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Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Parrish Hall at Swarthmore College
Parrish Hall at Swarthmore College
Location in Delaware County and the state of Pennsylvania.
Location in Delaware County and the state of Pennsylvania.
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Delaware
 • Total 1.40 sq mi (3.63 km2)
 • Land 1.40 sq mi (3.63 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
125 ft (38 m)
 • Total 6,194
 • Estimate 
 • Density 4,532.86/sq mi (1,750.28/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 610 and 484
FIPS code 42-045-75648
FIPS code 42-75648
GNIS feature ID 1189142

Swarthmore ( SWORTH-mor SWAHTH-mor) is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. Swarthmore was originally named "Westdale" in honor of noted painter Benjamin West, who was one of the early residents of the town. The name was changed to "Swarthmore" after the establishment of Swarthmore College. The borough population was 6,194 as of the 2010 census.


The borough was originally part of Springfield Township, and grew up around Swarthmore College, which was founded in 1864. The advent of passenger rail service from Philadelphia in the 1880s greatly enhanced the desirability of the borough as a commuter suburb, and the borough was incorporated in 1893.

The Ogden House and Benjamin West Birthplace are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Swarthmore is located in east-central Delaware County at 39°54′6″N 75°20′49″W / 39.90167°N 75.34694°W / 39.90167; -75.34694 (39.901788, -75.347083). It is bordered to the north, east, and southwest by Springfield Township, to the southeast by Ridley Township, and to the west by Nether Providence Township. Crum Creek, a south-flowing tributary of the Delaware River, forms the western boundary of the borough.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Swarthmore borough has a total area of 1.40 square miles (3.63 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 903
1910 1,899 110.3%
1920 2,350 23.7%
1930 3,405 44.9%
1940 4,061 19.3%
1950 4,825 18.8%
1960 5,753 19.2%
1970 6,156 7.0%
1980 5,950 −3.3%
1990 6,157 3.5%
2000 6,170 0.2%
2010 6,194 0.4%
2020 6,543 5.6%

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,194 people, 1,963 households, and 1,327 families residing in the borough. The population density was 4,460.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,722.2/km2). There were 2,081 housing units at an average density of 1,492.1 per square mile (576.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 82.5% White, 7.7% Asian, 5.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, .7% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.9% of the population.

There were 1,963 households, out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.3% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.4% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.5% 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 3.06.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 20.7% under the age of 18, 15.8% from 20 to 24, 15.3% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.

As of 2015, the median income for a household in the borough was $101,686, and the median income for a family was $144,570. Males had a median income of $71,750 versus $51,117 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $40,482. About 0.0% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line.

Cultural institutions

The Ogden House

Scott Arboretum is located on the campus of Swarthmore College.

The Swarthmore Public Library is at 121 Park Avenue in the center of the borough.


Swarthmore Station, a SEPTA Regional Rail train station on the Media/Elwyn Line, sits between the college and the town's center.

SEPTA Route 109 bus connecting Chester with Upper Darby stops along Chester Road.


Swarthmore lies within the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. In 1983, the district was formed via a merger with the Nether Providence School District and Swarthmore-Rutledge School District. Public school students attend Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School, housed in the old Swarthmore High School, for grades K-5, Strath Haven Middle School for grades 6–8, and Strath Haven High School for grades 9-12.

The borough's only private school is the George Crothers Memorial School, housed in the old Rutgers Avenue School. Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic School is located adjacent to the borough.

For higher education, the borough is home to Swarthmore College, an academically-acclaimed private liberal arts college.

Notable people

  • Charles Andes (1930–2006), businessman
  • Valerie Hollister (born 1939), artist, painter.
  • John Honnold (1915–2011), law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
  • Edmund Jones, Swarthmore Mayor from 1966–1971 and Pennsylvania State Representative 1971–1974.
  • Mary Gay Scanlon (born 1959), United States Representative, from 2018 to present.
  • Benjamin West (1738–1820), artist, painter
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