Pennsylvania is a state full of strikingly beautiful landscapes and loads of chocolate. The Keystone State offers plenty of affordable neighborhoods and a strong job market bolstered by a high number of Fortune 500 companies. Philadelphia is also packed national treasures. Home to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were written.
- Roads in nice neighborhoods are generally good but are not as well maintained in less affluent. Drive cautiously and slow down if necessary.
- Pennsylvania is full of toll roads, so be sure to bring change. If you’re on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, purchase an EZ Pass.
- The entire state gets a lot of precipitation and winters can bring a lot of snow. Avoid moving during the colder months when driving conditions can be hazardous and sidewalks are slippery.
- Spring and summer can bring tornadoes. Listen to the weather reports and take cover if you hear a tornado warning.
- Traffic in the cities is typically very congested. Avoid busy commute times when navigating a moving truck through heavy-use areas. Also, check parking restrictions or purchase a moving permit ahead of time.
Change your address online. To make your move from California to New York easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives at your new home with you.
Cities and Metro Areas
Pennsylvania is absolutely stunning. The State of Independence is home to some of the country’s richest history, incredible culture, and picturesque scenery that pulls it all together. The Appalachian Mountains sit here, and the state has more than 120 state parks, over 100 miles of coastline, and a diverse selection of towns and cities to choose from.
With a higher-than-average high school graduation rate, higher-than-average income, low crime rate and multiple local amenities, Mount Lebanon is an ideal town. South Park boasts an extremely low crime rate and a county park that comprises a concert pavilion, dog park, wave pool, ice rink, tennis courts and golf course. With a great education system, low crime and lots of open green spaces for children to play, Bethel Park is a great option for families.
Other notable cities/towns include Radnor Township, Emmaus, McCandless and Willow Grove.
Cost of Living
Pennsylvania’s cost of living is reasonable, especially when you consider the high price to live in major cities like Los Angeles, New York City and Miami. Depending on your profession, people can make a decent to above decent living. The overall cost of living in Pennsylvania is slightly lower than that of the entire nation. Groceries are slightly higher but healthcare is less expensive. Rent is much less than the average in other states. Utilities and transportation are higher in Pennsylvania than the national average, but it’s not overwhelmingly higher.
As of Sept 2022, the median price for a home in the state was $269,000, down 9.4% from the peak of $297,000 in June 2022. It is clear that the recent steep rise in mortgage rates has curved sales activity and shrunk affordability, and the result has been a drop in home prices and sales.
The state is at the ideal latitude and longitude for one of the most beautiful and varied fall foliage displays on Earth. The pleasant fall temperature is ideal for apple picking, biking and hiking. The state also gets healthy doses of the other three seasons, so if you’re looking to go from hot, muggy summers to cold and snowy winters, Pennsylvania is definitely one to keep on your list.
Summer daytime temperatures average around 82 degrees Fahrenheit, while temperatures in the winter are about 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The entire state gets a lot of precipitation, as well as snow, especially in the western part.
And if you’re moving to Pennsylvania, listen to the weather reports, as tornadoes can cause severe damage between late spring and early fall.
While summer temperatures are uniformly warm throughout Pennsylvania, low-lying areas and those nearer the Atlantic coast are milder in winter compared to the state’s colder and snowier mountain regions.
Families with children moving to Pennsylvania, know that students consistently score well in standardized testing. In addition, the state has numerous excellent public and private educational institutions. Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Pennsylvania.
Here are some of the most notable choices:
- Elementary Schools: Three of the top-ranked elementary schools are Laboratory Charter School in Philadelphia, South Fayette Township Elementary School in McDonald and First Street Elementary School in Canonsburg.
- High Schools: Central High School in Philadelphia, Upper Saint Clair High School in Pittsburgh and Conestoga Senior High School in Berwyn are some of the best high schools.
- Higher Education: If you’re a college student, you’ll have access to many great colleges and universities after moving to Pennsylvania, among them Pennsylvania State University, Carnegie Mellon University and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
You can find lots of up-to-date information about moving to Pennsylvania, as well as working and living here, at the Official State Website.
- A number of cities in Pennsylvania advise moving permits. These need to be requested at least three days before you move. You can find more information about how to request a moving permit in Philadelphia here (scroll down to question 8).
- You have 60 days to apply for a Pennsylvania driver’s license and 20 days to register your vehicle. You’ll need to apply in person at your local PennDOT Driver & Vehicle Services and take a vision test.
- You will have to pay an excise tax of between 6 and 8% if you own a previously untaxed vehicle. If you’ve paid taxes in another state, you can show your tax receipt to avoid paying double.
- The state has a number of toll bridges and toll roads, most notably the Pennsylvania Turnpike that runs from east to west. It also has a section running north to south, and serves most major urban areas. You can calculate fees here.
- You can register to vote when you apply for your driver’s license, in person at your local County Voter Registration Office or other appropriate government office, or by mailing in a voter registration form.
- Trash and recycling are handled by your municipality.