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A History of West Philadelphia, PA

west philadelphia personal injury attorney near malcolm x park

The personal injury attorneys in West Philadelphia, PA, sponsor this article to offer readers a detailed excerpt about the area.

West Philadelphia is a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The neighborhood spans 14.2 square miles and hosts an approximate population of 216,433 with a population density of 11,233.6 per square mile. While West Philadelphia has no official boundaries, the neighborhood is generally referred to as a section on the western shore of the Schuylkill River.


West Philadelphia is a longstanding community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the neighborhood saw great development.

Around the time when the Schuylkill River bridges allowed middle-class workers to commute to and from the Centennial Business District, the town evolved from horse-drawn carriages to streetcars.

The streetcar suburbs were a big motivator for change in West Philadelphia during the 19th century. A historical remembrance of the era is preserved in the West Philadelphia Streetcar Suburb Historic District which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

During the rise of the neighborhood, West Philadelphia was known for its expensive real estate designed in the Victorian architectural style.

In 1978 and 1985, West Philadelphia gained national attention for violent tensions between the police and MOVE, an afro-centric communal organization founded in 1972. The organization is known for its social justice involvement in the fight for equal rights. In 1985, tensions between police and the organization rose, resulting in a police firebombing of the organization's headquarters. In the bombing, 11 people were killed and the blocks of Osage Avenue and Pine Street were destroyed.

In most recent years, West Philadelphia has been impacted by gentrification largely due to the arrival of the University of Pennsylvania.


West Philadelphia is home to a slight majority of female residents (54.11%) and a minority of male residents (45.89%) with a median age of 32.9 years.

Most residents of West Philadelphia are U.S.-born citizens (88.93%) with a minority of non-U.S. citizens (6.25%) and an even smaller percentage of U.S. foreign-born citizens (4.82%).

The neighborhood consists of hardworking residents, 86.2% of which work white collar jobs, and 13.8% work blue-collar jobs. Of the employed population in West Philadelphia, 65.79% work for private companies, 17.36% work for non-profit companies, 13.19% are governmental workers, and 3.65% are self employed.

The education levels of West Philadelphia residents are as follows:

  • 17.07% Bachelor's Degree
  • 5.8% Associate's Degree
  • 26.29% Some College
  • 47.9% Some High School
  • 2.74% No High School

A slight majority of homes in West Philadelphia consist of non-family households (50.46%) with a substantial amount of family households (49.54%). Of the households in West Philadelphia, 73.4% are without children and 26.6% are households with children.

Residents of West Philadelphia live a relatively comfortable lifestyle with a median household income of $34,579.00, demonstrating a 3.7% annual increase.

Most homes in West Philadelphia are renter-occupied (56.64%). However, a substantial amount of homes are owner-occupied (43.36%). The median home value of a house in West Philadelphia without a mortgage is $97,400.00 and the median value of a home with a mortgage is $142,700.00.

West Philadelphia is generally considered a favorable place to live in Pennsylvania, offering the hardworking residents a comfortable lifestyle.


If you ever find yourself in West Philadelphia, do not miss out on all the wonderful local attractions the area has to offer.

Some of the most noteworthy local favorite attractions in West Philadelphia include,

  • Urban Art Gallery
  • Institute of Contemporary Art
  • Penn Museum
  • Malcolm X Park
  • Fairmount Park

If you are looking for a neighborhood with rich history, diverse demographics, and access to several local attractions, consider West Philadelphia, PA.

Enjoyed this article? See the related: Modern History of Walnut Hill, PA

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David Petrone
Date Published: July 1, 2021
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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