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More About Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, often called Philly, is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the sixth-largest city in the U.S., the second-largest city in both the Northeast megalopolis and Mid-Atlantic regions after New York City, and the 68th-largest city in the world. Since 1854, the city has been coextensive with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the Delaware Valley, the nation’s seventh-largest and world’s 35th-largest metropolitan region, with 6.245 million residents as of 2020. The city’s population as of the 2020 census was 1,603,797, and over 56 million people live within 250 miles of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by William Penn, an English Quaker. The city served as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony during the British colonial era and went on to play a historic and vital role as the central meeting place for the nation’s founding fathers whose plans and actions in Philadelphia ultimately inspired the American Revolution and the nation’s independence. Philadelphia hosted the First Continental Congress in 1774 following the Boston Tea Party, preserved the Liberty Bell, and hosted the Second Continental Congress during which the founders signed the Declaration of Independence, which historian Joseph Ellis has described as “the most potent and consequential words in American history”. Once the Revolutionary War commenced, both the Battle of Germantown and the Siege of Fort Mifflin were fought within Philadelphia’s city limits. The U.S. Constitution was later ratified in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. Philadelphia remained the nation’s largest city until 1790, when it was surpassed by New York City, and served as the nation’s first capital from May 10, 1775, until December 12, 1776, and on four subsequent occasions during and following the American Revolution, including from 1790 to 1800 while the new national capital of Washington, D.C. was under construction.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Philadelphia emerged as a major national industrial center and railroad hub. The city’s blossoming industrial sector attracted European immigrants, predominantly from Germany and Ireland, the two largest reported ancestry groups in the city as of 2015. In the 20th century, immigrant waves from Italy and elsewhere in Southern Europe arrived. Following the end of the Civil War in 1865, Philadelphia became a leading destination for African Americans in the Great Migration. In the 20th century, Puerto Rican Americans moved to the city in large numbers. Between 1890 and 1950, Philadelphia’s population doubled to 2.07 million. Philadelphia has since attracted immigrants from East and South Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
With 18 four-year universities and colleges, Philadelphia is one of the nation’s leading centers for higher education and academic research. As of 2021, the Philadelphia metropolitan area was the nation’s ninth-largest metropolitan economy with a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of US$479 billion. Philadelphia is the largest center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and the broader multi-state Delaware Valley region; the city is home to five Fortune 500 corporate headquarters as of 2022. The Philadelphia skyline is expanding, primarily with new residential high-rise condominiums, and includes several globally renowned commercial skyscrapers. 30th Street Station, the city’s primary rail station, is the third-busiest Amtrak hub in the nation, and the city’s multimodal transport and logistics infrastructure, including Philadelphia International Airport, the PhilaPort seaport, freight rail infrastructure, roadway traffic capacity, and warehouse storage space, are all expanding.