Delaware Valley

Delaware Valley
Delaware Valley
—  MSA  —
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States
State  - Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania
 - Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey
 - Flag of Delaware.svg Delaware
 - Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland
Principal cities Philadelphia, Reading, Camden & Wilmington
 - Metro 13,256 km2 (5,118 sq mi)
Elevation 0 - 366 m (0 - 1,200 ft)
Population (2006 est.)[1]
 - Density 1,138/km2 (439/sq mi)
 Urban 5,149,079(4th)
 - MSA 5,826,742 (5th)
 - CSA 6,398,896(8th)
  MSA/CSA = 2008, Urban = 2000
Time zone EST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) EST (UTC-5)

The Delaware Valley is a term used to refer to the valley where the Delaware River flows, along with the surrounding communities. This includes the metropolitan area centered on the city of Philadelphia. Such educational institutions as Delaware Valley Regional High School in Alexandria Township and Delaware Valley College in Doylestown Township are such examples of regional naming. Likewise, Frenchtown's now defunct newspaper The Delaware Valley News is another example of the usage.

The Delaware Valley is composed of several counties in Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey, one county in northern Delaware and one county in northeastern Maryland. The area has a population of over 6.1 million (as of the 2010 Census Bureau count). Philadelphia, being the region's major commercial, cultural, and industrial center, maintains a rather large sphere of influence that affects the counties that immediately surround it. The majority of the region's populace resides in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

As of March 2011, the Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area is the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States[2][3][4] and is located towards the southern end of the Northeast megalopolis extending from Boston to Washington, D.C.

Based on commuter flows, the OMB also defines a wider labor market region that adds Berks County to the Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington CSA bringing the total metropolitan population to 6.53 million.

Philadelphia's media ranks fourth, behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, in Nielsen Media Market size rankings.


Counties making up the Delaware Valley

Map of the Delaware Valley region



New Jersey

Atlantic County, New Jersey, Cape May County, New Jersey and Ocean County, New Jersey (part of the New York Metropolitan Area) are also associated with the Delaware Valley. While home to Philadelphia commuters, these counties are also home to an extensive tourism industry. The most notable of these tourist towns is Atlantic City, New Jersey.[citation needed]

Mercer County, New Jersey, while part of the New York Metropolitan Area, has traditionally also been affiliated with the Delaware Valley. Mercer County, a relatively wealthy[peacock term] county located on the northern fringe of the Delaware Valley MSA, is home to both New York and Philadelphia commuters. In recent years,[when?] however, growing numbers of New York commuters have migrated into Mercer. The two main towns in Mercer County are Princeton, located in the northern part of the county, and Trenton, located in the southern part of the county. Trenton, New Jersey's capital, tends to identify more with Philadelphia, and many commuters travel to Philadelphia from Trenton due to the shorter time involved than a trip to New York. Train and highway trips to Philadelphia are generally less than an hour from downtown Trenton, while trips to midtown Manhattan generally take over an hour by either highway or rail. Princeton identifies with New York because it is home to many New York commuters who began migrating into the area after World War II.[6] Furthermore, the commute time from Princeton to New York by train is different than the commute time from Princeton to Philadelphia. Mercer County is also its own metropolitan region, called the Trenton-Ewing MSA.[7]


Principal cities

The following metropolitan areas (MSAs) are included in the Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The principal cities in each MSA are as follows: Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)[5]

Reading Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)


King of Prussia, Pennsylvania's and Cherry Hill, New Jersey's are two of the largest suburban shopping malls, each having at least 5,000,000 square feet (460,000 m2) of office space, and at least 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) of retail. Philadelphia's suburbs contain a high concentration of malls, including the King of Prussia Mall, the largest on the East Coast, and the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey, the first enclosed mall on the East Coast. Malls, office complexes, strip shopping plazas, expressways, and tract housing are common sights, and more and more continue to replace rolling countryside, farms, woods, and wetlands. However, due to strong opposition by residents and political officials, many acres of land have been preserved throughout the Delaware Valley. Sprawling forests and farms can still be found throughout the region, providing a haven for pristine nature seekers. Older small towns and large boroughs such as Norristown, Jenkintown, Upper Darby and West Chester retain distinct community identities while engulfed in suburbia. The fastest-growing counties are Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, and Gloucester. Upper Darby, in Delaware County is the largest township in the United States. Sometimes Reading is included in the Delaware Valley Metro Area.[citation needed]

The region also has a large and growing ethnic population, thanks to job growth and proximity to major cities other than Philadelphia, such as New York City (90 miles or a 1.5 hour trip away) and Washington D.C (140 miles and about a 2.5 hour trip away).

Sticker by the Delaware Valley's Lenape Indians in 2008 claiming West Philadelphia is their home.

The Delaware Valley is home to extensive populations of African Americans (over 40% of Philadelphia's residents are black), Europeans (the majority of residents are white European of German, Irish, Italian and Polish descent), Asians such as Chinese, Indian, Korean and Vietnamese, Arabs and Turks, Indians and Pakistanis, Israelis (while American Jews form a significant ethno-religious community), Hispanics largest group are Puerto Ricans. Other large groups include Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Dominicans.[8] There is a West Indian community and even a small Native American community known as Lenapehoking for Lenni-Lenape Indians of West Philadelphia. Along with their immigrant counterparts, the area sees revived internal migration. Once sending more people out then receiving, the Delaware Valley has now turned that around. This is most notable of the city of Philadelphia, which has been struggling with population decline since the 1950s. The city is projected to begin increasing in population shortly before or after the year 2010. The core suburban counties have never had a difficult time achieving this, with most gaining the bulk of their populations in the last few decades.

Colonial history

The valley was the territory of the Susquehannock and Lenape, who are recalled in place names throughout the region. The region became part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland after the exploration of Delaware Bay in 1609. The Dutch called the Delaware River the Zuyd Rivier, or South River, and considered the lands along it banks and those of its bay to be the southern flank of its province of New Netherland. In 1638, it began to be settled by Swedes, Finns, Dutch, and Walloons and became the colony of New Sweden, though this was not officially recognized by the Dutch Empire who re-asserted control in 1655. The area was taken by the English in 1664.[9] The name Delaware comes from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, who had arrived at Jamestown, Virginia in 1610, just as original settlers were about to abandon it, and thus maintaining the English foothold on the North American continent.


Many residents commute to jobs in Philadelphia, Camden, Wilmington with the help of expressways and trains. Commutes from one suburb to another are also common, as office parks have sprung up in new commercial centers such as King of Prussia, Fort Washington, Cherry Hill, and Plymouth Meeting.

Commuter rail

Philadelphia's 30th St. Station has SEPTA Regional Rail and Amtrak service
  • SEPTA Regional Rail
    • Airport Line connecting Central Philadelphia with Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties.
    • Wilmington/Newark Line connecting the Wilmington, DE area (with limited weekday service to Newark, DE), via Chester City and Delaware County.
    • Warminster Line serving southeastern Montgomery County.
    • West Trenton Line connecting Central Philadelphia northern to the Trenton, NJ area, serving Bucks County, PA between Jenkintown, PA and Yardley, PA, with the final stop in Ewing, NJ.
    • Media/Elwyn Line connecting Philadelphia to central Delaware County.
    • Paoli/Thorndale Line connecting Philadelphia with the affluent Main Line area and western Chester County near Coatesville.
    • Lansdale/Doylestown Line connecting Philadelphia with Lansdale in central Montgomery County and Doylestown in Bucks County.
    • Manayunk/Norristown Line connecting Philadelphia with Conshohocken and Norristown in Montgomery County.
    • Cynwyd Line connecting Philadelphia with Bala Cynwyd on the Philadelphia/Montgomery County line (limited weekday service)
    • Trenton Line connecting Philadelphia to the Trenton, NJ, serving Bucks County.
    • Fox Chase Line connecting Central Philadelphia with Fox Chase area in Philadelphia.
    • Chestnut Hill East Line and Chestnut Hill West Line connecting Central Philadelphia with Chestnut Hill area of the city.
  • New Jersey Transit
    • Atlantic City Line connecting Philadelphia to Atlantic City, NJ with connections to PATCO Speedline in Lindenwold, NJ.
    • River Line connecting Camden (NJ) to Trenton (NJ) running along the east bank of the Delaware River.
  • MARC
    • Penn Line connecting Perryville, MD to Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C., and in the future will connect to SEPTA at Newark, DE.
  • PATCO Speedline connecting Philadelphia to Lindenwold, NJ in Camden County with connections to NJT's Atlantic City Line.

Major highways


New Jersey



Colleges and universities


New Jersey


Lexicon note

Some believe that the term "Delaware Valley" is not entirely a synonym for "Greater Philadelphia". "Greater Philadelphia" implies that the region is centered on the city in an economic and cultural context, while "Delaware Valley" is a more generic geographic term that does not imply that any part is of more consequence than any other. Several organizations, such as KYW Radio and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, consciously use the term "Greater Philadelphia" to assert that Philadelphia is the center of the region, referring to the less urbanized areas as "Philadelphia's countryside".[10] Others note that the customary media usage of the term omits the majority of the length of the Delaware River's valley that is not in metropolitan Philadelphia.

WPVI-TV uses the slogan, "The Delaware Valley's leading news program" for their Action News broadcast, since that program has led the ratings for news programs in the Philadelphia market for over 30 years.

The Delaware Valley is also sometimes called "the Tri-State area," referring to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

The neighboring Lehigh Valley is considered to be an outlying area of the Greater Delaware Valley region, as it is part of the same media market. If included, it would increase the size of the Delaware Valley by approximately 821,623 people.[11]

See also


External links

Coordinates: 39°52′37″N 75°19′23″W / 39.877°N 75.323°W / 39.877; -75.323

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