Largest Cities in Pennsylvania

By PropertyClub Team
Aug 11th 2023
Situated in the heart of the mid-Atlantic region of the US, Pennsylvania is known as the birthplace of American Democracy. With a population of over 12.9 million, Pennsylvania is the fifth-largest state in the country and has numerous large cities offering unique charm and history. Here are the ten largest cities in Pennsylvania by population.

hash-mark10 Largest Cities in Pennsylvania (by Population)

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. Allentown
  4. Erie
  5. Reading
  6. Upper Darby
  7. Scranton
  8. Lower Merion
  9. Bensalem
  10. Abington

hash-mark1. Philadelphia (Population: 1,576,251)

The largest city in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia. It's also the main cultural center of Pennsylvania. It's one of the most historically significant cities in the country as the central meeting place of the Founding Fathers, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. It's also a leading center of education and academic research, with more than 18 four-year universities located in the city. Aside from higher education, Philadelphia's economy is based on manufacturing, oil refining, food processing, health care, and more. With a median property value of just $255,000, it's also very affordable for a major US city. 

hash-mark2. Pittsburgh (Population: 300,675)

Pittsburgh is the second largest city in Pennsylvania by population, with just over 300,000 residents. Known as Steel City, Pittsburgh is a major manufacturing hub known for producing steel, aluminum, glass, and petroleum. It's also a central hub for healthcare, education, technology, and government and has become the headquarters for eight Fortune 500 Companies and six of the nation's top law firms. Due to its abundance of economic opportunity and low cost of living, Pittsburgh often ranks among the most livable cities in the US. It's also home to three major sports teams, the Pirates in the MLB, the Steelers in the NFL, and the Penguins in the NHL. 

hash-mark3. Allentown (Population: 125,944)

Allentown is also one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania by population. It's also the fastest-growing major metro area in the state. Located on the Lehigh River, Allentown is in a central location just under 50 miles from Philadelphia and under 80 miles from New York City. The city features a diverse population, beautiful parks, and decent schools. Its fast population growth is partly due to its low cost of living and the abundance of suburbs surrounding the city. Plus, its central location in the heart of the Lehigh Valley offers both scenic beauty and easy access to amenities.

hash-mark4. Erie (Population: 94,009)

Another one of the largest cities in PA is Erie. This city is located directly on Lake Erie on the northwestern tip of Pennsylvania, across the water from the Canadian border. The city is about 100 miles from Buffalo, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio. It served as a major hub of trade and maritime activity during the American Revolution as the state's main point of access to the Great Lakes. During the Industrial Revolution, it transformed into a major center for manufacturing, which persists to this day alongside industries like healthcare, education, technology, and the service industry.  

hash-mark5. Reading (Population: 94,844)

Reading is also one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania. It is also the county seat of Bucks County in southeast Pennsylvania. The city is known for the now-defunct Reading Company, aka Reading Railroad, a commercial transport company that served as the inspiration for the space in the famous board game Monopoly. It's also commonly known as "the Pretzel City" after the many factories in the city and surrounding suburbs that produce the salty snack. With a low cost of living and median property value of $149,950, Reading is an affordable city with a lot to offer. 

hash-mark6. Upper Darby (Population: 84,891)

Upper Darby is another one of the largest cities in PA. Upper Darby is located in Delaware County, about 10 miles west of Philadelphia. The peaceful suburb is known for its quaint, tree-lined blocks, gorgeous colonial homes, and good schools. However, it's also very diverse, and about 25% of the population is foreign-born, creating a melting pot culture with plenty of great restaurants, small businesses, and attractions. Known as "the World in One Place," Upper Darby is a welcoming community full of life that attracts residents from all over.

hash-mark7. Scranton (Population: 75,874)

Scranton is the largest city in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the 7th largest in the state overall. It's a safe city with a low cost of living that attracts young professionals, families, and retirees seeking a stable economy and easy access to neighboring cities. Nicknamed "the Electric City," Scranton was the birthplace of the world's first electric trolly system, and there is still a mural downtown commemorating this achievement. Scranton is also the location of the hit NBC sitcom, The Office, and the birthplace of President Joe Biden, making it well known to residents outside of Pennsylvania. 

hash-mark8. Lower Merion (Population: 64,148)

Lower Marion is a township in Montgomery County, considered part of Philadelphia's main line. It's one of the largest suburbs of Philadelphia and is also one of Pennsylvania's largest cities. The township is supported by industries like healthcare, education, and technology, with major employers like Main Line Health, Bryn Mawr College, and Susquehanna International. With low crime, great schools, and an easy commute to Philadelphia, Lower Merion consistently ranks among the best places to live in Pennsylvania.  

hash-mark9. Bensalem (Population: 62,743)

Bensalem is also one of the largest cities in PA. Bensalem is located in Bucks County, and it borders the northeastern limits of Philadelphia. It's largely a suburban community known for its safe neighborhoods and excellent school district. The main attraction in town is Parx Casino and Racing, a 1-mile thoroughbred racing track famous for being the home of Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion Smarty Joes. With a median property value of $351,250 and easy access to major highways like I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Bensalem is an affordable suburb in a central location. 

hash-mark10. Abington (Population: 58,471)

Abington is the final entry on our list of the ten largest cities in Pennsylvania by population. Abington is located on the northern fringe of the Philadelphia metro area. Initially incorporated in 1704, Abington is one of Montgomery County's oldest communities and home to several historic buildings and monuments. It also contains the Willow Grove Park Mall, a three-story shopping center with over 120 retail outlets. In 2022, Money Magazine ranked Abington as the 24th best place to live in the United States for its affordable housing and family-friendly environment.