The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Philadelphia

From cost of living and slang to the best moving tips, here’s everything you need to know before moving to Philadelphia.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jul 25, 2022
If you’re considering moving to
, get ready for a slightly-above-average cost of living, terrible parking and traffic, and cold winters—but for creative professionals, foodies, and families, it might just be the perfect place to call home
Philadelphia is the literal birthplace of the United States. The Declaration of Independence was signed here in 1776. Located on the Delaware River and across the border from New Jersey, this state is full of incredible history.
Today, Philadelphia has grown into a progressive cultural hub with more than 1.5 million people. Maybe you’re familiar with pop icon
, the famous cheesesteak, or even Queer Eye’s Season 5, which was filmed in the City of Brotherly Love. If not, get ready for a treat because there’s a lot to love about Philly.
Before you move, here are some key things you should know. To help you weigh out the pros and cons of moving to Philadelphia,
has put together this quick guide to costs, neighborhoods, weather, job prospects, and more. Jerry is a
super app
that helps people save money on
—and we’d love to help you prepare for your move!
Compare insurance quotes from 50+ carriers with Jerry in under 45 seconds
rating primary
4.7/5 App Store Rating. Trusted by 2+ Million Customers.

What you need to know about Philadelphia before you move

Philadelphia is home to the Fresh Prince, the Liberty Bell, and the
. In the 141 square miles that make up Philadelphia, you will discover an incredible diversity of people, art, and architecture. It’s all just two and a half hours from our nation’s capital. 
Philly’s reputation precedes it, but there’s so much more to this city than meets the eye. Truly, there’s nowhere like Philadelphia—and here’s what you need to know before moving here.

1. It’s a pretty affordable place to live

The overall cost of living index in Philadelphia is 101.2, slightly over the national average. If you look specifically at the housing portion, it’s a measly 66.3. This means that housing costs in Philly are much lower than the national average!
Unless you’re moving from
New York
, or
San Francisco
—all of which rank as some of the most expensive cities in the U.S.—you are almost guaranteed a more affordable cost of living if you move to Philadelphia. 
Let’s start with housing costs. You can expect to pay around $1,300 to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia. However, in a popular neighborhood like Bella Vista, you’ll pay upwards of $2,700 on rent. The average square footage of a one-bedroom is under 800 square feet
Grocery costs in Philly are slightly higher than the national average—and prices of consumer goods are
on the rise
. Currently, you can get a dozen eggs for $2.94 and a beer for $4.27. Groceries are tax-free here, but restaurant meals are subject to tax.
Of course, expensive is relative—it depends on how much you’re earning. The median salary in Philadelphia is $49,127, but the city’s minimum wage is just $7.25 per hour

2. There are more jobs than ever 

Philadelphia is home to prosperous industries such as health care, IT, biotechnology, finance, and manufacturing. Higher education and tourism are very important to Philly’s economy as well. 
Future job growth here is predicted to be strong, but this city still lags behind the rest of the country when it comes to adding new jobs to the economy. It’s unclear how many of these promised future jobs will be minimum-wage.

3. Crime is an ongoing problem

crime rates
in Philly consistently rank higher than the national average—especially when it comes to violent offenses. In 2021, there were 562 homicides. There were more than 16,000 car thefts, and
are on the rise.
If you are worried about crime, check out some of the safer neighborhoods in Philadelphia: Chestnut Hill, East Falls, or Roxborough. It may also be worth upgrading your car security system (bonus: this could earn you a discount on your
car insurance

4. It’s got the average percentage of kids—and the third-highest percentage of dogs

About 22% of Philadelphia’s residents are kids under 18, with a majority Black and Hispanic population. This is the same as the national figure. The median age in the city is 34.6 years old.
If you have kids—or are planning to have kids—Philadelphia is a great place for growing families. With a diverse and neighborly community of young people, your kids would grow up with plenty of great role models from different backgrounds. 
If your kids have four paws, you’ll be glad to know that 47.67% of Philadelphia residents own at least
one dog
. This makes sense when you think about how walkable the city is. Your pup will be in good company!

5. Transportation is costly, but public transit is available

Finding a parking spot and dealing with
are two of the worst parts of living in Philadelphia. 
You can
own a car in Philadelphia
, and your average commute will be 31.5 minutes. However, Philly is rated the 10th-worst city in the entire country for traffic.
(Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) is good enough to reach most places in the city by public transit. There are even trolleys! However, if you’d rather not pay for the commuter rail or if you hate buses, then bring your walking shoes.

6. You’ll get all four seasons in a big, big way

Summers are humid and hot, starting around May. But it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia—winters are cold and snowy. The average temperature in January is about 28 F, but it’s not unusual to get cold spurts down to 15 F.
The good news is that Philly is at a low risk for most natural disasters. Flooding is the most likely event, with a rare tornado in the mix. As the city is bordered by three rivers, it’s easy to see why high humidity and
are common in Philadelphia.

7. Get used to the lingo

Water is pronounced “wooder,” jimmies are sprinkles, and water ice is—well, it’s a delicious drink, and you’ll have to trust us on that. Jawn is sort of like a joint (a place), or a thing. Or an event. It’s difficult to translate. 
Sub sandwiches are called hoagies, and
youse jabronis
better know the difference before moving to Philadelphia.
Oh, and you can call it Philly, but please don’t say “City of Brotherly Love” out loud.

Does Philadelphia live up to its stereotypes?

The Liberty Bell, City of Brotherly Love, the famous Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, incredible live music—it’s safe to say that Philadelphia lives up to its stereotypes. But in our opinion, that’s a good thing!
Philly is an artful, vibrant city with a bright future. If you like the idea of building a relationship with your neighbors, commuting in the snow several months out of the year, and enjoying an urban lifestyle at an affordable price, then Philadelphia could be the perfect place for you.
If you’re nervous about living in a city with a high crime rate, you hate traffic, and you’re not interested in all four seasons, then Philly may not be the city for you.
Moving to Philadelphia is a big step! For tips on how to make your move as easy as possible, keep reading. 
Key Takeaway Intense winters and high crime rates balance out the affordable cost of living, historic sites, and incredible food in Philadelphia. 

Finding a place to live in Philadelphia

The first thing you’ll need is a place to live. If you’re looking to buy a house, the median listing price is $280,000. The housing market is somewhat competitive, but at least prices are generally lower than the rest of the country. 
Renting is a great idea. Not only does renting give you time to explore different neighborhoods before buying, but it’s also more affordable. You can expect to pay about $1,500 per month for a one-bedroom, or a bit less if you live farther away from
Center City
Start by making a rough budget that includes housing, personal items, nightlife cash, and more. 
If you’re not familiar with Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, here is a quick guide:
  • Most iconic neighborhoods: Fishtown, Old City, Rittenhouse Square, South Philly
  • Best neighborhoods if you’ve got kids: Chestnut Hill, Bella Vista, Northern Liberties
  • Best neighborhoods for foodies: Fishtown, Midtown Village, Society Hill
  • Best neighborhoods if you want to keep your car: Fairmount, East Falls, Roxborough
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: Manayunk, Fishtown, Torresdale
A short-term rental can help you get to know the neighborhood before you commit to a lease (or a mortgage). 
Pro Tip If you want to live downtown but don’t want to pay downtown prices, get a roommate to save money. 

Moving to Philadelphia checklist 

Ready to make your move? These checklists will help you stay on track, from packing your valuables to
your first night in your new home

Before you go

Before you move, make sure to: 

After you get there

Once you arrive, there are a few final steps before you can settle in completely: 
  • If you moved with a car from another state, be sure to
    register your car
    in Pennsylvania and
    update your insurance
  • If you are renting,
    buy renters’ insurance
    to protect yourself and your belongings (and your wallet!)
  • Change your mailing address, voter registration, and healthcare information. 
  • Get out and explore! Find your new favorite coffee shop, bar, and park. Remember to greet your neighbors—it’s the Philly way. 

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Philadelphia

Whether you’re shuttling your family around in Bella Vista, renting in Fishtown, or buying an iconic rowhouse, you will need insurance. Find everything you need with help from the insurance super app
From auto to homeowners and renters insurance, Jerry can help you get coverage fast—all you need is to download an app. 
No matter what type of insurance you need, this
super app
will find you the lowest possible price. Tweak your coverage, tap a few times, and you’re good to go. Let Jerry take care of the insurance shopping so you can enjoy life in your new city! 
“I usually don’t leave reviews, but this app was amazing! I’m young and wanted a nice car, so I thought insurance companies would charge me extra. But
chopped my usual payments in half! Thanks, Jerry.” —Gabby E.
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare and find out in 45 seconds.
Find Savings!
No long forms. No spam calls. Free Quotes.
4.7/5 App Store Rating, 8,100+ Reviews
Trusted by 1.5+ Million Customers.
rating primary


Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free