Moving to Philadelphia, PA


Our rating

4 out of 5

  • Affordability 3 out of 5

  • Safety 4 out of 5

  • Healthcare 3 out of 5

  • Traffic Flow 2 out of 5

  • Property affordability 5 out of 5

  • Climate 4 out of 5

  • Environment quality 4 out of 5

Move to Philadelphia and you will see that its size gives residents world class options in terms of entertainment, restaurants, healthcare, education, and job opportunities; but it is that community vibe which residents are most proud of.

The city of brotherly love, Philadelphia is one of the cities that often falls under the radar but is in fact one of the most vibrant and exciting of all US cities. Despite being the second largest of the many cities peppering the east coast it has a unique, small essence which have seen many describing Philly as offering the best in city living.

Second only to New York in terms of most used in film and TV, you will probably feel that you already know Philadelphia pretty well, but its famous landmarks are only part of the story. It has just about the richest history of anywhere in the US; the Declaration of Independence and American Constitution were signed here, and the Liberty Bell is one of the top tourist attractions.

From running up the steps of the Museum of Art Rocky style to tucking into a famous Philly cheesesteak, there is enough love for everyone in this amazing city.

Job market

Ranked as the 9th strongest job market in the US, Philadelphia is booming hub for manufacturing, construction and governmental jobs. The city is even home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, as well as many Fortune 500 companies.

Many companies and new businesses have come to Philadelphia in recent years which has also seen a surge in job vacancies within healthcare and education as new medical facilities and schools have been opened to cope with the ever increasing population in and around the city.

Expats with significant experience in medicine, education, and accounting will have many options, as well as those who are multilingual. Approximately a tenth of the working population in Philly are from abroad, and there is a large European community.

Most of the unemployed people in Philadelphia are young and do not have a degree in higher education.

Living costs

Philadelphia is one of those cities that don’t immediately come to mind when someone thinks of moving to the USA, but is less costly than its east coast neighbours. If you’re considering moving to New York over Philadelphia, take a look at the difference in the cost of living between the two cities.


Philadelphia is much cheaper than New York when it comes to groceries and restaurant prices. A romantic meal for two in New York can be upwards of $75, while in Philly the same meal is only an upwards of $55. Beer and wine is also cheaper in restaurants, both domestic and imported.

If you plan on cooking, your wallet will stay fuller in Philadelphia, with typical grocery costs that are 11% cheaper than New York. Farmers markets are a different story, but on the average, are still cheaper here in Philadelphia.


The standard method used when to calculate the estimated monthly costs of basic US utilities is to use an 85sqm apartment as the example. What we call basic utilities cover the likes of your heating, electric, water and garbage; these will cost you around $150.06 a month in Philadelphia.

If you use your mobile phone on a PAYG basis a 1minute call will cost you 14c. If you want the Internet installed it will cost you $57.31 for 10Mbps Internet (Cable/ADSL) with unlimited data.


In New York, you need $7,400 a month to maintain the same standard of living you can enjoy in Philadelphia for $4,700.This based on you renting your home and the general cost of living.

Renting in New York is one of the most costly in the country, and renting in Philly is 60% cheaper both in the heart of the city and in the suburbs. Moving to Washington, DC will make the cost of renting 25% more expensive than in Philly.

Property information

There is an eclectic mix of properties available to both buy and rent in Philadelphia. City centre lofts and condos give way to town houses as you edge away from the centre and there numerous outlying neighbourhoods and suburbs offering large family homes.

Property prices have not recovered from the 2007 in the way other cities have. This means there are some great bargains to be had whether you intend to be an owner or a tenant.

Neighbourhood picks

One of the questions you will have to answer before moving to Philadelphia is “which neighborhood should I move to in Philly?” There are over 200 neighbourhoods to choose from, each with their own personality.

Family Friendly: Chestnut Hill – This one of those areas that you bring up on Google Images and fall in love with on the spot. It is so family friendly it beggars belief. With parks, playgrounds, museums, toy shops, theatres and one of the lowest crime rates in the city there is nothing not to like about Chestnut Hill. There is also a strong community spirit which is demonstrated at the many festivals held here. Add into the mix more ice cream shops than seems fair in one area and you have the picture perfect neighbourhood in which to raise your family.

Upmarket: Fitler Square – The houses surrounding the beautiful park known as Fitler Square are the most expensive in the city. Think Kensington and Chelsea to appreciate the peace and grandeur of living in luxurious properties right in the heart of a city. With the fountain in the centre and the vast amount of greenery this is an area you want to tiptoe through so you don’t disturb living in those amazing houses. A fantastic place to live if you have the money to pay for one of these top end properties.

Hip & Trendy: Fishtown – Cool rules in Fishtown. This area has become Philly’s hub for musical, culinary and artistic action. Galleries, museums, hip bars and chic clubs are on offer for everyone in Fishtown, and the low property prices make it appealing to those in the age group to make the most of its trendy vibe. At odds with typical city properties the buildings here are bright and colourful, small independent shops are at every turn and living, or even visiting here, is a very special experience.

Up & Coming: West Germantown – This historic area went for riches to rags and although it has been a long time coming it’s on the up and up again. The large stone houses were once owned by Philly’s aristocrats but when they moved on and took their money with them the buildings soon became run down and dilapidated. These beautiful dwellings are slowly but surely being renovated one by one and getting in there now means you are actually part of a once great neighbourhood being restored to its former glory.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of moving

We have estimated the cost of moving to Philadelphia from several points around the globe. In order to make these estimates we have based the cost on the most popular size of shipping container; 20 sqft.

Sao Paulo£1,560

Schools and education

There are a number of highly ranked public and private elementary and high schools to send your children to when you move to Philadelphia. Places in public schools are determined by the area you live in; certain areas are sectioned out for specific schools, though applying for a private school or homeschooling option is not affected by this.

To determine which school is right for your children, take a look at its Philadelphia School District classification: ‘vanguard’, ‘non-vanguard’, and ‘empowerment’.

For those looking for an international school, the French International School of Philadelphia is a private school for pre-k to 8th grade.

Universities in Philadelphia

There are around 80 different universities, colleges and trade schools here, so if you’re moving to Philadelphia to go to university, you won’t be disappointed.

The prestigious University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia, one of the best ranked universities in the world for numerous courses of study. Currently ranked in the top 20 overall in the world, 20% of UPenn’s student body consists of international students.

There’s also the University of the Arts, Moore College of Art and Design, and the Curtis Institute of Music, just to name a few artsy colleges.

Ranking against the world

Depending on where you look you will see Philadelphia ranked anywhere from 5th to 15th of best US cities to live in in any given year. It’s ranked 6th in the list of most historic cities and is in the top ten of both the most recommended cities to visit and the most used in films lists.

Those who move to Philadelphia come to know it’s a wonderful city that appeals to both businesses and residents due to its location, cost of living, amenities and access to an international airport.

A day in the life

After a hearty start to the day at the Green Eggs Cafe on Dickinson Street it’s off to see some of the sights of one of America’s greatest cities. To burn off some those calories why not run, jog or even walk up the steps of Museum of Art and pose for a photo with the statue of Rocky at the top? Once up there an enjoyable hour or two can be spent strolling around the museum itself taking in the amazing works of art on display.

After a morning of culture a spot of food shopping is on order at The Reading Terminal Market. More relaxed than a mall, you can pick up everything here from a kilo of oranges to a half a pig. There is also a great choice of eateries and make sure you leave room for a slice of mouthwatering cheesecake from Carmen’s.

All that sightseeing is thirsty work and the oldest pub in Philly is next to the City Hall. McGillin’s Olde Ale House has been continually operating since 1860. An Irish bar full of charm and atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to round off a busy day with a cold drink, or 3.

Once the sun goes down it’s time to head to trendy Fishtown to experience the best live music venues in the city. These aren’t your classy, upmarket venues but busy bars with up and coming stars giving their all on a small stage in the corner. This is a great place to spend the evening and there are plenty of eating options if you still have room.