State of Pennsylvania - PA

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a state in the northeastern part of the United States.

Pennsylvania has been known as the Quaker State since 1776; prior to that, it was known as the Quaker Province,[1] in recognition of Quaker[2] William Penn's First Frame of Government[3] constitution for Pennsylvania that guaranteed liberty of conscience. Penn knew of the hostility[4] Quakers faced when they opposed rituals, oaths, violence, and ostentatious frippery.[5]

Pennsylvania has also been known as the Keystone State since 1802,[6] based in part upon its central location among the original Thirteen Colonies forming the United States.[6] Pennsylvania, however is not only geographically the keystone state, but economically as well, having both the industry common to the North, making such wares as Conestoga wagons[7] and rifles,[8] and the agriculture common to the South, producing feed, fiber, food, and tobacco.[9]

Pennsylvania has 51 miles (82 km)[10] of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles (92 km)[11] of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary. Philadelphia is home to a major seaport and shipyards on the Delaware River.[12]

Further information: Geography of Pennsylvania
Further information: List of Pennsylvania counties
Pennsylvania is 180 miles (290 km) north to south and 283 miles east to west.[13] Of 46,055 square miles, 44817 square miles are land, 490 square miles are inland waters and 749 square miles are waters of Lake Erie.[14] It is the 33rd largest state in the United States.[14] The highest point of 3,213 feet (979 m) above sea level is at Mount Davis, the lowest point is at sea level on the Delaware River, and the approximate mean elevation is 1100 feet (336 meters).[15]

Pennsylvania is in the Eastern time zone.[16]

The original southern boundary of Pennsylvania was supposed to be at 40° North latitude,[17] but as a result of a bad faith compromise by Lord Baltimore during Cresap's War, the king's courts moved the boundary 20 miles south[18] to 39° 43' N.[13] The city of Philadelphia, at 40°0'N 75°8'W,[19] would have been split in half by the original boundary. When a captive Cresap, a Marylander, was paraded through Philadelphia, he taunted the officers by announcing that Philadelphia was one of the prettiest towns in Maryland.[18]

Main article: History of Pennsylvania
Further information: List of Pennsylvania firsts
Before the state existed, the area was home to the Delaware (also known as Lenni Lenape), Susquehannock, Iroquois, Eriez, Shawnee, and other Native American tribes.[20]

John Dickinson, founding father to a nationIn 1681, Charles II of England granted a land charter[21] to William Penn, due to the fact that a large debt was owed to William Penn's father, Admiral Penn. one of the largest land grants to an individual in history.[22] That land included both present-day Delaware and Pennsylvania ("Penn's Woods", named in honor of his father). He established government with two innovations that were much copied in the new world: the county commission, and freedom of religious conviction.[22] Writer Murray Rothbard in his four-volume history of the U.S., Conceived in Liberty, refers to the years of 1681–90 as "Pennsylvania's Anarchist Experiment."[23]

The first meeting of the thirteen colonies was the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, called at the request of the Massachusetts Assembly, but only 9 colonies sent delegates.[24] John Dickinson of Philadelphia wrote the Declaration of Rights and Grievances that came out of the Stamp Act Congress — then followed it up with Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, To the Inhabitants of the British Colonies, which were published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle between December 2, 1767, and February 15, 1768.[25] When the Founding Fathers to convene in Philadelphia in 1774, 12 of the 13 colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress.[26]

The First Continental Congress drew up and signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia,[27] but when that city was captured by the British, the Continental Congress escaped westward, meeting at the Lancaster courthouse on Saturday, September 27, 1777, and then moving to York, where they drew up the Articles of Confederation, forming the independent colonies into a new nation. Later, the Constitution was written, Philadelphia was once again chosen to be cradle to the new American Nation.[28]

Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 12, 1787,[29] five days after Delaware became the first.

James Buchanan, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was the only bachelor President of the United States.[30] The Battle of Gettysburg — the major turning point of the Civil War — took place near Gettysburg.[31]

Demographics of Pennsylvania (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 87.60% 10.71% 0.43% 2.04% 0.07%
2000 (hispanic only) 2.74% 0.44% 0.06% 0.03% 0.02%
2005 (total population) 86.83% 11.20% 0.45% 2.46% 0.09%
2005 (hispanic only) 3.52% 0.53% 0.07% 0.05% 0.02%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 0.32% 5.83% 5.64% 22.23% 18.99%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only) -0.64% 5.21% 2.77% 21.86% 14.13%
Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only) 29.86% 20.24% 23.61% 45.64% 35.44%

Further information: List of people from Pennsylvania
As of 2005, Pennsylvania has an estimated population of 12,429,616,which is an increase of 20,958 from the previous year, and an increase of 131,888 since the year 2000. Migration from other states resulted in an increase of 32,200, and immigration from Latin American and Asian countries resulted in an increase of 399,100. Migration of native Pennsylvanians resulted in a decrease of 100,000 people. In 2006, 5.00% of Pennsylvanians were foreign born (621,480 people). [32]

The foreign-born Pennsylvanian population is largely from Asia (36.0%), Europe (35.9%), Latin America (30.6%), 5% coming from Africa, 3.1% coming from North America, and 0.4% coming from Oceania. [33]

Pennsylvania Population DistributionPennsylvania's reported population of Hispanics, especially among the Asian, Hawaiian and White races, has markedly increased in the last years.[34] It is not clear how much of this change reflects a changing population, and how much reflects increased willingness to self-identify minority status.

Historical populations[35][36]
year Population


1790 434,373
1800 602,365
1810 810,091
1820 1,049,458
1830 1,348,233
1840 1,724,033
1850 2,311,786
1860 2,906,215
1870 3,521,951
1880 4,282,891
1890 5,258,113
1900 6,302,115
1910 7,665,111
1920 8,720,017
1930 9,631,350
1940 9,900,180
1950 10,498,012
1960 11,319,366
1970 11,793,909
1980 11,863,895
1990 11,881,643
2000 12,281,054
2005 Est. 12,429,616
Pennsylvania's population was reported as 5.9% under 5 and 23.8% under 18, with 15.6% were 65 or older. Females made up 51.7% of the population.[37]

The five largest ancestry groups self-reported in Pennsylvania are: German (27.66%), Irish (17.66%), Italian (12.82%), English (8.89%) and Polish.[38]

The new sovereign also enacted several wise and wholesome laws for his colony, which have remained invariably the same to this day. The chief is, to ill–treat no person on account of religion, and to consider as brethren all those who believe in one God. - Voltaire, speaking of William Penn[39]

Of all the colonies, only in Rhode Island was religious freedom so secure as in Pennsylvania - and one result was an incredible religious diversity, one which continues to this day.[40]

Pennsylvania's population in 2000 was 12,281,054. Of these, 8,448,193 were estimated to belong to some sort of organized religion. According to the Association of religion data archives at Pennsylvania State University, reliable data exists for 7,116,348 religious adherents in Pennsylvania in 2000, following 115 different faiths. Their affiliations[41], including percentage of all adherents, were:

Catholic – 3,877,879 – 54.49%
Roman Catholic – 3,802,524 – 53.43%
Orthodox – 75,354 – 1.06%
Mainline Protestant – 2,140,682 – 30%
United Methodist Church – 659,350 – 9.27%
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – 611,913 – 8.60%
Presbyterian Church – 324,714 – 4.56%
United Church of Christ – 241,844 – 3.40%
American Baptist Churches in the USA – 132,858 – 1.87%
Episcopal Church – 116,511 – 1.64%
Evangelical Protestant – 704,204 – 10%
Assemblies of God – 84,153 – 1.18%
Church of the Brethren – 52,684 – 0.74%
Mennonite Church USA – 48,215 – 0.68%
Christian and Missionary Alliance – 45,926 – 0.65%
Southern Baptist Convention – 44,432 – 0.62%
Independent Non-charismatic churches – 42,992 – 0.60%
Other theology – 393,584 – 5.53%
Jewish estimate – 283,000 – 3.98%
Muslim estimate – 71,190 – 1.00%
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations – 6,778 – 0.10%
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 31,032 – 0.44%
Note: These statistics are based on 7,116,348 of the estimated 8,448,193 religious adherents in Pennsylvania,[41] and only the largest of 115 different faiths are reported here. Data excludes most of the historically African-American denominations. Public Law 94-521 prevents the Census Bureau from collecting better data, so this information comes from the Association of religion data archives at Penn State.) Terms used to describe organizations are ARDA's, and may not be the group's own preferred name.

Bethlehem Steel Corporation's closed manufacturing facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This site will become the site of a new multi-million dollar casino in 2007.Pennsylvania's 2005 total gross state product (GSP) of $430.31 billion[42] ranks the state 6th in the nation. If Pennsylvania were an independent country, its economy would rank as the 17th largest in the world, ahead of Belgium, but behind the Netherlands. On a per-capita basis, though, Pennsylvania's per-capita GSP of $34,619 ranks 26th among the 50 states.[42] Neighboring Delaware was tops, with $56,447, and Mississippi's $23,851 puts it last.[42]

Philadelphia in the southeast corner and Pittsburgh in the southwest corner are urban manufacturing centers, with the "t-shaped" remainder of the state being much more rural; this dichotomy affects state politics as well as the state economy.[43] Philadelphia is home to 10 Fortune 500 companies,[44] with more located in suburbs like King of Prussia; it's a leader in the financial[45] and insurance industry.[46] Pittsburgh is home to 6 Fortune 500 companies, including U.S. Steel, PPG Industries and H.J. Heinz.[44] In all, Pennsylvania is home to 49 Fortune 500 companies.[44]

States cannot thrive by "taking in each other's laundry",[47] but manufacturing imports money and jobs from the rest of the world. Pennsylvania's factories and workshops manufacture 16.1% of the Gross State Product (GSP); only 10 states are more industrialized.[48] While Educational Services is only 1.8% of the state's GSP, that's twice the national average; only Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont outrank Pennsylvania.[48] Although Pennsylvania is known as a coal state, mining only amounts to 0.6% of the state's economy, compared to 1.3% for the country as a whole.[48]

Farming near Klingerstown, Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania ranks 19th overall in agricultural production,[49] but 3rd in christmas trees and layer chickens, 4th in nursery and sod, milk, corn for silage, and horse production. Only about 9,600 of the state's 58,000 farmers have sales of $100,000 or more, and with production expenses equalling 84.9% of sales, most not only have a net farming income below the $19,806 that marks poverty for a family of four,[50] but are liable for a 12.4% self-employment tax as well.[51] The average farmer is 53 and getting older, [52], as young Pennsylvanians find low farming income a tough row to hoe.[53]

Pennsylvania draws 2.1% of the Gross State Product from Accommodation and Food Services. Only Connecticut, Delaware and Iowa have lower numbers, and Nevada gets a whopping 14.2% of their GSP that way.[48] Philadelphia draws tourists[54] to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Franklin Institute and the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while The Poconos[55] attract honeymooners, golfers and fishermen, and the Delaware Water Gap[56] appeals to boaters, hikers, and nature lovers.

The state government launched an extensive tourism campaign in 2003 under the direction of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. An extensive website[57]has been established to promote visits to the state.

Recent PA state tourism campaign logo.Main article: Pennsylvania Dutch Country
The Pennsylvania Dutch region in south-central Pennsylvania is a favorite for sightseers.[58] The Pennsylvania Dutch, including the Old Order Amish, the Old Order Mennonites and at least 35 other sects,[59] are common in the rural areas around the cities of Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg, with smaller numbers extending northeast to the Lehigh Valley and up the Susquehanna River valley.

The term "Dutch" is an archaic word meaning "German" or "Teutonic" rather than "Netherlander". The Random House dictionary says "dutch" originated with the Old High German word "diutisc" which referred to the daily language used by Germans, as opposed to formal Latin. [60]

Law and government
Pennsylvania has had five constitutions since statehood:[61] 1776, 1790, 1838, 1874, and 1968. Prior to that, the province of Pennsylvania was governed for a century by a Frame of Government, of which there were four versions: 1682, 1683, 1696, and 1701.[61]

The "Redbrick Capitol", used from 1821 until it burned in 1897The legislature met in the general Philadelphia area, but had no regular place of meeting for half a century before starting to meet regularly in Independence Hall in Philadelphia for 63 years.[62] They needed to move to a more central location - the Paxton Boys had made them aware of that in 1763 - and finally in 1799, they moved to the Lancaster Courthouse in 1799,[62] and finally to Harrisburg in 1812.[62] The legislature met in the old Dauphin County Court House until December 1821,[62] when the Redbrick Capitol was finished. It burned down in 1897, presumably due to a faulty flue.[62] Until the present capitol was finished in 1907, the legislature met at Grace Methodist Church on State Street, which still stands.[62]

The current Pennsylvania CapitolThe new Capitol drew rave reviews.[62] Its dome was inspired by the great domes of St. Peter's in Rome and the United States Capitol.[62] If President Theodore Roosevelt called it the "the most beautiful state Capitol in the nation", and said "it's the handsomest building I ever saw" at the dedication, one might expect a politicians to glurge at a dedication, but in 1989, though, the New York Times praised the Pennsylvania capitol as "grand, even awesome at moments, but it is also a working building, accessible to citizens... a building that connects with the reality of daily life."[62]

The current Governor is Ed Rendell, a former head of the Democratic National Committee who began as a popular District Attorney, and mayor in Philadelphia.[63] The other elected officials composing the executive branch are the Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll, Attorney General Tom Corbett, Auditor General Jack Wagner, and State Treasurer Robert P. Casey, Jr.[64]

Pennsylvania state agencies
William Penn's Frame of Government set up a unicameral legislature, and did not switch to a bicameral legislature until the state's constitution of 1790.[65] The General Assembly includes 50 Senators[66] and 203 Representatives.[67] Robert C. Jubelirer is currently President Pro Tempore of the State Senate,[68] David J. Brightbill the Majority Leader,[69] and Robert J. Mellow the Minority Leader.[70] John M. Perzel is Speaker of the House of Representatives,[71] with Samuel H. Smith as Majority Leader[72] and H. William DeWeese as Minority Leader.[73] The Republicans control both houses of the General Assembly.

Pennsylvania is divided into 60 judicial districts[74], most of which (save Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties) have magisterial district judges (formerly called district justices and justices of the peace), who preside mainly over minor criminal offenses and small civil claims. [74] Most criminal and civil cases originate in the Courts of Common Pleas, which also serve as appellate courts to the district judges and for local agency decisions.[74] The Superior Court hears all appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas not expressly designated to the Commonwealth Court or Supreme Court. It also has original jurisdiction to review warrants for wiretap surveillance.[74] The Commonwealth Court is limited to appeals from final orders of certain state agencies and certain designated cases from the Courts of Common Pleas.[74] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the final appellate court. All judges in Pennsylvania are elected; the chief justice is determined by seniority.[74]

Sales tax provides 39% of state revenue; only the personal income tax at 34% of revenue comes close to matching it. Motor vehicle taxes amount to about 12% of state revenue, and taxes on cigarettes and beverage alcohol provide 5%.[75]

2006 Pennsylvania license plate.Counties, municipalities, and school districts levy taxes on real estate. In addition, some local bodies assess a wage tax on personal income. Generally, the total wage tax rate is capped at 1% of income but some municipalities with home rule charters may charge more than 1%. Thirty-two of the state's sixty-seven counties levy a personal property tax on stocks, bonds, and similar holdings.

Federal representation
Pennsylvania's two U.S. Senators are Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter. Pennsylvania's U.S. Congressmen are Robert Brady (1st)), Chaka Fattah (2nd)), Phil English (3rd)), Melissa Hart (4th)), John E. Peterson (5th)), Jim Gerlach (6th)), Curt Weldon (7th)), Michael Fitzpatrick (8th)), Bill Shuster (9th)), Don Sherwood (10th), Paul E. Kanjorski (11th), John Murtha (12th), Allyson Schwartz (13th), Mike Doyle (14th), Charlie Dent (15th), Joe Pitts (16th), Tim Holden (17th), Tim Murphy (18th), and Todd Russell Platts (19th).[76]

Important cities and municipalities
The skyline of Pittsburgh, the 20th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.Municipalities in Pennsylvania are incorporated as cities, boroughs, or townships.

In 1870, Bloomsburg, the county seat of Columbia County, and in 1975, McCandless, Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County were incorporated as towns by special act of the legislature. [77] [78]

Important cities in Pennsylvania[36] include Allentown, Altoona, Bethlehem, Chester, Easton, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, New Castle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, and York.

Although not legally structured as cities, the boroughs of Bethel Park, Monroeville, Norristown, Plum and State College have significant populations.[36]

Pennsylvania locations by per capita income
The skyline of Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania and the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Pennsylvania is home to the nation's first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo. [2] Other notable zoos include Claws 'n Paws, Erie Zoo, Pittsburgh Zoo, and ZOOAMERICA. It is also home to the National Aviary, located in Pittsburgh.

All 121 state parks in Pennsylvania feature free admission.

Pennsylvania offers a number of notable amusement parks, including Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Dutch Wonderland, DelGrosso Amusement Park , Hersheypark, Idlewild Park, Kennywood, Knoebels, Lakemont Park, Sandcastle, Sesame Place, and Waldameer Park.

Main article: Pennsylvania sports
Pennsylvania is home to many professional sports teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, and the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. Among them, these teams have accumulated 6 World Series Championships, 14 National League Pennants, 3 NFL Championships, 5 Super Bowl Championships, 4 NBA Championships, and 4 Stanley Cup winners.

Motorsports are popular in Pennsylvania. The Mario Andretti dynasty of race drivers hail from Nazareth. Notable Racetracks in Pennsylvania include the Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, the Lake Erie Speedway in North East, the Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, the Motordome Speedway in Smithton, the Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth; and the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, which is home both the Pennsylvania 500 and the Pocono 500.

Race courses for horses in Pennsylvania consist of Ladbroke at the Meadows, in Pittsburgh, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, in Wilkes-Barre and Summerside Raceway in Summerside which offer harness racing, and Penn National Race Course in Grantville and Philadelphia Park, in Bensalem which offer thoroughbred racing. Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby winner, had Philadelphia Park as his home course.

Arnold Palmer, one of the leading 20th century pro golfers, comes from Latrobe, and Jim Furyk, one of the leading 21-century pro golfers, grew up near in Lancaster. PGA tournaments in Pennsylvania include the 84 Lumber Classic, played at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, in Farmington and the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, played at Glenmaura National Golf Club, in Scranton.

In his book Pennsylvania Snacks: A Guide to Food Factory Tours, Author Sharon Hernes Silverman calls Pennsylvania the snack food capital of the world. It leads all other states in the manufacture of pretzels and potato chips. The Sturgis Pretzel House introduced the pretzel to America, and companies like Anderson Bakery Company, Intercourse Pretzel Factory, and Snyder's of Hanover are leading manufacturers in the state. The three companies that define the U.S. potato chip industry are Utz Quality Foods which started making chips in Hanover, Pennsylvania in 1921, Wise Snack Foods which started making chips in Berwick in 1921, and Lay's Potato Chips, a Texas company. Other companies such as Herr Foods, Martin's Potato Chips, and Troyer Farms Potato Products are popular chip manufacturers. The U.S. chocolate industry is centered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with Mars and Wilbur Chocolate Company nearby, and many smaller manufacturers such as Asher's. Other notable companies include Benzel's Pretzels and Boyer Candies, which is well known for its Mallow Cups.

Among the regional foods associated with Pennsylvania are the Philadelphia cheesesteak and the hoagie, the soft pretzel, Italian water ice, scrapple, Tastykake, and the stromboli. Tomato ketchup was improved by Henry John Heinz of Pittsburgh from 1876 to the early 1900's. Pittsburgh also embraces its locally famous Primanti Brothers sandwiches. Pittsburgh is also famous for its Polish food.

Ethnic cuisine is common, especially in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas. Many restaurateurs offer Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Turkish, Pakistani, Russian and Amish dining.

State symbols
State animal: White-tailed Deer[6]
State beverage: Milk[6]
State cookie: Chocolate Chip[79]
State game bird: Ruffed Grouse[6]
State capital: Harrisburg[80]
State dog: Great Dane[6]
State fish: Brook Trout[6]
State flower: Mountain Laurel[6]
State fossil: the trilobite Phacops rana[6]
State insect: Firefly[6]
State number: 2nd
State song: Pennsylvania (Formerly Hail, Pennsylvania!, until 1990)[6]
State tree: Hemlock[6]
State toy: Slinky[81]
State ship: United States Brig Niagara[6]
State electric locomotive: Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 #4849 Locomotive
State steam locomotive: Pennsylvania Railroad K4s Locomotive
State beautification plant: Crown Vetch[6]
State soil: Hazleton[80]


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