Philadelphia was settled in 1682 along the Delaware River by the Quaker William Penn, who had received a land grant from King Charles II. The eventual approval and official adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, established the city of Philadelphia as the birthplace of the nation. The city’s many museums and historic sites including Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and where the Constitution of the United States was debated, drafted, and signed commemorates and interprets many of the people, places, and events associated with American independence and Philadelphia’s unique role therein.
During the 19th century, Philadelphia grew into one of the nation’s leading industrial and cosmopolitan centers. In addition to its diverse collection of industries which included beer, brooms, candies, cigars, cigarettes, ice cream, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding and railroad manufacturing the city’s educational and cultural institutions (including the University of Pennsylvania, which was granted the authority to confer college degrees in 1755, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, founded in 1877) allowed it to become a world leader in scientific and medical research and the arts.
Similar to many other major industrial centers, Philadelphia saw its economic prosperity significantly undermined during the latter half of the 20th century, largely as a result of the decline of its traditional manufacturing base and a general flight to its burgeoning suburbs. Today, while the Philadelphia, PA MD’s economy remains fairly broad-based, educational and health services, which account for over 20 percent of total employment, are key sources of jobs and incomes. Tourism also plays an important role in the MD’s economy.
In 2007, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD metropolitan statistical area (MSA), of which the Philadelphia, PA MD is part, was the fifth most populous metropolitan statistical area in the county.
Historical data for the Philadelphia, PA MD can be found at the following websites: