Swissvale, Pennsylvania

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"Swissvale" redirects here. For the community in Colorado, see Swissvale, Colorado.
Longfellow School (1902)National Register of Historic Places
Longfellow School (1902)
National Register of Historic Places
Location in Allegheny County and the state of Pennsylvania
Location in Allegheny County and the state of Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°25′20″N 79°53′10″W / 40.42222°N 79.88611°W / 40.42222; -79.88611Coordinates: 40°25′20″N 79°53′10″W / 40.42222°N 79.88611°W / 40.42222; -79.88611
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny
 • Total 1.3 sq mi (3 km2)
 • Land 1.2 sq mi (3 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,983
 • Density 6,900/sq mi (2,700/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 15218
Website Borough of Swissvale
Neighborhood street in western Swissvale

Swissvale is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 9 miles (14 km) east of downtown Pittsburgh. Named for a farmstead owned by James Swisshelm,[1] during the industrial age it was the site of the Union Switch and Signal Company of George Westinghouse. The population was 8,983 at the 2010 census.[2] In 1940, 15,919 people lived there.


Swissvale is located at 40°25′20″N 79°53′10″W / 40.42222°N 79.88611°W / 40.42222; -79.88611 (40.422304, -79.886185).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), of which 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 4.76%, is water.

Surrounding communities[edit]

Swissvale is bordered by Edgewood to the north, Braddock Hills to the east, North Braddock to the southeast, Rankin to the south, and the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Regent Square and Swisshelm Park to the west. (The area known as Regent Square encompasses portions of Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, Edgewood, and Swissvale.) Directly across the Monongahela River to the southwest is the borough of Munhall.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 1,716
1910 7,381 330.1%
1920 10,908 47.8%
1930 16,029 46.9%
1940 15,919 −0.7%
1950 16,488 3.6%
1960 15,089 −8.5%
1970 13,819 −8.4%
1980 11,345 −17.9%
1990 10,637 −6.2%
2000 9,653 −9.3%
2010 8,983 −6.9%
Est. 2015 8,855 [4] −1.4%

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 9,653 people, 4,679 households, and 2,390 families residing in the borough. The population density was 8,052.0 people per square mile (3,105.9/km²). There were 5,097 housing units at an average density of 4,251.6 per square mile (1,640.0/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 74.45% White, 22.14% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.91% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 1.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.06% of the population.

There were 4,679 households, out of which 21.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.0% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.9% were non-families. 42.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 20.0% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 84.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.0 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $31,523, and the median income for a family was $35,929. Males had a median income of $29,333 versus $25,184 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $19,216. About 14.1% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.2% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people[edit]


Swissvale is named after the Swisshelm family. John Swisshelm (1752–1838), who owned a farm where the town is located. John Swisshelm served under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War, and camped at Valley Forge. John Swisshelm married Mary Elizabeth Miller, and they had many children. Their son, James Swisshelm, married Jane Grey Cannon, noted abolitionist and political activist. The Pittsburgh neighborhood of Swisshelm Park, adjacent to Swissvale, is named after Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm.

George Westinghouse, the President of Westinghouse Air Brake Company, formed the Union Switch & Signal company and maintained that facility in Swissvale. Vladimir K. Zworykin, a principal inventor of television, worked for Westinghouse as a fresh immigrant from Russia and lived in Swissvale with his wife and daughter.[10]


  1. ^ Porter, Thomas J. Jr. (May 10, 1984). "Town names carry a little bit of history". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File (QT-PL), Swissvale borough, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder 2. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Number and Distribution of Inhabitants:Pennsylvania-Tennessee" (PDF). Fifteenth Census. U.S. Census Bureau. 
  10. ^ Naturalization petition, Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, online at Selected U.S. Naturalization Records-Original Documents, 1790-1974,, accessed 7 Mar. 2016