10 Pros and Cons of Living in Pennsylvania Right Now

Things To Know Before Moving To Pennsylvania

If you are interested in the pros and cons of living in Pennsylvania. Then you have come to the right place.

Since we are going to review the benefits of living in Pennsylvania. And some reasons not to live in Pennsylvania too.

Whether you are considering retiring in Pennsylvania pros and cons. Or thinking about moving to the state for new opportunities.

It doesn’t matter. Because this article has it covered either way.

No further delay. Let’s get on with the living in Pennsylvania pros and cons for today…

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros and Cons Of Living In Pennsylvania

My top 10 list of moving to Pennsylvania pros and cons includes the following:

  • Low cost of living
  • Plenty of fun things to do
  • Interesting food options
  • Great for education and health care
  • Diversity and cultural experiences
  • Harsh winter weather
  • Bad driving conditions
  • Additional taxes
  • Mixed employment picture
  • Some unique things to get used to

We will go through these advantages and disadvantages of living in Pennsylvania in a bit.

But first, let’s address the big question day. So you will understand, what is it like living in Pennsylvania…

Is Pennsylvania A Good Place To Live?

Yes. There is plenty to like about Pennsylvania living.

But just like each state in this big country, life in Pennsylvania isn’t perfect.

Here’s why…

Reasons To Live In Pennsylvania

First of all, you won’t have to break your budget. To have a comfortable life in this state.

Since both living costs and income taxes are reasonable.

Furthermore, you will find many places and activities in Pennsylvania. To keep you relaxed, fit, healthy, well-fed, and entertained.

Finally, you can enrich your life after moving to Pennsylvania too.

By taking advantage of the state’s excellent higher education options. And also by soaking up the rich history and diversity. That is embedded in the culture here.

On the other hand…

Cons Of Living In Pennsylvania

If you are hoping to find a warm state to settle down in. This one may not be the best.

Because the winters are fairly severe. With very cold temperatures. And a lot of snow.

Furthermore, the traffic and roads are bad. Making getting around more difficult and expensive than it needs to be.

Next, employment opportunities are a bit of a mixed bag. Furthermore, the state finds a way to pick your pocket with some unique taxes. That you won’t’ find everywhere.

Finally, you will come across some unique laws and behaviors in this state. Being annoying at worst. Or, best case, may just take a little getting used to.

Okay. With those key highlights taken care of. Thus, addressing is Pennsylvania a good state to live in.

It’s time to go through the pros and cons of living in Pennsylvania one by one.

And we will start on a positive note…

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Low Cost Of Living

There are several ways you can save money in this state.

First on the money you spend. Second, on the taxes you pay.

Allow me to break them down for you…

The Average Cost Of Living In Pennsylvania

To address the price of living in Pennsylvania. I will reference some figures from BestPlaces.net.

First of all the median home value is about 25% less. Versus the national average.

And since one’s housing costs usually make up the largest expense in a budget. We are off to a good start.

Then, both utilities for your home. And health care costs. Will run 2-3% below national averages.

Other costs. For example, groceries. They run bout average.

But understand this. Because you will have to pay up. If you do a lot of driving. More on that a little later.

If the price of living in Pennsylvania is still too high for your budget. Think about moving to West Virginia.

Since it is one of the least expensive states in the country. And this state’s neighbor to the southwest.

Now, here is another one of the cool things about Pennsylvania. For your finances…

Sales Taxes When Living In Pennsylvania

The state assesses a 6% sales tax. Which is a fairly average rate for most states.

But the good news? Pennsylvania exempts many items from the tax altogether.

Specifically, consumers pay no sales tax on:

  • Food (not ready-to-eat)
  • Candy and gum
  • Most clothing
  • Textbooks
  • Computer services
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Sales of items that will be resold
  • Residential heating fuels

To sum up, the sales tax laws provide consumers a break here. On many everyday purchases.

It’s not quite as good as a state that charges no sales tax. On any type of purchase. But these states are few and far between.

Nevertheless, it is a pretty good deal.

Next, let’s keep moving through the pros and cons of living in Pennsylvania…

Income Taxes

Pennsylvania has a flat income tax system.

That just means no matter how much money you make. The tax rate never changes.

And Pennsylvania’s income tax rate is reasonable. Checking in at a little over 3%.

You won’t save as much here. Versus living in a state that charges no income tax.

However, Pennsylvania’s rate is fairly low. When comparing it to most other states in the country.

Bear with me. There is one more tax item to address. And it is great for those thinking about retiring in Pennsylvania…

Retirement Taxes When Living In Pennsylvania

Because whatever your retirement sources of income are. Pennsylvania doesn’t tax them.

This includes:

  • Social security income
  • Pension income
  • 401(k) and IRA withdrawals

That’s right. All of these income sources are free from state tax.

I think that’s a pretty good deal. For anyone considering retirement living in Pennsylvania.

And hopefully, this tax information helps. If you have been asking yourself this question: Is Pennsylvania a good place to retire?

Here are several more tips. For saving money here. Or, anywhere you choose to live…

Saving Money When Living In Pennsylvania (or anywhere)

First, mortgage lenders and landlords will check your credit score.

So get out in front of them to get the best deals. By checking your credit for FREE using Credit Karma.

Then, get the best rate on a mortgage. For your new Pennsylvania home.

And do so by shopping rates on the internet. Using Lending Tree.

Then, get cashback on all your online purchases. To find the things you like and need. Without having to drive around to find them.

I like the cash rebate app from Rakuten. For saving money on everything I buy online.

And when you go to the grocery store. Try the money-saving cashback app from Ibotta.

And pocket your cash back savings!

Managing Money No Matter Where You Live

Last but not least. Get your finances in order. Both your budget and investments.

Because moving to Pennsylvania is a big deal.

Check out the FREE online tool from Personal Capital.

It saves time. And makes money management (budgeting and monitoring investments) less of a chore.

Best of all, these money tips and tools work anywhere you decide to live! So don’t derail your finances before or after moving.

That’s enough about money and taxes.

Let’s move onto another one of the perks of living in Pennsylvania…

Plenty Of Fun Things To Do

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Because a Pennsylvania lifestyle can be a lot of fun. By doing and enjoying a variety of things.

Here’s what I mean…

Outdoor Activities In Pennsylvania

Get going and take in the outdoors here.

Be it the mountain trails, vast lakes, or stunning forests.

Hikers can connect with the Appalachian Trail. In the Cumberland Valley.

Stargazers should check out Cherry Springs State Park. An official “dark sky park”.

Where it’s possible to see the Northern Lights there. If your timing is right.

Or, don’t forget about the Poconos Mountain region. Dotted with small towns. Plus plenty of indoor and outdoor recreation options.

Finally, be awestruck by Pine Creek Gorge.

It is also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. In case living in, or a visit to the actual Grand Canyon State is not a possibility.

This is just a sampling. Because outdoor recreation is virtually endless in Pennsylvania.

And the next outdoor activity deserves special mention. In an article about the pros and cons of living in Pennsylvania…


Because Pennsylvania is a hunter’s dream. And one of the top hunting states in the nation.

Furthermore, it is practically a state holiday. When the fall hunting season opens each year.

White-tailed deer and turkey are popular to hunt here. Also black bear.

Plus, a variety of small birds and animals are available too. Including rabbits, squirrels, and grouse.

What makes all of this outdoor fun possible in Pennsylvania. The weather of course…

Enjoy Four Weather Seasons Living In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania weather delivers plenty of variety. And is especially nice in the spring through fall months.

You can enjoy warm summer days.

And crisp fall temperatures. That brings the turning leaves of autumn.

Then celebrate Christmas with a fresh blanket of snow. Coating the ground.

Finally, look forward to the spring thaw. When the plants and forests come back to life.

Next, you can enjoy another advantage of Pennsylvania living outside. Or, from the comfort of your couch…

Professional Sports When Living In Pennsylvania

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Because this state hosts numerous pro sports franchises.

Compared to all of the other states in the country. Only 4 states have more pro sports teams than Pennsylvania.

The teams include:

  • Philadelphia Phillies: Baseball
  • Pittsburgh Pirates: Baseball
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Basketball
  • Philadelphia Eagles: Football
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: Football
  • Philadelphia Flyers: Hockey
  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Hockey
  • Philadelphia Union: Soccer

Philadelphia and Pittsburg. They are two amazing sports towns. In a great state for pro sports.

So, get ready to adopt a team. And cheer them on.

But next, when you are ready to get out of town. Or, out of state in this case.

I have another one of the pros of living in Pennsylvania for you…

Proximity To Some Great States And Cities

So, when you need to get away. Pennsylvania provides excellent access to some great east coast cities.

One of the reasons it’s called “The Keystone State”. Is its positioning as a point of access. For getting around the region.

Thus, live here and be close to everything.

For example, hop in the car. And in a matter of hours, you can be in New York City.

Further north in New York state. Visit the vast green spaces of the Adirondacks.

Going a different direction. Head to Washington D.C.

And tour the historic monuments, buildings, and museums. That our nation’s capital has to offer.

You can check out Boston too. In the New England state of Massachusetts.

To learn about the area’s amazing history. Or visit the countryside to view the beautiful turning leaves of fall.

And Wilmington. Located in the little state of Delaware.

Other places that you can easily access include New Jersey.

Home to Atlantic City. With its iconic boardwalk and casinos.

As well as the Kittatinny mountains. Just over the southeast Pennsylvania state border. Residing in North Jersey.

And don’t forget about Baltimore.

Where you get some excellent blue crab. That the state of Maryland is famous for.

So, getting out of state. When you want to. Couldn’t be easier! When you are living in Pennsylvania!

Next, are you hungry?

If yes. Then here are some interesting things to know about living in Pennsylvania.

As it relates to the food…

Interesting Food Options

Here are some interesting things. About the unique foods in this state.

Pennsylvania Pizza

I know New York and Chicago. They lay claim to some fantastic pizza.

But, Pennsylvania is no slouch either. Because the state’s town of Old Forge. Considers itself the pizza capital of the world.

Dating back to the town’s roots. When it was settled by Italian immigrants. Who started the tradition.

Thus, you can find good pizza in this state!

Convenience Foods

Believe it or not, the state is also known for this unusual food situation. That being fresh foods and meals prepared and sold. In gas stations and convenience stores.

And, it’s pretty good stuff. Burgers, appetizers, custom-made sandwiches, and more.

You must check out the variety of fresh offerings at Wawa and Sheetz. Because these convenience stores will surely surprise you. With the quality of their grab-and-go chow.

And the foodie list goes on…

Smorgasbords In Pennsylvania

Be sure to try a Pennsylvania Dutch smorgasbord buffet. They are an unbelievable food fest.

Smorgasbord just means a breakfast, lunch, or dinner buffet. Offering a variety of foods and dishes.

With hundreds of items to choose from. All you can eat. And a chance to try different Amish dishes too.

And, I have to mention another one of the good things about Pennslyvania food…

Philly Cheese Steaks

You can argue with me about Pennsylvania. Laying claim to the pizza capital of the world.

But, not about this…

Because the cheesesteak sandwich has its roots in Philadelphia. Where it was developed in the early 1900s.

The hot sandwich combines thin slices of sauteed rib-eye steak. Topped with grilled onions, and melted provolone cheese. All nestled into a small loaf of bread.

Philadelphia is the only place in the country. Where you can get a real, original Philly cheesesteak!

And I almost forgot…

Chocolate In Pennsylvania

There is Hershey, PA. Known as the sweetest place on earth.

And home to the iconic chocolate and candy company. That bears the town’s name.

Okay. The family is all filled up. On good things to eat.

Next, a completely different one of the strengths of Pennsylvania…

Great For Education And Health Care

Not only can you feed your stomach. But you can feed your brain. And take care of your body too.

Here’s why…

Educational Institutions

First of all, you have great access to get a good education in this state.

While you will find that the K-12 school system to be high quality. However, where the state shines is in higher education.

First of all, The University of Pennsylvania is part of the elite Ivy League group of schools. Located in Philadelphia.

And don’t forget about Penn State University. Calling State College, PA home.

In all, there are nearly 100 institutions of higher learning here. Including some other top-notch private colleges and universities. Aside from UPenn.

For example, Bucknell, Drexel, and Carnegie Mellon University. Just to name a few.

Health Care Institutions

For health care, the state boasts some big names. For access, care, and research. That can boost your Pennsylvania quality of life.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is highly regarded.

With a network of roughly 40 hospitals. Including highly rated UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside. Located in Pittsburg.

Other top-notch hospitals located across the state include:

  • Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia
  • UPMC Pinnacle in Harrisburg
  • Hershey Medical Center serving central PA

Switching gears again. Here is one more of the best things about Pennsylvania…

Diversity And Cultural Experiences

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The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia

Pennsylvania life means history, diversity, and culture. Since the state makes a solid claim in all regards…


You can make an argument that Pennsylvania is one of the most historical places in our country.

First, it was one of the original 13 colonies.

Second, the United States Declaration of Independence. It was signed into law by Congress in Philadelphia in 1776.

Finally, the famous Liberty Bell was rung here.

To celebrate the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Stating our countries separation. From British rule.

Diversity And Culture

First of all, the state is home to a large Amish population in the country.

The Amish are very distinct. And their culture is preserved here. In their close-knit farming communities.

But other cultures settled in the Pennsylvania area too. Including Dutch, Swedish, and British immigrants.

And their diverse influences can be seen throughout the state to this day.

Okay. That concludes my top 5 reasons to move to Pennsylvania.

But, an article about the pros and cons of living in Pennsylvania. Would not be complete. Without an honest assessment of the reasons not to move to Pennsylvania too.

Since each state has some good things. And not so good reasons for living there.

Let’s do that now…

Harsh Winter Weather

The benefits of four-season weather climates. Usually, fall short during the winter.

And Pennsylvania is no different. Because this state has frigid cold winters and gets plenty of snow.

Depending on where you live, expect 30-50 inches. Of that fluffy white stuff each year.

Furthermore, the weather can have wide variations. One day it might be sunny and mild. While the next one brings cold temperatures and snow.

So, be prepared. And know that you will need 4 seasons of weather gear.

From shorts and flip flops in the summer. To a heavy parka and snow boots. To combat the cold and snow during the state’s winter season.

And everything in between!

Next, I have another one of the cons of living in Pennsylvania…

Bad Driving Conditions

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Since this state has bad traffic. Driving in Pennslyvania is not the best.

With several reasons that contributing to the situation. Here are a few…

Commuters And Road Rage When Living In Pennsylvania

Commuters to and from New York City. And the Washington DC area. Add to traffic congestion.

Furthermore, Philadelphia drivers are known to have a condition. It is called “Philly Road Rage”.

Ramps And Signage On The Pennsylvania Roads

The highway ramps are a bit of a challenge too.

Some are long. While others are very short. Creating a dangerous merge into high-speed traffic.

Yet other ramps have stop signals. Before entering the highway.

So be on your toes. Because you never know what to expect.

Then there are road signs. Sometimes they are not reliable. And confusing in route to your destination.

Potholes And Tolls

Finally, watch out for potholes in this state. Since Pennsylvania is famous. For some of the worst potholes in the country.

And then there are the tolls. Since there are an outlandish amount of toll roads. In and around Pennsylvania.

So, do yourself a favor. And get an automated prepaid toll pass. Since cash will slow you down and cost you more.

If the cost to drive the toll roads isn’t enough for you. Then I have another one of the bad things about Pennsylvania living…

Additional Taxes

We already discussed some of the nice tax breaks this state offers.

On the other hand, The state taps your pocket in some other ways. As it relates to your taxes.

I suggest you consult with your tax advisor. For specifics related to your unique situation.

But, here are some examples…

Local Taxes Depending On Where You Live In Pennsylvania

Many towns, cities, and municipalities levy local taxes. They are known as a local earned income tax. Or, local services tax.

These taxes can range from virtually nothing. Up to almost 4%. Depending on where you live.

Property Taxes For Those Living In Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, real estate taxes are high too.

Since Pennsylvania has one of the top 15 highest average property tax rates. Versus other states in the country.

Inheritance Taxes

The state has an inheritance tax. Also known as a death tax.

But, the rate applied to the deceased’s assets can vary widely. Depending on who is receiving the money.

These rates range up to a maximum of 15%.

So on one hand, the state encourages retirees to settle in Pennsylvania. By offering some generous tax breaks on retirement income.

But they sock it to you “on your way out”. For any leftover money!

Living In Pennsylvania Means High Gas Taxes

Finally, the state has an expensive gasoline tax. One of the highest in the country.

Clocking in at nearly 60 cents per gallon. So, be prepared to pay up at the pump.

And combined with the cost of tolls. You may want to consider public transportation whenever you can.

Continuing with the pros and cons of moving to Pennsylvania. This one was hard for me to decide.

But it ended up as one of the cons of living in Pennsylvania…

Mixed Employment Picture

Because job opportunities are a mixed bag in the state. Here’s why I think that…

The big cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburg. They have robust economies and job markets. But, competition for the best jobs is high.

For one thing, the educational system in Pennsylvania. Is doing a good job of cranking out highly qualified job applicants.

So, get ready to compete. For the best jobs.

On the other hand, in the smaller cities. And rural areas. Jobs and especially higher-paying professional employment opportunities are limited here.

Finally, it must be said. The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania. Is one of the highest in the country.

So, if you are moving to Pennsylvania for employment. It’s a good idea to get something lined up in advance.

Okay. And next. Before I wrap up. Let’s go through one last negative about living in Pennsylvania.

Some Unique Things To Get Used To

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Amish farmers

In reality, these things aren’t so bad. Just some interesting things to know.

When you are thinking about moving to Pennsylvania…

Dialects And Accents

As I mentioned earlier. There is a fair amount of diversity in Pennsylvania. When compared to other states in the country.

So, you will run across a variety of languages. And accents you may not be familiar with. Or worst case, are hard to understand.

Specifically, a mix of Swedish, Dutch, and German languages. And Spanish is often spoken too.

Liquor Laws

Similar to a state out west like Utah. With religious underpinnings.

The liquor laws in Pennsylvania are a bit restrictive. So, if you like to drink.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with when and where you can buy and consume beer, wine, and spirits.

And another oddity about Pennsylvania. To be aware of…

Nuclear Sirens When Living In Pennsylvania

There are several nuclear power plants located in the state. And workers are required to test the alarm systems periodically.

So, know that the sirens can be loud. Depending on where you are located.

And a bit unnerving. Until you get used to them.

Okay. That wraps up the opportunities and obstacles about Pennsylvania living.

Allow me to wrap up. With a summary…

Pros And Cons Of Living In Pennsylvania

Here is my top 10 list of living in Pennsylvania pros and cons.

  • Low cost of living
  • Plenty of fun things to do
  • Interesting food options
  • Great for education and health care
  • Diversity and cultural experiences
  • Harsh winter weather
  • Bad driving conditions
  • Additional taxes
  • Mixed employment picture
  • Some unique things to get used to

From my perspective, Pennsylvania is a state like no other.

And whether you are sifting through retiring in Pennsylvania pros and cons. Or, just thinking about moving to Pennsylvania for a fresh start in life.

Hopefully, I have helped you answer these questions:

1) Is Pennsylvania a good state to live in?


2) Why should I move to Pennsylvania?

Best of luck with your decision. No matter where you choose to live.

More Reading About Pros And Cons Of Pennsylvania And Far Beyond

Make The Most Of Your Money Living In Pennsylvania

I mentioned several money-saving resources in the article. And have summarized them here.

Best of all, they work no matter where you choose to live…

conclusions about "The Keystone State"Pin

Author Bio, Disclosure, & Disclaimer: Please join me (Tom) as I try to achieve my goals, find my next place to live, and make the most of my money. However, I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial counselor, real estate agent, or tax professional. Instead, I’m a 50-something-year-old, early retired CPA, finance professional, and business school teacher with 40+ years of DIY dividend investing experience. I’m here only to share my thoughts about essential topics for success. As a result, nothing published on this site should be considered individual investment, financial, tax, or real estate advice. This site’s only purpose is general information & entertainment. Thus, neither I nor Dividends Diversify can be held liable for losses suffered by any party because of the information published on this website. Finally, all written content is the property of Dividends Diversify LLC. Unauthorized publication elsewhere is strictly prohibited.

The Pros And Cons Of Living In Pennsylvania Explained