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The city encompasses Philadelphia is situated on the Fall Line that separates the Atlantic coastal plain from the Piedmont. The city is the seat of its own county.
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Philadelphia's central city was created in the 17th century following the plan by William Penn 's surveyor Thomas Holme. Center City is structured with long straight streets running nearly due east-west and north-south, forming a grid pattern between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers that is aligned with their courses. The original city plan was designed to allow for easy travel and to keep residences separated by open space that would help prevent the spread of fire.
Philadelphia's neighborhoods are divided into large sections— North , Northeast , South , Southwest Philadelphia , West , and Northwest —surrounding Center City, which corresponds closely with the city's limits before consolidation in Each of these large areas contains numerous neighborhoods, some of whose boundaries derive from the boroughs, townships, and other communities that constituted Philadelphia County before their inclusion within the city. The City Planning Commission , tasked with guiding growth and development of the city, has divided the city into 18 planning districts as part of the Philadelphia physical development plan.
Street and Michael Nutter. The zoning changes were intended to rectify incorrect zoning maps in order to facilitate future community development, as the city forecasts an additional , residents and 40, jobs will be added by The Philadelphia Housing Authority is the largest landlord in Pennsylvania. Established in , it is the nation's fourth-largest housing authority, housing about 84, people and employing 1, Philadelphia's architectural history dates back to colonial times and includes a wide range of styles.
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The earliest structures were constructed with logs , but brick structures were common by During the 18th century, the cityscape was dominated by Georgian architecture , including Independence Hall and Christ Church. His contemporaries included John McArthur Jr. The Philadelphia Historical Commission was created in to preserve the cultural and architectural history of the city.
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The commission maintains the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places , adding historic buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts as it sees fit. Numerous glass and granite skyscrapers were built in Center City beginning in the late s. For much of Philadelphia's history, the typical home has been the row house.
The row house was introduced to the United States via Philadelphia in the early 19th century and, for a time, row houses built elsewhere in the United States were known as "Philadelphia rows". While newer homes have been built recently, much of the housing dates to the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, which has created problems such as urban decay and vacant lots. Some neighborhoods, including Northern Liberties and Society Hill , have been rehabilitated through gentrification.
Elfreth's Alley , "Our nation's oldest residential street", — . Carpenters' Hall exhibiting Georgian architecture , — The grand concourse of the 30th Street Station , in Art Deco style, — Snowfall is highly variable with some winters having only light snow while others include major snowstorms. The normal seasonal snowfall averages Precipitation is generally spread throughout the year, with eight to eleven wet days per month,  at an average annual rate of The January daily average temperature is The average window for freezing temperatures is November 6 thru April 2,  allowing a growing season of days.
Early fall and late winter are generally dry with February having the lowest average precipitation at 2. The dewpoint in the summer averages between Philadelphia County received an ozone grade of F and a hour particle pollution rating of D in the American Lung Association 's State of the Air report, which analyzed data from — According to the United States Census Bureau estimate, there were 1,, people residing in Philadelphia, representing a 3. The population dropped to a low of 1,, residents in before beginning to rise again. Between and , Philadelphia added 92, residents.
In , the Census Bureau estimated that the racial composition of the city was The Census redistricting data indicated that the racial makeup of the city was , Hispanic or Latino of any race were , persons In , the Census Bureau reported that 1,, people As of [update] , 87 percent of housing units were occupied, while 13 percent were vacant, a slight change from where In , The city reported The average household size was 2.
Of Philadelphia's adults, 31 percent were married or lived as a couple, 55 percent were not married, 11 percent were divorced or separated, and 3 percent were widowed. More recently, Philadelphia has experienced a large shift toward a younger age profile. In , the city's population pyramid had a largely stationary shape. In , the city took on an expansive pyramid shape, with an increase in the three millennial age groups, 20 to 24, 25 to 29, and 30 to The city's to year-old age group was the city's largest age cohort.
The median age was For every females, there were Philadelphia's death rate was at its lowest in at least a half-century, 13, deaths in Apart from economic growth, another factor contributing to the population increase is Philadelphia's rising immigration rate. Like the millennial population, Philadelphia's immigrant population is also growing rapidly.
South Philadelphia remains one of the largest Italian neighborhoods in the country and is home to the Italian Market.
The Pennsport neighborhood and Gray's Ferry section of South Philadelphia, home to many Mummer clubs, are well known as Irish neighborhoods. Port Richmond is well known in particular as the center of the Polish immigrant and Polish-American community in Philadelphia, and it remains a common destination for Polish immigrants.
Northeast Philadelphia , although known for its Irish and Irish-American population, is also home to a large Jewish and Russian population. Philadelphia has a significant gay and lesbian population. Philadelphia's Gayborhood , which is located near Washington Square , is home to a large concentration of gay and lesbian friendly businesses, restaurants, and bars. West Philadelphia and North Philadelphia are largely African-American neighborhoods, but many are leaving those areas in favor of the Northeast and Southwest sections of Philadelphia.
A higher proportion of African-American Muslims reside in Philadelphia than in most other cities in America. West Philadelphia and Southwest Philadelphia are also home to various significant Afro-Caribbean and African immigrant communities. In regard to other Hispanic populations in Philadelphia, there are significant Mexican and Central American populations in South Philadelphia. Over 35, Chinese Americans lived in the city in ,  including a large Fuzhounese population. Center City hosts a growing Chinatown accommodating heavily traveled Chinese-owned bus lines to and from Chinatown, Manhattan in New York City , 95 miles to the north, as Philadelphia is experiencing significant Chinese immigration from New York City.
Philadelphia has the fifth largest Muslim population among American cities. The Philadelphia metropolitan area 's Jewish population was estimated at , in , which was the sixth largest in the United States at that time. Historically, the city has strong connections to the Quakers , Unitarian Universalism , and the Ethical Culture movement , all of which continue to be represented in the city.
African diasporic religions are practiced in some Hispanic and Caribbean communities in North and West Philadelphia. As of [update] , In total, Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania with the headquarters of five Fortune companies located within city limits.
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Philadelphia was rated by the GaWC as a 'Beta' city in its ranking of world cities. Philadelphia's economic sectors include financial services , health care , biotechnology , information technology , trade and transportation, manufacturing , oil refining , food processing , and tourism. Financial activities account for the largest economic sector of the metropolitan area, which is also one of the largest health education and research centers in the United States.
Philadelphia's annualized unemployment rate was 7. Similarly, the rate of new jobs added to the city's economy lagged behind the national job growth. In , about 8, jobs were added to the city's economy. Sectors with the largest number of jobs added were in education and health care, leisure and hospitality , and professional and business services. Declines were seen in the city's manufacturing and government sectors.
About The city's two largest employers are the federal and city governments. Philadelphia's largest private employer is the University of Pennsylvania followed by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Philadelphia has emerged as a hub for information technology and biotechnology. Philadelphia's history attracts many tourists, with the Independence National Historical Park which includes the Liberty Bell , Independence Hall , and other historic sites receiving over 5 million visitors in Education in Philadelphia is provided by many private and public institutions.
The School District of Philadelphia runs the city's public schools. The Philadelphia School District is the eighth largest school district in the United States  with , students in traditional public schools and 86 charter schools as of [update].
The city's K enrollment in district—run schools dropped from , students in to , students in During the same time period, the enrollment in charter schools increased from 33, students in to 62, students in Graduation rates among district-run schools, meanwhile, steadily increased in the ten years from Scores on the state's standardized test, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment PSSA trended upward from to but subsequently decreased. In , the district-run schools scored an average of The city's schools reached their peak scores in with In , the scores dropped significantly to All other district-run schools were below average.
Philadelphia has the third-largest student concentration on the East Coast , with more than , college and university students enrolled within the city and nearly , in the metropolitan area. One of the founding members of the Association of American Universities is in the city, the University of Pennsylvania , an Ivy League institution with claims to being the oldest university in the country. The city's largest school by number of students is Temple University , followed by Drexel University.
Philadelphia is home to many national historical sites that relate to the founding of the United States. Independence Hall , where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell are the city's most famous attractions. Philadelphia is home to the United States' first zoo  and hospital ,  as well as Fairmount Park , one of America's oldest and largest urban parks,  founded in The city is home to important archival repositories, including the Library Company of Philadelphia , established in by Benjamin Franklin ,  and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia , founded in The city contains many art museums, such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum , which holds the largest collection of work by Auguste Rodin outside France.
The city's major art museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art , is one of the largest art museums in the world. The long flight of steps to the Art Museum's main entrance became famous after the film Rocky The city is home to the Philadelphia Sketch Club , one of the country's oldest artists' clubs,  and The Plastic Club , started by women excluded from the Sketch Club. Areas such as South Street and Old City have a vibrant night life. Stephens Episcopal Church ;  and the Walnut Street Theatre , a National Historic Landmark stated to be the oldest and most subscribed-to theatre in the English-speaking world , founded in Philadelphia has more public art than any other American city.
Philadelphia has more murals than any other U. The program has funded more than 2, murals by professional, staff and volunteer artists and educated more than 20, youth in underserved neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. Philadelphia has played a prominent role in the music of the United States. The culture of American popular music has been influenced by significant contributions of Philadelphia area musicians and producers, in both the recording and broadcasting industries.
In , the teen dance party program called Bandstand premiered on local television, hosted by Bob Horn. Philly soul music of the late s—s is a highly produced version of soul music which led to later forms of popular music such as disco and urban contemporary rhythm and blues.
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Kennedy Stadium was the American venue for the Live Aid concert. The Curtis Institute of Music is one of the world's premier conservatories.