Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

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Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Parrish Hall at Swarthmore College
Parrish Hall at Swarthmore College
Location in Delaware County and the state of Pennsylvania.
Location in Delaware County and the state of Pennsylvania.
Coordinates: 39°54′06″N 75°20′49″W / 39.90167°N 75.34694°W / 39.90167; -75.34694Coordinates: 39°54′06″N 75°20′49″W / 39.90167°N 75.34694°W / 39.90167; -75.34694
CountryUnited States
 • MayorMarty Spiegel
 • Total1.40 sq mi (3.63 km2)
 • Land1.40 sq mi (3.63 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
125 ft (38 m)
 • Total6,194
 • Estimate 
 • Density4,532.86/sq mi (1,750.28/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)610 and 484
FIPS code42-045-75648
FIPS code42-75648
GNIS feature ID1189142

Swarthmore (/ˈswɔːrθmɔːr/ SWORTH-mor, locally /ˈswɑːθmɔːr/ SWAHTH-mor)[3] is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Swarthmore was originally named "Westdale" in honor of noted painter Benjamin West, who was one of the early residents of the town. The name was changed to "Swarthmore" after the establishment of Swarthmore College. The borough population was 6,194 as of the 2010 census.[4]


Presbyterian Church, designed by Will Price, about 1897

The borough was originally part of Springfield Township, and grew up around Swarthmore College, which was founded in 1864. The advent of passenger rail service from Philadelphia in the 1880s greatly enhanced the desirability of the borough as a commuter suburb, and the borough was incorporated in 1893.[citation needed]

About one third of the borough's land area consists of the Swarthmore College campus. Many of the streets in the southern half of town are named for eastern colleges, and much of the borough's housing stock dates from the Victorian period through the 1920s. The Ogden House and Benjamin West Birthplace are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]


Swarthmore is located in east-central Delaware County at 39°54′6″N 75°20′49″W / 39.90167°N 75.34694°W / 39.90167; -75.34694 (39.901788, −75.347083).[6] It is bordered to the north, east, and southwest by Springfield Township, to the southeast by Ridley Township, and to the west by Nether Providence Township. Crum Creek, a south-flowing tributary of the Delaware River, forms the western boundary of the borough.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Swarthmore borough has a total area of 1.40 square miles (3.63 km2), all of it land.[4] It has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) and average monthly temperatures range from 33.1 °F in January to 78.0 °F in July.[7] The local hardiness zone is 7a.[8]


Swarthmore is represented in the Pennsylvania General Assembly as the PA 161st Legislative District and the PA 26th Senate District. The former position is held by Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky[9][10] and the latter by former Swarthmore mayor Sen. Tim Kearney, both Democrats.[11]


Historical population

As of the 2010 census,[13] there were 6,194 people, 1,963 households, and 1,327 families residing in the borough. The population density was 4,460.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,722.2/km2). There were 2,081 housing units at an average density of 1,492.1 per square mile (576.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 82.5% White, 7.7% Asian, 5.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, .7% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.9% of the population.

There were 1,963 households, out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.3% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.4% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the borough, the population was spread out, with 20.7% under the age of 18, 15.8% from 20 to 24, 15.3% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.[16]

As of 2015, median income for a household in the borough was $101,686, and the median income for a family was $144,570.[16] Males had a median income of $71,750 versus $51,117 for females.[citation needed] The per capita income for the borough was $40,482.[citation needed] About 0.0% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line.[16]


Swarthmore lies within the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. In 1983, the district was formed via a merger with the Nether Providence School District and Swarthmore-Rutledge School District. Public school students attend Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School, housed in the old Swarthmore High School, for grades K-5, Strath Haven Middle School for grades 6–8, and Strath Haven High School for grades 9-12.

The borough's only private school is the George Crothers Memorial School, housed in the old Rutgers Avenue School. Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic School is located adjacent to the borough.

For higher education, the borough is home to Swarthmore College, an academically-acclaimed private liberal arts college.


PA 320 southbound in Swarthmore

As of 2016 there were 18.88 miles (30.38 km) of public roads in Swarthmore, of which 3.02 miles (4.86 km) were maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and 15.86 miles (25.52 km) were maintained by the borough.[17]

Pennsylvania Route 320 is the only numbered highway serving Swarthmore. It follows a north-south alignment through the center of the borough via Chester Road, Swarthmore Avenue and Cedar Lane.

Swarthmore Station, a SEPTA Regional Rail train station on the Media/Wawa Line, sits between the college and the town's center. SEPTA Route 109 bus connecting Chester with Upper Darby stops along Chester Road.

Cultural institutions[edit]

The Ogden House

Scott Arboretum is located on the campus of Swarthmore College.

The Swarthmore Public Library is at 121 Park Avenue in the center of the borough.

The Park Avenue Community Center is adjacent to Swarthmore Borough Hall and hosts a range of cultural activities, theater and music.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Kenyon, John Samuel; Knott, Thomas Albert (1949). A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam. p. 418.
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Swarthmore borough, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  7. ^ "PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State U".
  8. ^ "Interactive Map | USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map". planthardiness.ars.usda.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-01-28.
  9. ^ "Democrat Krueger-Braneky emerges victorious in 161st District". delcotimes.com. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  10. ^ "Democrat wins special election for state House seat in Delco". Philly.com. August 5, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "McGarrigle edges out Kane in 26th District". Delaware County Times. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  13. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  14. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  15. ^ "Census 2020".
  16. ^ a b c Bureau, U.S. Census. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  17. ^ "Swarthmore Borough map" (PDF). PennDOT. Retrieved March 12, 2023.
  18. ^ Donohoe, Victoria (14 March 2004). "Artist Merges Creativity With Computers". Newspapers.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. L03. Retrieved 2021-09-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]