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Description of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state in the United States that spans the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Appalachian regions. It shares borders with Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and Ontario to the north, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.
Pennsylvania is the fifth-most populous state in the country as of 2020, with over 13 million citizens.
It is the 33rd largest state by area and ranks ninth in population density among all states. Nearly half of the population (6.09 million) resides in the southeastern Delaware Valley metropolitan area, which is centered on Philadelphia, the state's largest and the sixth-most populous city in the United States; another one-third of the population (2.37 million) resides in Greater Pittsburgh in the southwest. The three largest cities in Pennsylvania are Philadelphia (1.6 million), Pittsburgh (302,971), and Allentown (125,845). Other significant cities in Pennsylvania include Erie, Reading, Bethlehem, and Scranton. The capital of the state is Harrisburg.
The Appalachian Mountains run through the state's center, while the Allegheny and Pocono Mountains occupy much of the northeast, and around 60 percent of the state is forested. Pennsylvania has more navigable rivers than any other state, including the Delaware, Ohio, and Pine Creek, although it has just 140 miles (225 km) of waterfront around Lake Erie and the Delaware River.
Pennsylvania was one of the thirteen British colonies that formed the United States. It was established in 1681 by a royal land gift to William Penn, son of the state's namesake; the southeast portion was a part of the New Sweden colony. The Province of Pennsylvania was notable for its generally calm interactions with native tribes, innovative governance structure, and religious diversity. The U.S. Constitution, along with the Declaration of Independence, was drafted in Philadelphia's Independence Hall; the city also held the first and second Constitutional Conventions that led to the American Revolution. On December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the Constitution.
Geographical Description of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania measures 170 miles (274 kilometers) from north to south and 283 miles (455 kilometers) from east to west. 44,817 square miles (116,075 square kilometers) are land, 490 square miles (1,269 square kilometers) are inland waterways, and 749 square miles (1,940 square kilometers) are Lake Erie waters. It is the 33rd largest state in the country. Pennsylvania has 51 miles (82 km) of Lake Erie coastline and 57 miles (92 km) of Delaware Estuary coastline. Pennsylvania is the only one of the original Thirteen Colonies that did not border the Atlantic Ocean.
The state is bounded by the Mason–Dixon line (39°43' N) to the south, the Twelve-Mile Circle on the Pennsylvania–Delaware border, the Delaware River to the east, 80°31' W to the west, and the 42° N to the north, with the exception of a short segment on the western end where a triangle extends north to Lake Erie.
In the southeast are Philadelphia, Reading, Lebanon, and Lancaster; in the southwest is Pittsburgh; and in the center east are Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton (known as the Lehigh Valley). Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Nanticoke, and Hazleton were formerly anthracite coal-mining cities in the northeast. The location of Erie is in the northwest. State College serves the central region, Williamsport the north-central region, Chambersburg the south-central region, York, Carlisle, and the state capital Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River serving the east-central region, and Altoona and Johnstown serving the west-central region.
Pennsylvania is divided into five distinct geographical regions: the Allegheny Plateau, Ridge and Valley, Atlantic Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Erie Plain.
Economy of Pennsylvania
The gross state product (GSP) of $803 billion in 2018 places Pennsylvania sixth in the nation. If Pennsylvania were a sovereign nation, its economy would be the nineteenth largest in the world. Pennsylvania's 2016 per-capita GSP of $50,665 (in chained 2009 dollars) ranks 22nd among the fifty states on a per-capita basis.
As of 2016, there were 5,354,964 employed individuals in Pennsylvania, with a total of 301,484 employer businesses.
Urban manufacturing centers can be found at Philadelphia in the southeast area, Pittsburgh in the southwest corner, Erie in the northwest corner, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre in the northeast corner, and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton in the east central region. This disparity impacts both state politics and the state's economy, as a majority of the Commonwealth is rural. Philadelphia is a leader in the finance and insurance industries, with six Fortune 500 corporations and more located in nearby suburbs, such as King of Prussia.
Eight Fortune 500 firms are headquartered in Pittsburgh, including U.S. Steel, PPG Industries, and H.J. Heinz. Pennsylvania is home to a total of fifty Fortune 500 firms. The Hershey Company, one of the largest chocolate manufacturers, is headquartered in Hershey. GE Transportation, the largest manufacturer of railroad locomotives in the United States, is headquartered in Erie.
As in the United States as a whole and in the majority of states, Walmart is the largest private employer in Pennsylvania, followed by the University of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is also home to The York Water Corporation, the oldest investor-owned utility company in the United States.
As of May 2020, the unemployment rate in the state is 13.1%.