Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania facts for kids

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Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the USA highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded March 10, 1682
Seat Philadelphia
Largest City Philadelphia
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

143 sq mi (370 km²)
134 sq mi (347 km²)
8.6 sq mi (22 km²), 6.0%
PopulationEst.
 - (2015)
 - Density

1,567,442
11,697/sq mi (4,516/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: http://www.phila.gov/
County flag Flag of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia County is a county located in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At the 2010 census, the population was 1,526,006, making it the most populous county in the state, despite being the second smallest county in the state by land area. Philadelphia County is one of the three original counties, along with Chester and Bucks counties, created by William Penn in November 1682. Since 1854, the county has been coterminous with the city of Philadelphia, which also serves as its seat. It is the most populous county in the United States coterminous with a municipality.

Philadelphia County is the heart of the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (Delaware Valley) Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Metropolitan Area ranks 7th most populous in the United States.

History

Tribes of Lenape were the first known occupants in the area that became Philadelphia County. The first European settlers were Swedes and Finns who arrived in 1638. The Netherlands seized the area in 1655, but permanently lost control to England in 1674. William Penn received his charter for Pennsylvania from Charles II of England in 1681, and in November 1682 he divided Pennsylvania into three counties. In the same year, Philadelphia was laid out and was made the county seat and the capital of the Province of Pennsylvania.

Penn wanted Philadelphia, meaning "brotherly love", to be a place where religious tolerance and the freedom to worship were ensured. would be found blameless at the Last Judgment.

When established, Philadelphia County consisted mainly of the area from the Delaware River west between the Schuylkill River to the south and the border with Bucks County to the north; the western boundary was undefined. Two counties would be formed out of Philadelphia County, Berks County which was formed in 1752 (from parts of Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties), and Montgomery County established in 1784. From these separations, as well as other border moves, come the present-day boundaries of the county.

The City of Philadelphia, as laid out by Penn, comprised only that portion of the present day city situated between South and Vine Streets and the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Other settlements were made beyond the boundaries of the city, and in the course of time they became separately incorporated and had separate governments.

Several of these settlements were situated immediately contiguous to the "city proper" of Philadelphia such as Southwark and Moyamensing in the south, the Northern Liberties District, Kensington, Spring Garden and Penn District to the north, and West Philadelphia and Blockley to the west — which combined with the City of Philadelphia formed practically one continuously built up town, the whole group being known abroad simply as Philadelphia.

Besides these, there were a number of other outlying townships, villages and settlements throughout the county. Over time, as the population expanded out from the City of Philadelphia, those closer to the City of Philadelphia became absorbed in the congeries of towns of which greater Philadelphia was composed, while those further away from the city often joined with other townships, villages and settlements to form the newer counties of Berks and Montgomery.

During this period, the city government of Philadelphia and the county government of Philadelphia acted separately. By the mid-19th century, it was clear that a more structured government bureaucracy was needed. A reform charter, on February 2, 1854, brought all the boroughs, townships and districts of the County of Philadelphia within the City of Philadelphia, thus abolishing the patchwork of cities, boroughs, and townships that had made up Philadelphia County since its founding.

The city-county consolidation was a result of the inability of a colonial-type government by committees to adapt to the needs of a growing city for new public services, for example, better streets, police, transportation, sanitation and schools.

The newly integrated districts had marked characteristics between them, but over time, after the consolidation, these characteristics generally integrated into the City of Philadelphia known today. Today, the names of some of these districts are synonymous with neighborhoods in the city, with their boundaries roughly matching their historic boundaries.

In 1951, a new initiative called the Home Rule Charter fully merged city and county offices. This new charter provided the city with a common structure and outlined the "strong mayor" form of government that is still used today.

The county offices were merged with the city government in 1952, effectively eliminating the county as a governmental structure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Even though the county no longer has a government structure by law, in both the Unconsolidated Pennsylvania Statutes and The Philadelphia Code and Charter, the County of Philadelphia is still an entity within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is thus subject to the provisions and laws of the Commonwealth concerning counties. Exceptions include restrictions stated in the Home Rule Charter of Philadelphia, Act of Consolidation, 1854, and subsequent legislation. The county also is the only First Class County, meaning it had a population of 1.5 million or above at the last census, in the Commonwealth.

Philadelphia has become racially and ethnically diverse over the years, and this process continues. Since 1990, (the year that immigration began increasing), thousands of immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Europe have arrived in the county. Today, the city has some of the largest Irish, Italian, German, Polish, Puerto Rican, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, Ukrainian, Jamaican, Chinese, Arab, Thai and Cambodian populations in America. The county has the fourth largest concentration of African Americans in North America, including large representations of Liberians, Nigerians, and Sudanese. The Northeast section of the city, and more significantly the suburbs of Philadelphia, contain vast numbers of Indian Americans and Mexicans.

At the 2010 US Census, the city was 41.0% White, 43.4% Black or African American, 0.5% American Indian or Alaskan Native, 6.3% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian, 2.8% two or more race, and 5.9% were some other race. 12.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 143 square miles (370 km2), of which 134 square miles (350 km2) is land and 8.6 square miles (22 km2) (6.0%) is water. It is the second-smallest county in Pennsylvania by area. Bodies of water include the Delaware River, Schuylkill River, Cobbs Creek, Wissahickon Creek, and Pennypack Creek.

The lowest point in the county is 10 feet above sea level near Fort Mifflin in Southwest Philadelphia at the convergence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The highest point is in Chestnut Hill, at 432 feet above sea level, near Evergreen Place, just north and west of Evergreen Avenue.

Adjacent counties

Major Highways

  • I-76
  • I-95
  • I-676
  • US 1
  • US 13
  • US 30
  • PA 3
  • PA 23
  • PA 63
  • PA 73
  • PA 291
  • PA 309
  • PA 611

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 54,391
1800 81,009 48.9%
1810 111,210 37.3%
1820 137,097 23.3%
1830 188,797 37.7%
1840 258,037 36.7%
1850 408,762 58.4%
1860 565,529 38.4%
1870 674,022 19.2%
1880 847,170 25.7%
1890 1,046,964 23.6%
1900 1,293,697 23.6%
1910 1,549,008 19.7%
1920 1,823,779 17.7%
1930 1,950,961 7.0%
1940 1,931,334 −1.0%
1950 2,071,605 7.3%
1960 2,002,512 −3.3%
1970 1,948,609 −2.7%
1980 1,688,609 −13.3%
1990 1,585,577 −6.1%
2000 1,517,550 −4.3%
2010 1,526,006 0.6%
Est. 2015 1,567,442 2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

At the 2000 census, there were 1,517,550 people, 590,071 households and 352,272 families residing in the county. The population density was 11,233.6/square mile (4,337.3/km²). There were 661,958 housing units at an average density of 4,900.1/sq mi (1,891.9/km²). and the racial makeup of the county was 45.0% White, 43.2% African American, 5.5% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.8% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population. The top five largest ancestries include Irish (13.6%), Italian (9.2%), German (8.1%), Polish (4.3%), and English (2.9%).

Of the 590,071 households, 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.1% were married couples living together, 22.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.3% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.22.

25.3% of the population were under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 25, 29.3% from 25 to 45, 20.3% from 45 to 65, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.8 males.

The median household income was $30,746 and the median family income was $37,036. Males had a median income of $34,199 compared with $28,477 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,509. About 18.4% of families and 22.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.3% of those under age 18 and 16.9% of those age 65 or over.

The 2004 Census estimations were 1,463,281 people and 658,799 housing units.

Communities

PhilaCnty1854
Map of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (pre-consolidation)

The following districts, townships, and boroughs existed in Philadelphia County before the Act of Consolidation in 1854:

City

Boroughs


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