, in Old Forge there are dozens of Italian restaurants specializing in pizza made unique by thick, light crust and American cheese. Erie also has its share of unique foods, including sponge candy, pepperoni balls, and ox roast. Sauerkraut along with pork and mashed potatoes is a common meal on New Year's Day in Pennsylvania.
Multi-ethnic cuisine is common, especially in the Philadelphia and Coal Region areas. Amish, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Pakistani, Persian, Polish, Russian, Thai, Turkish cuisine and many others can be found not only in specialty restaurants but at hundreds of community or religious festivals.
The Ruffed Grouse
US Brig Niagara in portPennsylvania state insignia and historical facts State motto Virtue, liberty, and independence (Adapted in 1875, and it represents the fact that Philadelphia was the site where the Declaration of Independence was signed.)
State tree Hemlock
State bird Ruffed grouse
State flower Mountain laure
State insect Photuris Pennsylvanica (Pennsylvania Firefly)
State animal White-tailed deer
State dog Great Dane
State fish Brook Trout
State fossil the trilobite Phacops rana
State beverage Milk
State capital Harrisburg
Union admission rank 2nd
State song Pennsylvania (Formerly Hail, Pennsylvania!, until 1990)
State dance Polka
State toy Slinky
State ship United States Brig Niagara
State electric locomotive Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 #4849 Locomotive
State steam locomotive Pennsylvania Railroad K4s Locomotive
State beautification plant Crown vetch
State soil Hazleton
Pennsylvania has been known as the Keystone State since 1802, based in part upon its central location among the original Thirteen Colonies forming the United States, and also in part because of the number of important American documents signed in the state (such as the Declaration of Independence). It was also a keystone state economically, having both the industry common to the North (making such wares as Conestoga wagons and rifles) and the agriculture common to the South (producing feed, fiber, food, and tobacco).
Another one of Pennsylvania's nicknames is the Quaker State; in colonial times, it was known officially as the Quaker Province, in recognition of Quaker William Penn's First Frame of Government constitution for Pennsylvania that guaranteed liberty of conscience. He knew of the hostility Quakers faced when they opposed religious ritual, taking oaths, violence, war and military service, and what they viewed as ostentatious frippery.
"The Coal State", "The Oil State", and "The Steel State" were adopted when those were the state's greatest industries.
"The State of Independence" currently appears on many road signs entering the state