Cost of living - Philadelphia

7 Things to know and do before moving to Pennsylvania

Moving within the US
United States Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a state in the mid-Atlantic, Appalachian, and Northeastern regions of the United States. This state is also known as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. From its major cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg to its chocolate factories and forests, there are a lot of things Pennsylvania is popular for. 

Moving to Pennsylvania will offer you a high quality of life, job opportunities and affordable living. In addition to this, Pennsylvania has some of the best colleges and universities in the country.

So, if you are considering moving to Pennsylvania, there are numerous things you need to know and prepare for, like their cost of living or simply how to notify the state of Pennsylvania of your address change. Here are 7 things you need to know before moving to Pennsylvania.

Moving to Pennsylvania: Everything to know and do

What to know before your move to Pennsylvania

1. First steps before moving to Pennsylvania

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to Pennsylvania, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in Pennsylvania, look for helpful reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to Pennsylvania? Take a look at our selection of:

Finding a job 

As of September 2023, Pennsylvania had an unemployment rate of 3.4%, which decreased from 3.5% in August 2023.

Jobs that are often in high demand are supply planner, plant manager, and customer service representatives.

Finding a job in Pennsylvania is easier if you search online for job openings. Popular websites for this include LinkedIn, Indeed, and SimplyHired.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Oct 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to Pennsylvania from different parts of the country include:

Flying: Flying is the most convenient way to move to Pennsylvania. Book a flight from your departure city to Philadelphia International Airport, depending on your destination within Pennsylvania.

Train: You can also take the train with Amtrak as an alternative. 

Bus: If you want another way to travel, Pennsylvania cities have bus services like Greyhound, and Flixbus, that can get you there.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable moving companies.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to Pennsylvania may be exciting and will challenge you in many ways. By knowing these things beforehand, you will be better prepared for your new life in the city.

  • If you are moving to Pennsylvania permanently, and you receive a lot of mail (excluding packages), you may want to sign up with USPS’s mail forwarding service. Mail forwarding allows your mail to be redirected to the right address for a given period of time. The fee for regular mail forwarding is only a little over a dollar for 6 months. If you want to extend the service, you will have to pay around $20 for 6 months more. You can begin your mail forwarding process by signing up on USPS’s website or directly at your local Post Office.
  • Moving to a new place is an opportunity to start afresh. If you’re moving to Pennsylvania, selling or donating the items you won’t need will go a long way in making your move easier. You can sell your old household items and personal possessions, and anything that will not be useful. Pick out the items that will not be useful for you in Pennsylvania, then decide if you want to sell them on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or donate them to a non-profit organization.

2. Upon your arrival in Pennsylvania

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • If you roam around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily pass to save money.
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.

When it comes to getting around in Pennsylvania, the options are unlimited. While most people get around by car, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) operates buses, trolley systems and the subway. These options are one of the most reliable and popular ways of getting around in Pennsylvania.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Once you move to Pennsylvania and establish residency, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 60 days. In order to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license:

You’ll need to visit a PennDOT driver’s license center in person and submit a completed Application for Pennsylvania Non-Commercial Driver’s License by Out-of-State Non-CDL Driver (Form DL-180R). To get the complete list of documents required, you can see PennDOT’s Identification and Residency Requirements for U.S. Citizens. Your Pennsylvania driver’s license will be valid for 4 years.

Register your vehicle

If you have just moved to Pennsylvania, you’ll have to register your out-of-state vehicle within 20 days. Failure to do so might result in penalties and additional charges. 

Register your vehicle in person at a PennDOT office. You will have to submit a proof of insurance, vehicle title and VIN Verification. You will need to complete an Application for Certificate of Title (Form MV-1) at the PennDOT office. Likewise, you can visit the Car Registration Page to check out all the documentation requirements and details.

Change your address

Along with mail forwarding, you will also have to update your new address with the concerned authorities in Pennsylvania, like the DMV. To exercise your right to vote in Pennsylvania, you can register to vote online, by phone, by mail or in person. 

To register by mail, you need to fill out the Change of Address (Form MV-63). To register in person, you can fill out the same form and submit it to the DMV Office. You can also register to vote in Pennsylvania. Registration can be done online, by mail or in person. Make sure that you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania at least 15 days before the elections.

Changing your address with your employer, bank, doctor, insurer, and service providers so that you can avoid any complications further down the road.

Setting up a bank account 

Obtaining a bank account in Pennsylvania is a straightforward process. You only need to present a copy of your valid state or government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. The bank with most branches in Pennsylvania for easy access is PNC Bank. Pennsylvania’s residents has access to a whopping 269 offices of PNC Bank in the state.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. The state of Pennsylvania proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Pennsylvania as your state and create an account.

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$139.83

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance

$584.67

Gym

$51.93

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in Pennsylvania

Best places to live in Pennsylvania

If you are a couple, you might want to consider living in Chesterbrook. Chesterbrook offers residents a suburban feel. It offers good housing, thriving nightlife, some high rated public schools, coffee shops, bars, parks, and many restaurants.

If you are a family, you might want to consider Penn Wynne. It has some highly rated schools, and it is considered to be a good place for raising a family. 

If you are single, you should consider moving to Philadelphia. Philly is home to the University of Pennsylvania and offers some of the best outdoor activities. It provides affordable housing, good job opportunities and some of the best restaurants, coffee shops and bars.

Setting up home services 

Setting up essential home services like electricity, water, and internet in Pennsylvania is a straightforward process. 

  • Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission works to ensure that consumers are provided with accessible, safe and reliable electric, pipelines, natural gas, motor carrier, telecommunication, rail, water, and wastewater service at reasonable rates. You can visit their website and compare rates, search for electricity, water and gas providers, and even reach out to them if you have any inquiry. 

Should you rent or buy?

The average Pennsylvania home value is $257,268, increased by 3.5% from 2022. Pennsylvania’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $250.00.

Finding an apartment for rent in Pennsylvania is easy, utilize websites like Zillow, Apartmentguide, and Apartments.com. When seeking a house, these websites—Zillow, Realtor, and Century21—will assist you in your search for a home in Pennsylvania.

Cost of rent in Pennsylvania

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Philadelphia (Outside of Center)

$1,371.60

$2,146.13

Cost of buying a property in Pennsylvania

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Philadelphia

$257,268

Numbeo (Oct 2023)Zillow (Oct 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance is essential, whichever state you’re living in. It is a kind of financial protection that will cover for your expenses in case of an unexpected event or a natural disaster. Some common natural disasters in Pennsylvania include floods, severe storms, tropical storms, tornadoes, winter storms, wildfires, landslides, and earthquakes. Therefore, getting home insurance is a must.

4. Cost of living in Pennsylvania

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,371.60

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($70.34 multiplied by 4)

$281.36

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$189.38

Internet with 60 Mbps

$64.83

Transit pass

$91.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$76.50

Gym membership 

$51.93

Total

$2126.6

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Pennsylvania

On average, there are 179 sunny days per year in Pennsylvania. The highest temperature in Summers is 83 degrees and the Winter low is 19 degrees. Pennsylvania averages 38 inches of snow per year and 44 inches of rain. In Pennsylvania, you can expect to experience all four seasons. Winters in Pennsylvania are very cold. You can expect a lot of snow, blizzards, and ice. 

The northern part of Pennsylvania is expected to receive much colder temperature as it’s near to Lake Eerie. On the other hand, summers are hot and humid. You can expect a lot of rain during summers. Fall and Spring in Pennsylvania are magical. You can enjoy the waterfalls, the colorful views, the changing leaves and the crisp weather.

6. What to do as a local in Pennsylvania

After you are done settling into your new home in Pennsylvania, you will want to familiarize yourself with the state and all its attractions. Some of the most popular activities and locations in Pennsylvania include:

Hershey Garden – Stroll through the sweet smelling and beautiful garden. You can shop for garden tools, enjoy the view and flutter along with hundreds of colorful butterflies. 

Dutch Wonderland – An amazing amusement park with a lot of fun activities to do. You can spend time with your family and have fun here. 

Pine Creek Gorge – You’ll get to view the beautiful foliage, abundant wildlife and an excellent display of purples, reds, and yellows in early October.

Some common grocery stores in Pennsylvania are: Sprout Farmers Market, Giant Food Stores, & Trader Joe’s.

The two most popular big chain stores are Boscov’s and Walmart.

Must-visit food places in Pennsylvania are Geno’s Steaks and Jim’s South St.

Visit the popular cities in Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Scranton.

7. Fun facts about Pennsylvania

  • Fun Fact #1: Sylvania is Latin for wooded place.
  • Fun Fact #2: Hershey is considered the Chocolate Capital of the United States.
  • Fun Fact #3: Philadelphia was once the United States capital city.

Conclusion

Pennsylvania’s location on the East Coast provides easy access to major cities like New York City, Washington, D.C., and Boston, making weekend getaways or business travel convenient. While some parts of Pennsylvania can be expensive, many areas have a reasonable cost of living. Housing costs vary, but you can often find affordable options outside the major urban centers.

While moving to Pennsylvania has its pros and cons, it is essential to make sure you will live comfortably in this city and call it home. It’s a good idea to research specific neighborhoods within the state and consider your priorities to determine if Pennsylvania is the right fit for you and your family.

Need a trusted moving company for the area? Discover the 5 best movers in Pennsylvania. 

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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