Introduction to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, in Delaware county, is 10 miles W of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. About 6,170 people live in Swarthmore.

Swarthmore History

The community of Swarthmore was officially founded in 1893. In the early 19th century, the area was known as "Westdale" or "West Dale" in honor of Benjamin West, America's first internationally famous artist. In 1854, a train station was constructed for the train service between Philadelphia and Media. Following the establishment of Swarthmore College in 1864, the station was renamed "Swarthmore". Eventually, the community adopted this name. Development companies began to build homes in 1886, and by 1892, Swarthmore had its own distinctive identity complete with a business district, residential area, a college, post office, and train station. On March 6, 1893, Swarthmore was incorporated as a borough. By the mid-1900s, the community had become a suburban college town.

Swarthmore and nearby Attractions

  • Independence National Historical Park
  • Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site
  • Bellevue State Park
  • American Swedish Historical Museum
  • Philadelphia Zoo
  • Adventure Aquarium

Things To Do In Swarthmore

Swarthmore is close to a number of historic sites like Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, and Fort Mifflin. Various artifacts reflecting the region's historical and cultural heritage are housed in the American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Wharton Esherick Museum. Independence National Historical Park, which encompasses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall, is a popular attraction in the area. Spread across 2,606 acres, Ridley Creek State Park offers facilities for fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking. Among the other places to visit near Swarthmore are Adventure Aquarium, Camden Children's Garden, Elmwood Park Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, and Longwood Gardens.

Swarthmore Transportation

Philadelphia International Airport is the nearest major airport.

Swarthmore Higher Education

Swarthmore is home to the Swarthmore College. Other colleges close by are Delaware County Community College, Neumann College, Pennsylvania Institute of Technology, and Widener University.


Total Population 6,195
Male Share of the Population 48.4%
Female Share of the Population 51.6%
Senior Citizens 13.6%
Employed Population 16+ 3,069
Age of the Population 32


% of people married 42.3%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 75.6%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $144,570
% Above Poverty Level 97.7%
% Below Poverty Level 2.3%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 27 minutes
% Working from Home 12.6%
% Walking and Biking to Work 15.3%
% Using Public Transportation 13.7%


People Living Alone 34.7%
Median Gross Rent $990
Median House Value $382,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 21.3%
US/American 0%
English 12.8%
Irish 16.9%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Swarthmore Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 10 miles W of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
County Delaware
Standard Zip Codes 19081
Phone Area Codes 610
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 39.901
Longitude -75.35

Swarthmore Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 6.7 miles
Jan Temp 26 to 39 F
Apr Temp 44 to 62 F
Jul Temp 70 to 86 F
Oct Temp 49 to 66 F
Annual Precip 42 inches
Distance 6.9 miles
Jan Temp 28 to 40 F
Apr Temp 46 to 63 F
Jul Temp 70 to 88 F
Oct Temp 50 to 65 F
Annual Precip 40.6 inches
Distance 14.2 miles
Jan Temp 25 to 41 F
Apr Temp 42 to 65 F
Jul Temp 67 to 87 F
Oct Temp 46 to 67 F
Annual Precip 45.9 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Swarthmore Public Libraries

Swarthmore Public Library
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
(610) 543-0436

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More Information for Librarians

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Swarthmore Colleges

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