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When referring to the language spoken by the Pennsylvania Dutch people Pennsylvania German it means "German" or "Teutonic" rather than "Netherlander".

Germans, in their own language, call themselves "Deutsch", Pennsylvania German: "Deitsch". It is closest to Palatine German. Pennsylvania German is still very vigorous as a first language among Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites principally in the Lancaster County area , whereas it is almost extinct as an everyday language outside the plain communities , though a few words have passed into English usage.

Of all the colonies, only Rhode Island had religious freedom as secure as in Pennsylvania. The chief is, to ill—treat no person on account of religion, and to consider as brethren all those who believe in one God. Pennsylvania's population in was 12,, Of these, 6,, The third-largest single denomination is the Presbyterian Church USA [ clarification needed ] with , members and 1, congregations.

Pennsylvania, especially its western part and the Pittsburgh area, has one of the highest percentages of Presbyterians in the nation. The Presbyterian Church in America is also significant, with congregations and 23, adherents; the EPC [ clarification needed ] has around 50 congregations, as well as the ECO. Pennsylvania was the center state of the German Reformed denomination from the s. Pennsylvania also has a very large Amish population, second only to Ohio among the states. The total Anabapist population including Bruderhof [] was ,, about 2 percent of the population.

As of [update] , the religious affiliations of the people of Pennsylvania are: [99]. Philadelphia in the southeast corner, 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 are urban manufacturing centers.

Much of the Commonwealth is rural; this dichotomy affects state politics as well as the state economy. Pittsburgh is home to eight Fortune companies, including U. As in the US as a whole and in most states, the largest private employer in the Commonwealth is Walmart , followed by the University of Pennsylvania. As of November , the state's unemployment rate is 4. The first nationally chartered bank in the United States, the Bank of North America , was founded in in Philadelphia.

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After a series of mergers, the Bank of North America is part of Wells Fargo , which uses national charter 1. Pennsylvania is also the home to the first nationally chartered bank under the National Banking Act. PNC is the state's largest bank and the sixth-largest in the United States. Pennsylvania ranks 19th overall in agricultural production. It also ranks 8th in the nation in Winemaking.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture worked with private companies to establish "PA Preferred" as a way to brand agricultural products grown or made in the state to support and promote Pennsylvania products and locally-grown food. Casino gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in Currently, there are nine casinos across the state with three under construction or in planning.

Only horse racing, slot machines and electronic table games were legal in Pennsylvania, although a bill to legalize table games was being negotiated in the fall of Former Governor Ed Rendell had considered legalizing video poker machines in bars and private clubs in since an estimated 17, operate illegally across the state. All machines would be connected to the state's computer system, like commercial casinos. The Pennsylvania Film Production Tax Credit began in and stimulated the development of a film industry in the state.

Pennsylvania has had five constitutions during its statehood: [] , , , , and Before that the province of Pennsylvania was governed for a century by a Frame of Government , of which there were four versions: , , , and The legislature meets in the State Capitol there. The current Governor is Tom Wolf. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor run as a ticket in the general election and are up for re-election every four years during the midterm elections. The elections for Attorney General, Auditor General, and Treasurer are held every four years coinciding with a Presidential election.

Pennsylvania has a bicameral legislature set up by Commonwealth's constitution in The original Frame of Government of William Penn had a unicameral legislature. Pennsylvania is divided into 60 judicial districts, [] most of which except Philadelphia have magisterial district judges formerly called district justices and justices of the peace , who preside mainly over preliminary hearings in felony and misdemeanor offenses, all minor summary criminal offenses, and small civil claims.

It also has original jurisdiction to review warrants for wiretap surveillance. All judges in Pennsylvania are elected; the chief justice is determined by seniority. The Pennsylvania State Police is the chief law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The most populous county in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia, while the least populous is Cameron 5, The rest of the cities, like the third and fourth-largest— Allentown , and Erie 98, —to the smallest— Parker with a population of only —are third-class cities.

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Boroughs are generally smaller than cities, with most Pennsylvania cities having been incorporated as a borough before being incorporated as a city. Townships are the third type of municipality in Pennsylvania and are classified as either first-class or second-class townships.

There is one exception to the types of municipalities in Pennsylvania: Bloomsburg was incorporated as a town in and is, officially, the only town in the state. The total of 56 cities, boroughs, 93 first-class townships, 1, second-class townships, and one town Bloomsburg is 2, municipalities.

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For most of the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st century, Pennsylvania has been a powerful swing state. It only supported the losing candidate in a presidential election twice from to Since , Pennsylvania has been trending Democratic in Presidential elections, voting for Bill Clinton twice by large margins, and slightly closer in for Al Gore.

Kerry beat President George W. Bush in Pennsylvania 2,, Most recently, in the Presidential Election , Donald Trump became the first Republican candidate to win the state since , winning the state In recent national elections since , Pennsylvania had leaned for the Democratic Party. The state voted for the Democratic ticket for president in every election between and During the election campaign, a recruitment drive saw registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 1.

However, Pennsylvania has a history of electing Republican senators. From to , the state was represented by two Democratic senators for the first time since In , Republicans recaptured a U. Senate seat as well as a majority of the state's congressional seats, control of both chambers of the state legislature and the governor's mansion. Democrats won back the governor's mansion 4 years later in the election.

It was the first time since a governor became eligible to succeed himself that an incumbent governor had been defeated for reelection. Republican strength was concentrated in the Philadelphia suburbs, as well as the more rural areas in the central, northeastern, and western portions.

The latter counties have long been among the most conservative areas in the nation. Since , however, the Philadelphia suburbs have swung Democratic; the brand of Republicanism there was traditionally a moderate one. The Pittsburgh suburbs, historically a Democratic stronghold, have swung more Republican since the turn of the millennium. Democratic political consultant James Carville once pejoratively described Pennsylvania as "Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in the middle".

Political analysts and editorials refer to central Pennsylvania as the "T" in statewide elections. As a result, maps showing the results of statewide elections invariably form a "T" shape. Pennsylvania has the 10th-highest tax burden in the United States. Many state politicians have tried to increase the share of taxes paid by out of state sources. Suggested revenue sources include taxing natural gas drilling as Pennsylvania is the only state without such a tax on gas drilling.

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An individual's taxable income is based on the following eight types of income: compensation salary ; interest; dividends; net profits from the operation of a business, profession or farm; net gains or income from the dispositions of property; net gains or income from rents, royalties, patents and copyrights; income derived through estates or trusts; and gambling and lottery winnings other than Pennsylvania Lottery winnings.

Counties, municipalities, and school districts levy taxes on real estate. In addition, some local bodies assess a wage tax on personal income. Thirty-two of the Commonwealth's sixty-seven counties levy a personal property tax on stocks, bonds, and similar holdings. With the exception of the city of Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, municipalities and school districts are allowed to enact a local earned income tax within the purview of Act Residents of these municipalities and school districts are required to file a local income tax return in addition to federal and state returns.

This local return is filed with the local income tax collector, a private collection agency e. Berkheimer , Keystone Collections , and Jordan Tax Service appointed by a particular county to collect the local earned income and local services tax the latter a flat fee deducted from salaried employees working within a particular municipality or school district.

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The City of Philadelphia has its own local income taxation system. Philadelphia-based employers are required to withhold the Philadelphia wage tax from the salaries of their employees. Residents of Philadelphia working for an employer are not required to file a local return as long as their Philadelphia wage tax is fully withheld by their employer.

If their employer does not withhold the Philadelphia wage tax, residents are required to register with the Revenue Department and file an Earnings Tax return. Residents with unearned income except for interest from checking and savings accounts are required to file and pay the School Income-tax SIT. The complexity of Pennsylvania local tax filing system has been criticized by experts, who note that the outsourcing of collections to private entities is akin to tax farming and that many new residents are caught off guard and end up facing "failure to file" penalties even if they did not have any tax due.

Attempts to transfer local income tax collections to the state level i.

Pennsylvania's two U. Senators are Bob Casey, Jr. Pennsylvania has a mixed health record, and is ranked as the 29th-overall-healthiest state according to the United Health Foundation's Health Rankings. Pennsylvania has public school districts, thousands of private schools, publicly funded colleges and universities, and over private institutions of higher education.

In general, under state law, school attendance in Pennsylvania is mandatory for a child from the age of 8 until the age of 17, or until graduation from an accredited high school, whichever is earlier. Among residents age 25 and over, The following are the four-year graduation rates for students completing high school in []. Additionally, In , Pennsylvania ranked 14th in mathematics, 12th in reading, and 10th in writing for 8th grade students.

In , the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act , which allows parents or guardians to homeschool their children as an option for compulsory school attendance. This law specifies the requirements and responsibilities of the parents and the school district where the family lives. The Commonwealth System of Higher Education is an organizing body of the 4 state-related schools in Pennsylvania; these schools Pennsylvania State University , Lincoln University , the University of Pittsburgh , and Temple University are independent institutions that receive some state funding.

There are also 15 publicly funded two-year community colleges and technical schools that are separate from the PASSHE system.


Additionally, there are many private two- and four-year technical schools , colleges, and universities. Carnegie Mellon University , The Pennsylvania State University , the University of Pennsylvania , and the University of Pittsburgh are members of the Association of American Universities , an invitation-only organization of leading research universities. Lehigh University is a private research university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, is considered the first university in the United States and established the country's first medical school. The University of Pennsylvania is also the Commonwealth's only, and geographically the most southern, Ivy League school. Pennsylvania is home to the nation's first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo.