Pennsylvania is a state on the Atlantic coast of the United States of America. Pennsylvania is bordered by New York State to the north, New Jersey to the east, Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, and Ohio to the west. In the northwest, Pennsylvania has a stretch of coast on Lake Erie, the center of which forms the border with Canada.
Alleghenies and Susquehanna Valley
Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Poconos and Endless Mountains
1 Philadelphia. The city is located on the Delaware River in
Philadelphia County. Largest city in Pennsylvania with over 1.6 million
9 Harrisburg. Capital of Pennsylvania since 1812. The city is located on the Susquehanna River in Dauphin County. It became world-famous in 1979 due to an accident in a neighboring nuclear power plant.
Eastern State Penitentiary that once served as a prison for Al Capone today is abandoned, but many claim paranormal encounters within its walls.
Gettysburg National Military Park is a site of the largest battle that was fought during Civil War.
Pennhurst State Hospital & School is one of the largest abandoned hospitals that is said to be haunted by the disturbed spirits.
Fallingwater (Mill Run, 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh): Designed
by Frank Lloyd Wright and built literally on top of a waterfall in
1935-1937, this home is one of the most famous in the country. A true
cult site of modern architecture that can be visited as part of guided
tours. See Laurel Highlands. Wikipedia
Lancaster County: A county in southeastern Pennsylvania famous for its high percentage of Amish (aka Pennsylvania Dutch), a Protestant minority whose members often practice 18th-century lifestyles. Although most Amish live in more or less seclusion, others are in daily contact with the outside world, trading in Amish products (mainly wood products and groceries) or running restaurants. You can learn even more about the Amish in the area's museums.
On September 11, 2001, the fourth plane hijacked by terrorists crashed near the 245-strong village of Shanksville after a prisoner revolt. To commemorate the 44 fatalities, a memorial was erected at the site of the accident, which is to become a national monument under the administration of the US National Park Service. Unlike the assassination sites in Washington and New York City, this is about history, not patriotism. The inner circle is only accessible to family members of the victims.
Pennsylvania is one of the 13 founding states of the United States of America and has been inhabited by settlers since 1643. Almost 130 years later, the Declaration of Independence was signed here and the US Constitution was adopted. Almost 100 years later, the Battle of Gettysburg took place here, which marked the turning point of the American Civil War.
Knoebel's Amusement Park, Route 487, Elysburg; 4 km east of the town centre. A little off the beaten track, between Harrisburg and Scranton, is one of the country's largest pay-per-ride amusement parks. While you usually only get access to such parks after paying the (rather high) entrance fee (and then you can use the rides for free), here you only pay per ride. This pays off especially for families with shy children who prefer to see the rides rather than try them out. Attractions include more than 50 rides, including two world-class roller coasters, a historic 1913 horse-drawn carriage ride and a ghost train that has been featured on the Discovery Channel. There is also a swimming pool and a golf course. Seasonally changing opening hours. The park is completely closed in autumn and winter.
Philadelphia Airport (PHL) is accessible by intercontinental flights
direct from Europe. A flight to Newark (EWR) in New Jersey is an option
if the destination is in eastern Pennsylvania (e.g. 135 km to Allentown,
140 km to Philadelphia). The second major airport in the state is
Pittsburgh (PIT) – mainly domestic flights are offered here, but at
least seasonally there are also direct connections from Europe.
Harrisburg (MDT) follows in the southeast, Allentown/Lehigh Valley (ABE)
and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AVP), which are of more regional importance.
The southeast of the state is very well developed by rail. The so-called Northeastern Corridor Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington DC runs on the one hand the high-speed train Acela Express, on the other hand the somewhat slower Northeast Regional. From the Southern States, the Crescent lines from New Orleans and Atlanta, Silver Service and Palmetto lines from Savannah GA and Carolinian lines from Charlotte NC, and the Northeast Regional lines from Norfolk or Newport News VA. The Keystone line connects New York with Philadelphia and Harrisburg several times a day. The Pennsylvanian continues to Pittsburgh once a day. From Chicago and Cleveland in the Midwest, take the Capitol Limited to Pittsburgh.
Furthermore, all major cities can be reached by long-distance buses.
If you ever visit the state of Pennsylvania, you should do your textile shopping right here, because there is no extra tax on textiles, as is usual in the United States. Elsewhere you get a small surprise at the checkout of about 5% to about 10% tax surcharge! The shops do this consciously to show that the state actually makes everything so expensive!
Grace Buffet & Grill, 811 N Loyalsock Ave, Montoursville. Fans of all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants will find one of the largest and best buffets in Pennsylvania. Open: Sun-Thu 10:30-21:30, Fri+Sat 10:30-22:30. Price: evenings $11.99 (Fri-Sun evenings and Sun noon $13.99), Mon-Sat noon $8.29; Depending on their age, children are significantly cheaper.
The length of Pennsylvania is 274 km, and the width is 455 km. Of the
total 119,282 km2, 116,075 km2 is land area, 1,269 km2 is inland water
areas, and 1,940 km2 is the water surface of Lake Erie. It is the 33rd
largest state in the United States. Pennsylvania has 82km of coastline
along Lake Erie and 92km of coastline along the Delaware River.
The state borders are the Mason-Dixon Line (39°43'N) in the south, the Delaware River in the east, 80°31' in the west, and 42°SN in the north except for short segments at the western end where a triangle extends north to Lake Erie. Pennsylvania borders six states: New York to the north, New Jersey to the east, Delaware and Maryland to the southeast, West Virginia to the southwest, and Ohio to the west. Also, Pennsylvania shares a water border with Canada. Of the original thirteen colonies, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not border the Atlantic Ocean.
Among the largest cities in this state are: Philadelphia, York, Reading, and Lanchester in the southeast, Pittsburgh in the southwest, the three cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton in the central east (also known as the Lehigh Valley), the three cities of Scranton, Wilkesbarre, and Hazleton in the northeast, and Erie to the northwest. Williamsport serves as the "hub" of the north-central region, and the state capital is Harrisburg.
Several different climates result from Pennsylvania's varying
topology. Encompassing two larger zones, a temperate continental climate
prevails in most of the state, with the exception of the southeastern
corner. Philadelphia features a humid subtropical climate that also
covers most of Delaware and Maryland to the south.
Moving towards the interior mountainous region of the state the climate becomes significantly colder, the number of cloudy days increases and winter snowfall is greater. In the western parts of the state, especially the cities near Lake Erie, the amount of snowfall reaches 254 centimeters per year. Also, rains are plentiful throughout the state throughout the year.
Before the community was settled by Europeans, the area was home to
the Delaware (also known as Lenni Lenape), Susquehenoke, Iroquois, Erie,
Shaquille, and other American Indian nations. Both the Dutch and the
English claimed that both sides of the Delaware River were part of their
colonial land in America. The Dutch were the first to adopt it and have
had an influence on the history of Pennsylvania.
By June 3, 1631, the Dutch had started from the Delmarva Peninsula to establish the Zwanendel Colony on the side of present-day Lewis, Delaware. In 1638 the Swedes added fuel to the already started fire by establishing a new Swedish colony on the side of present-day Wilmington, Delaware, centered at Fort Christina. The New Swedes mostly controlled the lower Delaware River region (parts of present-day Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), but did not establish many colonies there.
On March 12, 1664, King Charles II of England granted James, Duke of York, a license to control the land that included the original Virginia Company of Plymouth Grant, as well as other land. This move by Charles was, again, disputed by the Dutch of New Netherland because it included parts of present-day Pennsylvania.
On June 24, 1664, the Duke of York sold a large portion of his possessions, which included the present-day territory of New Jersey, to John Berkeley and George Cartret in order to obtain a colony of his own. At that time the land was not in British possession, but the sale for the portion of New Netherland, west of the Delaware River, was made. The British conquest of New Netherland began on August 29, 1664, when New Amsterdam was forced to surrender in the face of the cannons of British ships in New York Harbor. This conquest continued and was completed in October 1664, when the British captured Fort Casmere, present-day Newcastle, Delaware.
The Peace of Breda between England, France and the Netherlands marked the end of the British conquest on 21 July 1667, although there were temporary changes.
On September 12, 1672, as part of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch reconquered the province of New York/New Amsterdam and established three district courts there that later became the original counties in present-day Pennsylvania and Delaware. Later, on 9 February 1674, this was partially revised when the Treaty of Westminster ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War and changed all political relations to the "status quo ante bellum" (as things were before the war). The British kept the Dutch colonies with their Dutch names. By June 11, 1674, New York maintained control of the outlying provinces, including Upland (then a county that would later become Pennsylvania), but names began to be replaced by British names, which continued until November 11, 1674. Upland was divided on November 12 1674, producing a general outline of the present-day boundary between Pennsylvania and Delaware.
On February 28, 1681, Charles II granted land to William Penn to pay off a debt of $16,000 (about $2,100,000 in 2008, adjusted for real estate inflation) owed to William's father, Admiral William Penn. This was one of the largest transfers of property to an individual in history. The land was called Pennsylvania. William Penn, who wanted to call it Newells or Sylvania, was embarrassed by the change, fearing people would think he had named it after himself, but King Charles did not want to rename the land. Penn established a government with two innovations largely copied from the New World: the county commission and freedom of religious belief.
What was Upland and later became the part of Pennsylvania that formed the border between that state and Delaware was renamed Chester County when Pennsylvania institutionalized its colonial government on March 4, 1681. Quaker leader William Penn signed a peace treaty with Tammany. , the leader of the Delaware tribe, thus beginning a long period of friendly relations between the Quakers and the Indians. Other treaties between William Penn and other nations followed later. As long as he was alive his contracts were never broken.
Between 1730 and 1764 this colony minted its own money to make up for
the lack of gold and silver. Parliament outlawed this with the Currency
Act in 1764. Paper money was called colonial certificates of title. The
colony also introduced "bills of credit" which were as good as gold and
silver money because of their legal status. Since they were issued by
the government and not by any banking institution, they were
free-interest offerings that largely met the government's expenses by
taxing the people. It also promoted general employment and prosperity,
which was due to the discretion used by the government and not
circulating much money that could cause inflation. Benjamin Franklin was
involved in the creation of this currency whose usefulness he said would
never be disputed, and it also comes on the heels of Adam Smith's
After the first congress of the American colonies in 1765, delegate John Dickinson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. The congress was the first meeting of the thirteen columns called on the initiative of the Massachusetts assembly, but only nine of them sent delegates. Dickinson then wrote a letter from a farmer in Pennsylvania to residents in the British colonies that was published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle between December 2, 1767, and February 15, 1768.
When the founding fathers of the United States convened in Philadelphia in 1774, 12 colonies sent representatives to the meeting. At the Second Continental Congress, which was also held in Philadelphia (in May 1775), the Declaration of Independence was written and signed, but when the city was conquered by the British, the Continental Congress moved west. After the move, the representatives met at Lanchester Court House on Saturday, September 27, 1777, and then at York. Here they wrote the Articles of Confederation that united 13 independent colonies into one nation. Later, the constitution was written, and Philadelphia was again chosen as the cradle of the new American nation.
Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify the United States Constitution on December 12, 1787, five days after Delaware was the first to do so.
Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was the first college in the United States. Founded in 1773, the college was ratified five days after the Treaty of Paris on September 9, 1783. The school was founded by Benjamin Rush and named after John Dickinson.
For half a century, the general assembly met in various places, generally Philadelphia, before it began to meet regularly in an independent hall in Philadelphia for a period of 63 years. However, they needed a central location, and the massacre of the so-called "Paxton Boys" in 1763 worried the congregation. Thus, in 1799, the general assembly moved to the courthouse in the city of Lanchester and in 1812 moved to Harrisburg.
The General Assembly met in the old Dauphin County Courthouse until December 1821, when the federal-style County Hill's Capitol (named after its builder Stephen Hills, a Lanchester architect) was built atop a four-acre lot and reserved as the seat of state government by the entrepreneurial son and namesake of Yorkshire-born John Harris who established a trading post in 1705 and a ferry in 1733 on the east bank of the Susquehanna River. most likely due to a poorly installed water heating pipe.
The General Assembly met at Grace Methodist Church (which still stands) until the new main district was built. There followed a large selection of architects who submitted to the competition, among which Henry Ives Cobb, an architect from Chicago, was selected and charged with designing and building a building to replace the current one in which the representatives met. However, the budget could not afford more expenses for the project, so it was roughly finished, which is why the general assembly refused to meet there. In 1901, a new competition was announced that selected architect Joseph Miller Houston of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was given the task of designing the present day Pennsylvania State Capitol. Incorporating Cobb's work, Joseph transformed the building into an architectural masterpiece completed in 1907.
The new assembly building received positive reviews. The inspiration for its dome came from the dome of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. President Theodore Roosevelt called it "the most beautiful statehouse in the whole nation" and said, "it is the handsomest building I ever saw." In 1989, The New York Times praised it as: "a grandiose, even beautiful at times, but also a functional building, with access to all citizens...a building that connects with the realities of everyday life." .
Pennsylvania accounts for 9% of the total timberland in the United States. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge demarcated the Allegheny National Forest, under the authority of the Sunday Act of 1911, in the northwestern part of the state in Elk, Forrest, McKean, and Warren counties for timber production and protection of the Allegheny River watershed. Allegheny is the state's only national forest.
James Buchanan of Franklin County, the only unmarried president of the United States, is also the only president to have been born in Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg, the great turning point of the Civil War, was fought near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Approximately 350,000 Pennsylvanians served in the Union Army along with 8,600 African-American military volunteers.
Pennsylvania is also home to the first commercially mined oil. In 1859, near Titusville, Edwin L. Drake successfully drilled a well that led to the first major oil boom in United States history.
According to the US Census Bureau, in July 2011, the population of
Pennsylvania was estimated at 12,742,886, a 0.32% increase from the 2010
Of the total number of people living in Pennsylvania, 74.5% were born in this state, 18.4% were born in another state in the United States, 1.5% were born in Puerto Rico, the island territories of the United States, and 5.6 % are of foreign origin.
According to the 2010 US Census, 81.9% of the population is white (of which 79.5% is non-Hispanic white), 10.8% is black or African American, 0.2% is American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.7 % are Asian, 1.9% from two or more races. 5.7% of the total population are of Hispanic or Latino origin (they can be of any race).
Pennsylvania's Hispanic population grew by 82.6% between 2000 and 2010, making this increase one of the largest for the Hispanic population in the United States. The significant increase in the Latin American population is due to immigration to the country, especially from Puerto Rico, which is in the territory of the United States, but also with a smaller swing from countries such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico and other Central and South American countries. Also, the Hispanic population living in New York and New Jersey is leaving their homes to find a safer place to live in Pennsylvania. The Asian population grew by nearly 60% due to increased immigration of Indians, Vietnamese, and Chinese, as well as Asian immigrants to Philadelphia moving from New York. Numerically, the large increase in Asians places Pennsylvania among the top Asian-populated states in the United States. The black and African-American population recorded an increase of 13%, which is the largest compared to the rest of Pennsylvania's peer states, namely New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. Unlike the rest, the white population recorded a decline of 0.7%, a trend that is beginning to appear more often in the United States. Twelve other states also saw their white population decline.
The center of Pennsylvania's population is located in Perry County, in Duncannon County.
As of 2006, Pennsylvania had an estimated population of 12,440,621 residents, an increase of 35,273 from previous years and an increase of 159,567 since 2000. Net migration to other states resulted in a drop of 27,718, while immigration from other states resulted in an increase of 127,007 residents. The migration of native Pennsylvanians resulted in a population decline of 100,000. In 2006, 5.00% of Pennsylvanians were foreign-born (population 621,480). The state has an estimated poverty rate, in 2005, of 11.9%. In 2005, Pennsylvania also ranked third in the number of elderly (65+) residents. Foreign-born Pennsylvanians are, for the most part, from Asia (36%), Europe (35.9%), Latin America (30.6%), Africa (5%), North America (3.1%), and Oceania (0.4).
The reported Hispanic population in Pennsylvania, particularly among Asians, Hawaiians, and whites, has increased significantly over the past several years. The Hispanic population is largest in Allentown, Lanchester, Reading, Hazleton and around Philadelphia with over 20% of the same population. It is not clear how much of this change reflects a change in population structure and how much reflects a willingness to determine the status of minorities. In 2010, it was estimated that 85% of the total Hispanic population in Pennsylvania lived within a 150-mile radius around Philadelphia, with 20% living in the city.
Pennsylvania's reported population is 5.9% under the age of 5, 23.8% under the age of 18, and 15.6% age 65 or older. Females make up 51.7% of the total population. The largest ethnic groups by origin are listed below, expressed as a percentage of the total number of people who answered with the correct origin in the 2006-2008 census:
9.6% African American
4.2% French Canadians
2.9% Puerto Rican
2.0% Scotch Irish
1.0% West Indians
The five largest foreign-born ethnic groups in Pennsylvania are: German (28.5%), Irish (18.2%), Italian (12.8%), English (8.5%), and Polish (7.2%) .
Of all the colonies, only Rhode Island had religious freedom as
secure as Pennsylvania, and the only result was the emergence of a broad
religious and national multiculturalism that persists to this day.
The population of Pennsylvania in 2000 was 12,281,054 of which 8,448,193 were estimated to belong to an organized religion. According to the Pennsylvania State University Association of Religious Records Archives, there is reliable data for 7,116,348 religious adherents in Pennsylvania in 2000 with 150 different denominations in existence. Their associations, including the percentage of all believers, are as follows:
Roman Catholics: 3,802,524 (53.43%)
Orthodox: 75,354 (1.06%)
Protestants: 2,140,628 (30%)
Evangelical Methodist Church: 659,350 (9.27%)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 611,913 (8.60%)
Presbyterian Church: 324,714 (4.56%)
United Church of Jesus Christ: 241,844 (3.40%)
American Baptist Churches in the United States: 132,858 (1.87%)
American Episcopal Church: 116,511 (1.64%)
Evangelical Protestants: 704,204 (10%)
General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States: 84,153 (1.18%)
Church of the Brethren: 52,684 (0.74%)
Mennonite Church USA: 48,215 (0.68%)
Christian and Missionary Alliance: 45,926 (0.65%)
Southern Baptist Convention: 44,432 (0.62%)
Independent non-charismatic churches: 42,992 (0.60%)
Jews (estimate): 283,000 (3.98%) (4th largest in the US) (possibly as high as 350,000)
Muslims: 71,190 (1.00%)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 31,032 (0.44%)
Unitarian Universalism: 6,778 (0.10%)
Although Pennsylvania has a large Amish population, Holmes City, Ohio has the largest concentration of Amish in the world. Although Pennsylvania owes its existence to the Quakers and many other older groups of the commonwealth now devoted to the teaching of the Religious Society of Friends (as they are officially known), Quakers today are very few in number.
Pennsylvania Germans are among the most important immigrant groups in this state. Their English name Pennsylvania Dutch gives the wrong impression that they are Dutch, which is due to the anglicization of the traditional ethnonym Deitsch (dialectal autonym). Pennsylvania German is a descendant of the Falek dialect of the West Middle Germanic dialect group. Although this language is still spoken by some old Amish and Mennonites (more specifically around Lanchester County), it has almost died out as an everyday language. However, a few words have crossed over into English usage.
Pennsylvania had five constitutions during its statehood: 1776, 1790,
1838, 1874 and 1968. Before that, the province of Pennsylvania was
governed for a century by the so-called framework of government
(constitution of the province of Pennsylvania) of which there were four
versions: 1682, 1683, 1696 and 1701. The capital of Pennsylvania is
Harrisburg. The legislature is located in the same city.
In previous elections, Pennsylvania has proven to be a Democratic-leaning state. However, in 2010, Republicans regained a seat in the Senate with the election of Pat Tomei, as well as most of the state's congressional seats, and control of both houses of the state legislature. As in other offices, Republicans regained the governor's office with the election of Tom Corbett on January 18, 2011.
Main article: List of governors of Pennsylvania
The current governor is Tom Corbett, a former Pennsylvania attorney general. Other elected officials who make up the executive branch are Lieutenant Governor Jim Cowley, Attorney General Linda Kelly, Auditor Jack Wenger and State Treasurer Robert McCord.
Pennsylvania has a bicameral legislature established by the commonwealth constitution of 1790. The original provincial constitution by William Penn had a unicameral parliament. The General Assembly includes 50 senators and 203 representatives. Joe Scarnati is the current state senate president, Dominic Pileggi is the majority leader and Jay Costa is the minority leader. Sam Smith is Speaker of the House of Representatives with Mike Turzey as Majority Leader and Frank Dermody as Minority Leader. After the 2010 elections, Republicans hold the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Pennsylvania is divided into 60 judicial districts, most of which (except Philadelphia) have magisterial district judges (formerly called circuit judges and justices of the peace) who primarily preside over felony and misdemeanor preliminary hearings, all misdemeanors, and small civil actions. Most criminal and civil cases originate in the courts of common law, which also serve as appellate courts for district judges and local agency decisions. The Supreme Court receives all appeals from courts of common law. He has the sole right to issue wiretapping warrants. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the final court of appeals. All judges in Pennsylvania are elected, and the chief justice is determined by seniority.
Pennsylvania has the 10th highest tax in the United States. Residents
pay a total of $83.7 billion to state and local governments, and the
average per capita amount is $6,640 annually. Residents share 76% of the
total tax burden. Many state politicians have tried to increase the
share of tax paid from sources outside the state. It is proposed to tax
sources of profit such as natural gas drilling, as Pennsylvania is the
only state that does not tax this process. Additional profitable ideas
include trying to put tolls on interstate highways, especially
Interstate 80, which is heavily used by foreign travelers.
Sales tax provides 39% of the commonwealth's revenue, income tax 34%, motor vehicle taxes about 12% and taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages 5%. The personal income tax is equal to 3.07%. Individual taxable income is based on the following eight types of income: compensation (salary), interest, dividends, net profit from the activities of a business, profession or farm, net profit or income from dispositions of property, net profit or income from rents, patents and royalties, income derived from estates or trusts, and winnings from gambling and lotteries (other than the Pennsylvania Lottery).
Counties, municipalities and school districts impose property taxes. In general, the tax rate on the total salary is limited to 1% of income, but some municipalities with the so-called "home rule" they can charge more than 1%. 32 of the commonwealth's 67 counties impose a personal tax on stocks, bonds and similar assets.
Pennsylvania's two senators in the 112th Congress are Bob Kayesi Jr.
and Pat Tomei.
Pennsylvania's representatives for the term that began in January 2011 are Bob Brady (1st), Chaka Fata (2nd), Mike Kelly (3rd), Jason Altmire (4th), Glen Thomson (5th), Jim Jerlach (6th), Pat Meehan ( 7), Mike Fitzpatrick (8), Bill Schuster (9), Tim Marino (10), Lou Barletta (11), Mark Kritz (12), Alison Schwatz (13), Mike Doyley (14), Charlie Dent (15) , Joe Pitts (16), Tim Holden (17), Tim Murphy (18) and Todd Platts (19).
In the last decade, no political party has been strongly dominant in
Pennsylvania. This, combined with Pennsylvania's 6th largest population,
makes it one of the most important states for political gain. Democrats
dominate in Philadelphia, Delaware, Erie, Allegheny and Lackawanna
counties. Republicans overwhelmingly dominate Lanchester, York,
Franklin, Westmoreland, Butler, Blair, Lycoming and Cumberland counties.
Counties that represent a possibility for a turnaround are Lehigh,
Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Cambria, Beaver, Mercer and
Monroe. Overall, Democrats are strong in large metro areas, including
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Erie, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and
Allentown, while Republicans are supported in rural areas in the central
Allegheny Mountains and northern counties.
Since 1992, Pennsylvanians have mostly elected the Democratic representative for president in elections (although the Pittsburgh metropolitan area opted for the Republican representative in 2008), voting for Bill Clinton twice by wide margins, and similarly for Al Gore in 2000. In the 2004 presidential election, Senator John F. Kerry defeated George W. Bush in Pennsylvania by a margin of 2,938,095 (50.92%) to 2,793,847 (48.42%). More recently, in the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain in Pennsylvania by a margin of 3,184,778 (54%) to 2,584,088 (44%). The state has 20 electoral votes.
The 2010 elections witnessed Republican victories across the country. They took control of the governor's office and both houses of the state legislature. Republican Pat Tomei defeated Democrat Joe Sestak in the race for the US Senate seat previously held by Democrat Arlin Specter (Specter won the previous election as a Republican, but switched parties in 2009). Republicans also won five previously Democratic seats in the House of Representatives, creating a 12:7 ratio in their favor.
Pennsylvania is divided into 67 counties. Counties are further
divided into municipalities which are incorporated as cities, districts
or settlements. One of the counties, Philadelphia County, was
consolidated in 1854, stripping the cities and boroughs of all
There are a total of 56 cities in Pennsylvania that are classified by population as first, second, or third class. Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, has a population of 1,547,297 and is the only Class 'A' city in the state. Pittsburgh (305,647) and Scranton (76,072) are second class A and second class cities.
The remaining cities, such as the third and fourth largest, i.e. Allentown (107,815) and Erie (103,571) all the way to the smallest city, Parker, with a population of only 738 inhabitants, are third-class cities.
First and second class cities are governed by a "strong mayoral" structure of mayor-councilor government, while third class cities are governed either by a "weak mayoral" structure or by a councilor-manager government.
Counties are generally smaller than cities since most Pennsylvania towns were incorporated as counties before they were incorporated as cities. There are 958 counties in Pennsylvania and all are governed by a "weak mayor" form of mayor-council government. Local communities are the third group of municipalities in Pennsylvania and are classified as either first class or second class communities. There are 1,454 local communities of the second class and 93 of the first. The second class can become the first if there is a population density greater than 300 inhabitants per 120 km2 and a referendum is voted on the change.
Marmot Day (Groundhog Day), which is always celebrated on February 2nd in various places in the USA and Canada, is well known. According to tradition, the marmot (more precisely: the woodchuck, engl. groundhog), which is taken out of its burrow, predicts the weather. If it sees its shadow (or if its shadow can be seen), another six weeks of winter can be expected. If it does not see its shadow (or if its shadow cannot be seen), an early spring is expected. (See also the feature film: Groundhog Day).
Pennsylvania's 2010 gross domestic product was $570 billion, ranking
the state 6th in the nation. If Pennsylvania had an independent economy,
it would rank 18th in the world. Per capita, Pennsylvania ranks 29th out
of the 50 states at $39,830.
Philadelphia on the southeast corner, Pittsburgh on the southwest corner, Erie on the northwest corner, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre on the northeast corner, and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton on the east corner are urban manufacturing centers. Most of the community is urban, this dichotomy affects the state politics as well as the state economy. Philadelphia is home to six Fortune 500 companies with most located in the suburbs such as King of Prussia which is a leader in the financial and insurance industries.
Pittsburgh is home to eight Fortune 500 companies, including the U.S. Steel", "PPG Industries" and "H.J. Transportation Systems" which is the largest manufacturer of rolling stock in the United States.
As in the United States, as a whole, and in most states, the largest private employer here is Wall-Mart, followed closely by the University of Pennsylvania.
As of April 2012, the unemployment rate is 7.4%.
The first national, specialized, bank in the United States, the Bank of North America, was founded in 1781 in Philadelphia. After a series of mergers, Bank of North America is part of Wells Fargo. Philadelphia is also home to the first national bank chartered under the National Banking Act of 1863. That same year, the Pittsburgh Savings and Trust Company received a national charter and was renamed the First National Bank of Pittsburgh as part of the national banking law. This bank still exists as PNC Financial Services with unchanged headquarters in Pittsburgh. "PNC" is the largest bank in the country, and the sixth largest in the United States.
Pennsylvania ranks 19th in overall agricultural production, but first in mushroom production, second in apples, third in Christmas trees and eggs, fourth in horticultural nurseries and sod, milk, corn for livestock, grape growing (as well as grape juice) and in horse breeding. It also ranks 8th in wine production.
Casinos were legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004. There are currently
nine casinos across the state and three under construction or planned.
Only horse racing, slot machines, and electronic games were legal in
Pennsylvania, and the law to legalize games like poker, blackjack,
roulette, etc. was approved by the state legislature in January 2010,
and signed by the governor on the seventh of the same month. Sports
betting is illegal.
Governor Ed Rendell, in 2009, considered legalizing video poker machines in bars and private clubs after an estimated 17,000 illegal machines were in use across the state. Under his plan, anyone holding a liquor license would be allowed to have up to 5 machines. The state will levy a 50% tax on the net gambling income after the winning player has been paid. The remaining 50% would remain with the person who owns the machines.
The Pennsylvania Film Production Tax Credit began in 2004 and has stimulated the development of the state's film industry.
Pennsylvania has 500 public school districts, thousands of private schools, state-funded colleges and universities, and over 100 private institutions of higher education.
Generally, under state law, schooling is compulsory in Pennsylvania
for children ages 8 to 17, or until graduation from an accredited high
school. As of 2005, 83.8% of Pennsylvanians aged 18 to 24 had completed
high school. Among residents aged 25 and over, 86.7% had a high school
diploma. 25.7% had enrolled in higher degree studies. State students
consistently perform well on standardized tests. In 2007, Pennsylvania
ranked 14th in math, 12th in reading and 10th in writing among eighth
In 1998, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 169 which allowed parents or guardians to home school their children as an alternative to compulsory schooling. This law specified the requirements and responsibilities of parents and the school districts where families live.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education ("PASSHE") is the
state's community university system of 14 state-owned institutions. The
Community System of Higher Education is a governing body of 4
state-affiliated schools in Pennsylvania. These schools are independent
institutions that receive certain financial assistance from the state.
There are also 15 publicly funded two-year colleges and technical
schools that are separate from the PASSHE system. Additionally, there
are many private two-year and four-year technical schools, colleges and
Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Pittsburgh are members of the Association of American Universities, an invitation unique to leading research universities. The University of Pennsylvania is considered the first university in the United States to have established the first medical school in the United States, as well as the only university in the state's elite school league. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is the first and also the oldest art school in the United States. The College of Pharmacy in Philadelphia, now part of the University of Science in Philadelphia, was the first pharmacy school in the United States.
Pennsylvania is home to the nation's first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo.
Other highly accredited zoos include the Erie Zoo and the Pittsburgh Zoo
& PPG Aquarium. Legihg Valley Zoo and ZOOAMERICA are also notable zoos.
The community boasts some of the best museums in the state including the
Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts and
several others. One of the unique museums is the Houdini Museum in
Scranton, the only building in the world dedicated to the legendary
magician. Pennsylvania is also home to the National Aviary located in
All of Pennsylvania's 121 state parks have free admission.
Pennsylvania offers a number of significant amusement parks, including Camel Beach, Conneaut Lake Park, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Dutch Wonderland, DelGrosso Amusement Park, Hersheypark, Idlewild Park, Kennywood, Knoebels, Lakemont Park, Sandcastle Waterpark, Sesame Place, Great Wolf Lodge and Waldameer Park. Pennsylvania is also home to the largest indoor water park on the East Coast, Splash Lagoon in Erie.
Pennsylvania also has notable music festivals. Among them are Musicfest and NEARfest in Bethlehem, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Creation Festival, the great Allentown Fair and the Purple Door.
There are approximately one million licensed hunters in Pennsylvania. White-tailed deer, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, and grouse are the common game species. Pennsylvania is considered one of the best states in the nation, along with Texas and Alabama, for turkey hunting. Sport hunting in Pennsylvania provides a major boost to a community's economy. A report from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania (a legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly) found that hunting, fishing and tanning generate $9.6 billion.
The Boone and Crockett Club indicates that five of the ten largest (by skull size) black bears come from the state. The state also holds the record for largest black bear hunt in the Boone & Crockett books at 332 pounds. The largest dead bear was found in Utah in 1975, and the second largest was illegally hunted in Pennsylvania in 1987.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation owns 64,150 km of the
state's 195,970 km of highway, which ranks it as the fifth largest state
highway system in the United States. The Pennsylvania Turnpike system is
861 km long with a main line stretching from Ohio to Philadelphia and
New Jersey. It is overseen by the Pennsylvania Highway Commission.
Another major east-west route is Interstate 80 which primarily runs in
the northern part of the state, from Ohio to New Jersey. Interstate 90
stretches the relatively short distance between Ohio and New York
through Erie County in the extreme northwest of the state.
The primary north-south highways are Interstate 79 from its Erie terminus, via Pittsburgh, to West Virginia, Interstate 81 from New York via Scranton, Lackawanna, and Harrisburg to Maryland, and Interstate 476, which begins 7 miles (11 km) north of the Delaware border, in Chester, Delaware County, and travels 132 miles (212 km) to Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, where it joins Interstate 81. All but 20 miles (32 km) of Interstate 476 are part of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Highway, while the freeway south of the main line of the Pennsylvania Highway is officially called the "Veterans Memorial Highway."
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Agency is the sixth largest transit agency in the United States and operates passenger, heavy rail, and bus transportation in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
Intercity passenger rail transportation is provided by Amtrak, with most of the traffic on the Keystone high-speed service in the Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and 30th Street Station in Philadelphia before heading north to New York City; the Pennsylvanians have the same route from New York to Harrisburg, extended to Pittsburgh. The Capitol Limited train passes through Pittsburgh, as well as Connellsville, on its way from Chicago to Washington. Traveling between Chicago and New York, the Lakeshore Limited passes through Erie once in each direction. There are 67 short-line, freight railroads operating in Pennsylvania. That's the highest number in the entire nation.
Pennsylvania has six major airports: Philadelphia International, Pittsburgh International, Lehigh International, Harrisburg International, Erie International, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International. There are a total of 134 public airports in the country. The Port of Pittsburgh is the second largest inland port in the United States and the 18th largest in the world. The Port of Philadelphia is the 24th largest port in the United States. Pennsylvania's only port on the Great Lakes is located in Erie.
Pennsylvania is home to many professional sports teams: the
Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles of the National Rugby
League, the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League
Baseball, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association,
the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National
Hockey League, the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer, the Erie
Bayhawks of the National Basketball Association Development League, the
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears of the American Hockey
League, and Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League. These
teams in total have won 7 "World Series" championships ("Pirates" 5,
"Phillies" 2), 16 "National League" flags ("Pirates" 9, "Phillies" 7), 3
Super Bowl awards from the so-called old Super Bowl era ("Eagles"), 6
Super Bowl Championships ("Steelers"), 1 Arena Bowl Championship
("Soul"), 2 NBA Championships ("76ers"), 5 Stanley Cups ("Penguins" 3,
"Flyers" 2) , 11 Calder Cups ("Bears") and 6 National Lacrosse League
There are many teams around the country that are in the minor leagues, and several of them are affiliated with either the Phillies or the Pirates. In 2008, the Phillies moved their AAA-level team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, to a newly constructed stadium - Coca-Cola Park in Allentown. The Lehigh Valley is the fan base for both the Phillies and the Philadelphia Eagles, who hold their preseason practices at Lehigh University. As such, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (named after the element used as an instrumental part in the construction of iron that has been a large part of the local economy for the past several decades) are expected to prove popular with the Allentown crowd and Lehigh fans. Valley Phillies.”
College rugby is very popular in Pennsylvania. Coach Joe Paterno led the Penn State University Nittany Lions to two national championships (1982 and 1986) as well as five undefeated seasons (1968, 1969, 1973 and 1994). On January 22, 2012, Joe Paterno died of lung cancer. Penn State now has a new coach, Bill O'Brien, who previously served as the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator. Penn State's home games are played in the second-largest stadium in the United States, the 107,282-seat Beaver Stadium. In addition to this club, the "University of Pittsburgh Panthers" won nine national championships (1915, 1916, 1917, 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1976) and played eight undefeated seasons (1904, 1910, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1920 , 1937 and 1976). The Pittsburgh Panthers play their home games at Neinz Field, a stadium they share with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Other Pennsylvania colleges that have won the state championship include Lafayette College (1896), Villanova University (2009) and the University of Pennsylvania (1895, 1897, 1904 and 1908).
College basketball is also popular in the state, particularly in Philadelphia where five universities collectively make up the "Big Five" and have a rich tradition in Division I NCAA basketball. The following Pennsylvania universities have won the national title in college basketball: "La Salle University" (1954), "Temple University" (1938), "University of Pennsylvania" (1920 and 1921), "University of Pittsburgh" (1928 and 1930 )" and "Villanova University" (1985).
And football, over time, is gaining popularity in Pennsylvania. In addition to the Philadelphia Community Club's participation in the Men's Soccer League, the state currently has three teams that are eligible to compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup", on an annual basis. The other two teams from Pennsylvania are the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the Harrisburgh City Islanders who are part of the second US Soccer League ("USL-2").
Horse racing in Pennsylvania is comprised of the following racetracks: The Meadows near Pittsburgh, Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre and Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester which offer harness racing and Penn National Race Course in Grantville , the Racins (formerly Philadelphia Park) in Benslem, and the Persque Isle Downs near Erie that offer thoroughbred (thoroughbred) horse racing.
Arnold Palmer is one of the best professional golfers of the 20th century who hails from Latrobe, while Jim Furyk, a current member of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), grew up near Lanchester.
In the book Yo Mama Coock Like a Yankee, author Sharon Hearns
Silverman calls Pennsylvania the "snack capital of the world." It is the
leading country in the production of pretzels and tomato chips. Sturgis
Pretzel House is America's premier pretzel house. Also, companies like
Anderson Barkery Company, Intercourse Pretzel Factory and Snyder's of
Hanover are leading manufacturers in the community. Two of the three
leading tomato chip companies are based in Pennsylvania: Utz Quality
Foods, Inc., which began producing potato chips in 1921 in Hanover,
Pennsylvania, and Wise Snack Foods, which began making potato chips in
1921. in Berrick (the third, Lay's Potato Chips, is a Texas company).
Other companies such as Herr Foods, Martin's Potato Chips, Snyder's of
Berlin (not related to Snyder's of Hanover) and Troyer Farms Potato
Products are also known producers of tomato chips.
The center of the U.S. chocolate industry is in Hershey, Pennsylvania, home to Mars, Godiva, and the Wilbur Chocolate Company, as well as smaller producers such as Asher's near Lansdale and Gertrude Hawk. ” by Dunmore. Other notable companies include Just Bom in Bethlehem who make Hot Tamales, Mike and Ikes East Coast favorite Peeps marmalade, Benzel's Pretzels and Boyer Brothers of Athlone who are well known for their Mallo Cups. Auntie Anne's Pretzels began selling at a market in Downington, Pennsylvania, and today have a corporate headquarters in Lanchester. Traditional Pennsylvania-Dutch foods include chicken pot pie, schnitz un knepp (dried apples, ham and dumplings), fasnachts (covered doughnuts), pretzels, bologna, and more. Shoofly pie is another traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish. "D.G. Yuengling & Son, America's oldest brewery, has been brewing in Pottsville since 1829.
Pennsylvania has also been known as a key state since 1802, based on
its central position to the original thirteen colonies in the United
States and also because it was here that many important American
documents (such as the Declaration of Independence) were signed.
Pennsylvania is also an economically important state emphasizing the
wagon and gun industry in the north and the agricultural industry in the
Another Pennsylvania nickname is the Quaker State because in colonial times it was officially recognized as a Quaker Province in honor of William Penn's first constitutional government which ensured freedom of conscience.
"The Coal State," the "Oil State," the "Chocolate State," and the "Iron State" were nicknames for Pennsylvania adopted at the time when these industries were at their height.
When entering the country, many road signs say "The State of Independence".