17 Reasons Not to Move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Voted by the locals!)

Are you looking to move to Philadelphia soon? Are you wanting to consider all the pros and cons, but need some more cons to consider? This article can give you some cons to weigh against the pros of moving to Philadelphia that are worth thinking about.

To find out more about the reasons why you should not move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, keep reading.

1. Little to No Parking

If you are lucky enough to own a car in the city of Philadelphia, you are even luckier to be able to find a parking spot to keep that car. There are limited parking spots all throughout the city, making parking a car difficult.

That being said, where there are limited parking spots, there are areas in the city that may appear to be parking spots alongside a curb or next to a building, but there are city restrictions that prevent you from being able to park there. Most of the time there are signs there to remind you, but they aren’t always obvious, which could cause you to get an expensive parking ticket.

2. There is Always Traffic

In addition to the parking nightmare that is the streets of Philadelphia, the roads are not much better. Philadelphia is ranked in the United States as the 18th worst state for traffic congestion. It has been calculated that residents of Philadelphia that commute to and from work every day spend about 118 hours in their cars within the span of a year.

Note that this congested traffic situation will just worsen with the steady increase of residents Philadelphia is receiving. Philadelphia was not established when everyone had a vehicle, thus proving that the city really isn’t designed to handle the rising number of cars on its roads.

3. Winter Weather is Intense

If you have never lived in a state where it gets below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and snows in feet rather than inches, you are in for a significant change in your winter experience. January is an especially cold month, so if you do end up moving there or visiting there, avoid going specifically in January.

If you are moving from somewhere that has low humidity, while Philly has lower humidity rates than somewhere like North Carolina, it still can be an uncomfortable change for those who haven’t been exposed to it before. If you are not a fan of the cold in any way, Philadelphia is not the place for you.

4. Residents Pay City Wage Taxes

Not everywhere in the U.S. requires the state to have the residents pay a city wage tax, but Philadelphia does. This wage tax is added to things like salaries, wages, commissions, and other forms of compensation. This is applicable to all residents of Philadelphia, regardless of age or employment status.

If you are a Philadelphia resident you owe the 3.88% tax on all of the items listed previously. Where you work does not have any effect on the amount of city wage tax you are required to pay, but if you live outside the city but commute in for work, you are required to pay a 3.5% tax rather than the 3.88%.

5. Strict Liquor Laws are Enforced

Drinking in Philadelphia is not just restricted by age, but you also have to obtain a liquor license to allow a restaurant to serve it to you or show it at the liquor store when purchasing your own. The city of Philadelphia is particular with liquor in the sense that they only allow its residents to purchase alcohol from Wine and Spirit stores that are owned by the state, which are majorly found in the center of the city, meaning those locations are somewhat limited.

These laws can make it less convenient to purchase and enjoy a drink, but they are the laws of the state and there really is no getting past them.

6. The City is Significantly Overpopulated

If you don’t like big crowds, then this constantly growing metropolitan area is not the place you want to be. The population of Philadelphia is already at its max at over a million residents and is still growing despite the lack of space for comfortable living for everyone.

It is ranked in 9th placeOpens in a new tab. in the United States as the most densely populated state in the country. The large population doesn’t just mean lots of people to be around, but also overcrowding of schools, congested traffic, and more contributions to the air pollution. You would be adding to the rising population numbers and contributing to current issues.

7. The Housing Options are Bizarre

Due to the high population that Philadelphia houses, the housing situation is not like most other places you would imagine with a house with a nice, big lawn and white picket fence, with plenty of breathing space between neighbors.

In Philadelphia, there are row homes. Row homes, while appearing to have much character from the outside, are houses that are all connected on a long strip of road to optimize the space, allowing for more houses on one street. The major downside to this is that because of the age of most of the row homes, the walls are thin and the lack of privacy may be a dealbreaker.

8. Little Diversity in Job Options

Unless you have an established career already in either the medical field or in education, it may be a little more difficult to find a job than you may like. Healthcare, education, legal, office administration, and architecture/engineering are all popular, in-demand jobs that you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding work for, but anything outside of those realms is a little more difficult not only to get hired on for but to find a job opening for in general.

If you are not moving to Philadelphia because of a job offer, then it will most likely be a challenge to find a job in a timely manner.

9. Crime Is High

Every city has crime, that is something that you will run into anywhere you go. Philadelphia, in particular, is maybe a little more prone to crime than the majority of the other states in the United States. Ranking 25th in the overall most dangerous cities in the United States is something to consider especially when considering moving there.

Crime and homicidal rates are extremely high, as well as increasing rates regarding property and violentOpens in a new tab. crime rates. At the very least, know that this is not the safest city you could live in, which is a huge thing to consider, especially if you are thinking of moving with young children.

10. The Public School Quality is a Toss-Up

With the high population, there will inevitably be a high population of school-age children that will need to be enrolled in school. That being said, there are plenty of schools that take various grade levels so while there should be no problem finding room to enroll them in a school, there is an issue with the quality of some of the schools in the Philadelphia area.

If you are wanting to enroll your child in a school that has a better reputation than another, understand it is a competitive process and you may have to go to the next town over if you are not willing to enroll in the lesser quality school in town.

11. Philly Pizza is Not as Good as New York Pizza

If you are from New York and you have visited Philadelphia, you may agree with this one. New York pizza is such an iconic thing on the East Coast, that if you have tried New York pizza or are planning to try it out, you may be disappointed with the pizza Philly has to offer.

The other downside is that if you are in Philadelphia and are wanting that authentic New York pizza and Philly Pizza isn’t doing it for you, it is a 90-minute drive for that pizza, which may or may not be worth it.

12. It is Not the Most Family-Friendly City

There was a study done by the Apartment ListOpens in a new tab., that gave some stats that may cause some concern for the level of safety Philadelphia has to offer young families. Some of these statistics include that the overall safety score was given a 35%, housing affordability was given a 30% rating, education quality was given a 25% rating and child-friendliness was scored at 10%.

The total score of how “family-friendly” the city was rated as 24.25 out of 100, which is not highly recommended as a place to raise a family.

13. Heavy Air Pollution

Heavy air pollution is always a problem in heavily populated areas, and Philadelphia is no different. A large number of people and the large number of people that drive cars are contributing every day to the air pollution issue in Philadelphia.

Smog is also an issue that is continually worsening because of the increasing population. The city ranks number 10 on the country’s list of the cities with the worst air pollution and it has been observed that those who move to the area with no prior respiratory or breathing issues start to develop some because of the poor air quality they are surrounded by every day.

14. Too Many Things To Do In The City

If you are moving from a location that is more rural and didn’t have a lot of options to choose from entertainment-wise, this may be an exciting proposition for you, but for those who want to try new things but just a few at a time, you may feel overwhelmed with all that Philadelphia has to offer.

There are tons of various entertainment options in the city with so many tourist locations to visit that it can get daunting and may deter many from wanting to come outside of their houses because of the large crowds as well as the many tourists that come and visit.

15. Landscape Is Mostly Urban

Going from living in a rural community and uprooting to a mostly urban community like Philadelphia can be difficult. It is a change of lifestyle. While it is a pro that everything may be considerably closer and you won’t have to drive as far to go to the grocery store, you are also now surrounded by all the noise of the city and can’t really get away from it unless you live outside of the city of Philadelphia.

It is definitely a faster pace of life compared to a more rural community. While the pros of living in the city are many, you will have to decide if they are worth the cons you will surely encounter.

16. Environment is Not Very Cheerful

A study that was done by Wallet Hub showed that Philadelphia was not the most uplifting, cheerful placeOpens in a new tab. to live. This may be due to the high crime rates, heavy traffic, and school situations. When this study was completed, the points that were taken into consideration included “emotional and physical health, income and employment, as well as the community and environment”.

All of these points ranked significantly low, in turn giving the impression that Philly isn’t a very happy place to be.

17. You May Feel Guilty for Owning a Car

With the heavy pollution and congested traffic, you may be tempted to think that one more car won’t hurt or make that big of a difference, but the reality is that it will. Philadelphia has great quality public transportation that you can use and may feel obligated to use although you have a vehicle you can use as well.

While either way you choose to get around the city there will be some contribution to the air pollution, you may feel pressured to take public transportation as many locals do in an effort to lessen the traffic and effects on the environment.

There are lots of people who live in Philadelphia who own and use cars, but if you are someone who is environmentally conscious, driving in Philly probably isn’t a good idea.

Nathan Aydelotte

Hello! I'm Nathan, the lead editor for Suggested by locals. I grew up in the Boise, Idaho area and have lived here most of my life. I enjoy being close to the mountains where I can go hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

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