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Delaware Valley
Greater Philadelphia
Southeastern Pennsylvania

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA
Map of the Lower Delaware Valley Metropolitan Area. In addition to the yellow-shaded area, other parts of South Jersey (namely, Atlantic County and Cape May County) and Delaware (such as Dover) are considered to be part of the Delaware Valley or Philadelphia Metropolitan Area.
Map of the Lower Delaware Valley Metropolitan Area. In addition to the yellow-shaded area, other parts of South Jersey (namely, Atlantic County and Cape May County) and Delaware (such as Dover) are considered to be part of the Delaware Valley or Philadelphia Metropolitan Area.
Country Flag of United States.svg United States
State  - Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania
 - Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey
 - Flag of Delaware.svg Delaware
 - Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland
Principal cities and towns Philadelphia
Atlantic City
Upper Darby
Middletown Township
Cherry Hill
West Chester
Washington Township
Cape May Court House
Lower Township
The Wildwoods
Ventnor City
Margate City
Sea Isle City
Lower Merion
Gloucester Township
King of Prussia
Bensalem Township
 • Urban
1,981.4 sq mi (5,131.7 km2)
 • Metro
5,118 sq mi (13,256 km2)
0 - 1,080 ft (0 - 329 m)
 (2013 est.)
 • Density 2,746.32/sq mi (1,060.36/km2)
 • Urban
5,441,567 (5th)
 • MSA
6,096,372 (8th)
 • CSA
7,146,706 (8th)
  MSA/CSA = 2013, Urban = 2010
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EST)

The Delaware Valley is the valley through which the Delaware River flows. By extension, this toponym is commonly used to refer to Greater Philadelphia or the Philadelphia metropolitan area ("the [Lower] Delaware Valley Metropolitan Area"). The Delaware Valley is coterminous with a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and broader combined statistical area (CSA), and is composed of counties located in Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As of the 2010 Census, the MSA has a population of over 6 million, while the CSA has a population of over 7.1 million.

Philadelphia is by far the largest municipality in the Delaware Valley, and serves as the region's major commercial, cultural, and industrial center. Other municipalities in the MSA include Camden, New Jersey and Wilmington, Delaware, while the larger CSA also includes municipalities such as Reading, Pennsylvania and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Delaware Valley Metropolitan Area is located in the Northeastern United States and forms part of a larger urbanized area known as the Northeast megalopolis. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Philadelphia metropolitan area has a gross domestic product of $431 billion, the ninth-largest among U.S. metropolitan areas. 2016 Census Bureau estimates rank the Delaware Valley CSA as the ninth-largest CSA in the United States.

The Delaware Valley has been influential in American history and industry; its citizens have become leaders in higher education, biotechnology, medicine, tourism, and other fields. The area has hosted many people and sites significant to American culture, history, and politics. Philadelphia is sometimes known as "The Birthplace of America", as both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed in Philadelphia. The Delaware Valley was home to many other instrumental moments in the American Revolution, and Philadelphia served as the capital of the United States for much of the 18th century. Today, the area is home to a number of nationally known universities, such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Villanova University, Saint Joseph's University, Temple University, La Salle University and University of Delaware.


In geology and geography, a strict sense of the term would incorporate the Delaware River's main drainage basin, and so encompass major tributaries such as the Schuylkill River and Lehigh River and their valleys or sub-basins. These extensions also apply culturally with decreasing degree gradually decreased by proximal distance because the ease of land travel enables a great deal of daily interaction; for example, the large number of commuters who travel daily 45–90 minutes creates cultural blends and parallel values.

The drainage basin of the Delaware River.

Population and economy

The Delaware Valley Metropolitan Area is located at the southern part of the Northeast megalopolis extending from Boston to Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas.

The Delaware Valley Metropolitan Area is composed of several counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and southwestern New Jersey, one county in northern Delaware and one county in northeastern Maryland. The MSA has a population of over 6 million, while the CSA has a population of over 7.1 million (as of the 2010 Census Bureau count). Philadelphia, being the region's major commercial, cultural, and industrial center, wields a rather large sphere of influence that affects the counties that immediately surround it.

As of March 2011, the Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington, PA–NJ–DE–MD Metropolitan Statistical Area constitutes the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Its CSA ranks 8th.

Based on commuter flows, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also defines a wider labor market region that adds Berks County, Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington metro area, bringing the total metropolitan population to 6.53 million.

Philadelphia's media market ranks fourth, behind New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, in Nielsen Media Market size rankings. It also borders the New York metropolitan area located directly to the north of this area.

Such educational institutions as Delaware Valley Regional High School in Alexandria Township and Delaware Valley College in Doylestown Township are named after the region. Likewise, Frenchtown's now defunct newspaper The Delaware Valley News was another example of the usage.

Counties making up the Delaware Valley

See also: Metropolitan Statistical Areas of New Jersey



New Jersey

See also: South Jersey


Principal cities

The following metropolitan areas (MSAs) — except the Trenton MSA — are included in the Combined Statistical Area (CSA). Although much of the Trenton MSA (Mercer County) is considered part of the Delaware Valley (from a cultural perspective) and often considered part of Philadelphia's media market area, it is classified as part of New York's CSA (by the federal Office of Management and Budget). The principal cities in each MSA are as follows:

Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Reading Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Vineland–Millville–Bridgeton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Atlantic City–Hammonton, New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Dover, Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Ocean City, New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Trenton, New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (part of the New York CSA)


Sticker by the Delaware Valley's Lenape Indians in 2008 claiming West Philadelphia is their home.
Bassett's Ice Cream at Reading Terminal
Bassett's Ice Cream at Reading Terminal Market

The Delaware Valley is home to extensive populations of Irish Americans, German Americans, English Americans, Ukrainian Americans, Italian Americans, Polish Americans, Scottish Americans, Scotch-Irish Americans, Greek Americans, African Americans (over 40% of the city of Philadelphia's residents are black), Asians such as Chinese, Indian, Korean and Vietnamese, Armenians, Arabs and Turks, Indians and Pakistanis, Israelis (while American Jews form a significant ethno-religious community), Hispanics. Within the Hispanic population, the vast majority are Puerto Ricans, though other groups include Dominicans and Mexicans. There is a significant West Indian community. There is even a small Native American community known as Lenapehoking for Lenni-Lenape Indians of West Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's suburbs contain a high concentration of malls, the two largest of which have at least 5,000,000 square feet (460,000 m2) of office space, and at least 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) of retail. These are the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, which is the largest in the United States (leasable sq. feet of retail space), and the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which was the first enclosed mall on the East Coast. Malls, office complexes, strip shopping plazas, expressways, and tract housing are common sights, and more and more continue to replace rolling countryside, farms, woods, and wetlands. However, due to strong opposition by residents and political officials, many acres of land have been preserved throughout the Delaware Valley. Older townships and large boroughs such as Cheltenham, Norristown, Jenkintown, Upper Darby and West Chester retain distinct community identities while engulfed in suburbia. The fastest-growing counties are Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, and Gloucester. Upper Darby, in Delaware County is the largest township in the United States.


The Delaware Valley has four distinct seasons with ample precipitation and is divided by the 0 °C (32 °F) January isotherm. Most of Philadelphia and the NJ portion, almost all of the DE and MD portions, part of Delaware County, and extreme southern portions of Bucks and Chester Counties have a humid subtropical climate (Cfa.) The remainder of the Delaware Valley has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa.) Snow amounts may vary widely year-to-year and normally do vary widely within the Delaware Valley. The region has only two ski areas: Bear Creek Ski and Recreation Area in eastern Berks County and Spring Mountain in central Montgomery County.

Using the -3 °C January isotherm as a boundary, all of the Delaware Valley is humid subtropical except for portions of Berks County and higher areas of northern Chester County. The warm-summer humid continental climate (Dfb) only exists in higher areas of Berks where all monthly temperatures average below 22 °C.

Colonial history

See also: Thirteen Colonies

The valley was the territory of the Susquehannock and Lenape, who are recalled in place names throughout the region. The region became part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland after the exploration of Delaware Bay in 1609. The Dutch called the Delaware River the Zuyd Rivier, or South River, and considered the lands along it banks and those of its bay to be the southern flank of its province of New Netherland. In 1638, it began to be settled by Swedes, Forest Finns, Dutch, and Walloons and became the colony of New Sweden, though this was not officially recognized by the Dutch Empire which re-asserted control in 1655. The area was taken by the English in 1664. The name Delaware comes from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, who had arrived at Jamestown, Virginia in 1610, just as original settlers were about to abandon it, and thus maintaining the English foothold on the North American continent.


Many residents commute to jobs in Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington with the help of expressways and trains. Commutes from one suburb to another are also common, as office parks have sprung up in new commercial centers such as King of Prussia, Fort Washington, Cherry Hill, and Plymouth Meeting.

Commuter rail

Formerly, the region was served by the Delaware Valley Railway.

Thirty St Station
Philadelphia's 30th St. Station has SEPTA Regional Rail and Amtrak service
  • SEPTA Regional Rail
    • Airport Line connecting Central Philadelphia with Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties.
    • Wilmington/Newark Line connecting Philadelphia to the Wilmington, DE area (with limited weekday service to Newark, DE), via Chester City and Delaware County.
    • Warminster Line connecting Philadelphia with southeastern Montgomery County and Warminster in Bucks County.
    • West Trenton Line connecting Philadelphia north to the Trenton, NJ area, serving Montgomery and Bucks County, PA between Jenkintown, PA and Yardley, PA, with the final stop in Ewing, NJ.
    • Media/Elwyn Line connecting Philadelphia to central Delaware County.
    • Paoli/Thorndale Line connecting Philadelphia with the affluent Main Line area and western Chester County near Coatesville.
    • Lansdale/Doylestown Line connecting Philadelphia with Lansdale in central Montgomery County and Doylestown in Bucks County.
    • Manayunk/Norristown Line connecting Philadelphia with Conshohocken and Norristown in Montgomery County.
    • Cynwyd Line connecting Philadelphia with Bala Cynwyd on the Philadelphia/Montgomery County line (limited weekday service)
    • Trenton Line connecting Philadelphia to Trenton, NJ, serving Bucks County.
    • Fox Chase Line connecting Central Philadelphia with the Fox Chase area in Philadelphia.
    • Chestnut Hill East Line and Chestnut Hill West Line connecting Central Philadelphia with the Chestnut Hill area of the city.
  • New Jersey Transit
    • Atlantic City Line connecting Philadelphia to Atlantic City, NJ with connections to PATCO Speedline in Lindenwold, NJ.
    • River Line connecting Camden (NJ) to Trenton (NJ) running along the east bank of the Delaware River.
  • MARC
  • PATCO Speedline connecting Philadelphia to Lindenwold, NJ in Camden County with connections to NJT's Atlantic City Line.

Major highways

USA Aout 2007 397
Schuylkill Expressway


  • I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway)
  • I-78 / US 22
  • I-95 (Delaware Expressway)
  • I-176
  • I-76 / I-276 / Penna Turnpike
  • I-476 (Blue Route)
  • I-476 / Penna Turnpike NE Extension
  • I-676 / US 30 (Vine Street Expressway)
  • US 1 (Lincoln Expressway/Roosevelt Boulevard/City Line Avenue/Kennett-Oxford Bypass)
  • US 13
  • US 30 (Lancaster Avenue/Lincoln Highway)
  • US 202
  • US 222 (Outer Bypass/Shillington Bypass)
  • US 322 (Conchester Highway/Horseshoe Pike)
  • US 422 (Pottstown Expressway/West Shore Bypass)
  • PA 12 (Warren Street Bypass)
  • PA 61 (Centre Avenue/Pottsville Pike)
  • PA 63 (Woodhaven Road/Welsh Road/Sumneytown Pike)
  • PA 100 (Pottstown Pike)
  • PA 309 (Fort Washington Expressway/Bethlehem Pike/Sellersville-Souderton Bypass)
  • PA 611 (Doylestown Bypass)

New Jersey

  • N.J. Turnpike
  • G.S. Parkway
  • A.C. Expressway
  • I-76
  • I-295
  • I-676 (North-South Freeway)
  • US 9
  • US 30
  • US 40
  • US 130
  • US 206
  • US 322
  • Route 38
  • Route 42 (North-South Freeway)
  • Route 55
  • Route 70
  • Route 73
  • Route 90


  • I-95 / Delaware Turnpike
  • I-295
  • I-495
  • US 13
  • US 40
  • US 113
  • US 202
  • US 301
  • DE 1
  • DE 141


Delaware River Bridges

2012 Ben Franklin Bridge and Race Street Pier
Ben Franklin Bridge
Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport


  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE)
  • New Castle Airport (ILG)
  • Reading Regional Airport (RDG)
  • Atlantic City International Airport (ACY)


Sports teams

Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies

Listing of the professional sports teams in the Delaware Valley


The two main newspapers are The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, owned by the Philadelphia Media Network. Local television channels include KYW-TV 3 (CBS), WPVI 6 (ABC), WCAU 10 (NBC), WHYY-TV 12 (PBS), WPHL-TV 17 (MyNetworkTV), WTXF 29 (FOX), WPSG 57 (CW), and WPPX 61 (Ion). Radio stations serving the area include: WRTI, WIOQ, WDAS (AM), and WTEL.

Lexicon note

Some believe that the term "Delaware Valley" is not entirely a synonym for "Greater Philadelphia". "Greater Philadelphia" implies that the region is centered on the city in an economic and cultural context, while "Delaware Valley" is a more generic geographic term that does not imply that any part is of more consequence than any other. Several organizations, such as KYW Radio and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, consciously use the term "Greater Philadelphia" to assert that Philadelphia is the center of the region, referring to the less urbanized areas as "Philadelphia's countryside". Others note that the customary media usage of the term omits the majority of the length of the Delaware River's valley that is not in metropolitan Philadelphia.

WPVI-TV uses the slogan, "The Delaware Valley's leading news program" for their Action News broadcast, since that program has led the ratings for news programs in the Philadelphia market for over 30 years.

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