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The 12 Most Liberal Cities in Pennsylvania

Most Liberal Cities in Pennsylvania

Being a realtor has allowed me to explore Pennsylvania’s political diversity, history, and culture. Today, I’m excited to share with you my journey through what I’ve found to be the 12 most liberal cities in the “Keystone State”. From the bustling streets to the tranquil towns, these places have left a lasting impression on me, not just for their political leanings but for their vibrant arts, inclusive communities, and warm embrace of diversity.

Progressive legislation, diverse elected officials, and a vibrant cultural scene show Pennsylvania’s liberal commitment. As someone who’s walked these streets, interacted with locals, and witnessed the dynamic political landscape, I’ve seen how each city’s unique character and progressive beliefs have shaped it.

The cities on this list are, for me, a true representation of Pennsylvania’s dedication to progress and inclusivity. My selection criteria go beyond mere voting trends. It’s about spots like liberal arts colleges that help young minds grow, diversity and inclusion programs that make everyone feel welcome, and a strong sense of community in every corner.

Join me as we delve into the heart of Pennsylvania’s most liberal cities through the lens of my experiences.

Read also – The 12 Most Liberal Cities in Illinois

12. Philadelphia

Philadelphia downtown
Architectural grandeur in downtown Philadelphia

Voting Trends and Policies

Traveling through Pennsylvania has always brought me back to Philadelphia, a city known for its history and liberalism. With almost 80% of the vote going to the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, it has regularly elected Democratic candidates in the past few years[1]. The city’s progressive regulations on the minimum wage and conservation efforts reflect its liberal leanings.

The city has a designated office for LGBT affairs dedicated to fostering equitable conditions and advocating for LGBTQ issues within the municipal government[2]. Everyone is welcome at this government office, which is also a symbol of hope for fair treatment and a supporter of LGBTQ rights. This inclusiveness is what makes Philadelphia special.

Culture and Community Engagement

Beyond policies and politics, Philadelphia’s culture is vibrant and inclusive. Its thriving arts and entertainment sector, which includes the yearly FringeArts festival, demonstrates the city’s acceptance of many viewpoints. The vibrant neighborhood organizations and community development businesses in the city demonstrate the robust community engagement that is a hallmark of liberal principles.

Philadelphia’s diverse demographics and youthful energy make it a melting pot of cultures and ideas. With a higher-than-average rate of same-sex relationships, the city not only talks about inclusivity but also lives it.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 34.8 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 63.7% (higher than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.6% (higher than the national average rate)[29]

11. Pittsburgh

Voting Trends and Policies

Every visit to Pittsburgh reinforces my admiration for its blend of historical legacy and forward-thinking attitudes. With 75% of people choosing the Democratic candidate for president in 2020, it has historically been a stronghold for Democratic politicians. Leaders in the city have supported progressive initiatives such as climate change prevention. What truly sets Pittsburgh apart in my eyes is not just its political leanings but also its wholehearted embrace of diversity and inclusivity, especially concerning LGBTQ+ rights[22].

Culture and Community Engagement

With organizations like the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh’s cultural community demonstrates its dedication to promoting innovation and expression[4]. Numerous neighborhood redevelopment programs also demonstrate the city’s commitment to community growth, a fundamental element of liberal ideology.

The University of Pittsburgh significantly contributes to the city’s vibrant community and cultural scene, particularly through its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Offering extensive resources for the LGBTQIA+ community, it not only supports its students but also engages with broader initiatives that reflect Pittsburgh’s progressive values[3].

For anyone looking for a community that values progress, inclusivity, and cultural richness, Pittsburgh stands out as a top place to live in Pennsylvania.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 33.0 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 37.3% (lower than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.7% (higher than the national average rate)[30]

10. Harrisburg

Voting Trends and Policies

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital, consistently ranks among the state’s most liberal cities, with a strong tradition of supporting Democratic politicians. In the 2020 election, the Democratic candidate received the support of over two-thirds of voters, underlining the city’s liberal leanings. Currently, Harrisburg is led by a Democratic mayor, further reflecting its political alignment[5].

Harrisburg’s commitment to social justice and affordable housing is not just political rhetoric but a living, breathing part of its community fabric. These initiatives reflect a city that not only embraces progressivism but actively seeks to implement it, creating a more inclusive and fair society.

Culture and Community Engagement

My visits to Harrisburg during the annual Pride Festival have been nothing short of inspirational.  This festival together with the involvement of groups like the Harrisburg Young Professionals serves as indicators of the city’s welcoming atmosphere[6]. Additionally, the wide range of colleges promotes a liberal atmosphere that values intellectual variation.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 33.5 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 73.5% (higher than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.7% (higher than the national average rate)[31]

9. Erie

Voting Trends and Policies

In my explorations of Pennsylvania, Erie has stood out as a city on the move, not just industrially but politically, too. The Democratic presidential candidate received the endorsement of the vast majority of voters in the 2020 elections[7]. What captures my attention beyond its electoral preferences is Erie’s dedication to diversity and environmental conservation. These progressive strides mark Erie as a city that’s not just growing but evolving.

Culture and Community Engagement

The annual Blues & Jazz Festival and other cultural events in Erie add to the city’s lively and welcoming vibe, which has been a highlight of my visits. This event, among others, infuses the city with a sense of vibrancy and openness, reflecting the diverse tapestry of its community. Groups like Erie County United amplify this spirit, championing civic engagement and weaving liberal values into the city’s core[8]. It’s this blend of culture and active participation that demonstrates Erie’s lively and welcoming nature.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 35.8 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 33.8% (lower than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.4% (on par with the national average rate)[32]
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8. Reading

Voting Trends and Policies

Reading has always struck me as a city where progress isn’t just a concept but a practice, especially in areas crucial for its future: public health and education[9]. As Pennsylvania’s fifth-largest city, Reading’s consistent support for Democratic politicians mirrors its community’s lean towards progressive ideals. It’s this foundation that has inspired the city’s forward-thinking approach, something I’ve admired in my visits and interactions within the community.

Culture and Community Engagement

Initiatives for community participation in Reading, such as the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts and the Reading Public Museum, encourage innovation and education in line with the liberal character of the city[10][11]. Each visit to these places reaffirms my belief in the power of culture to enact and reflect societal values, showing how deeply intertwined Reading’s cultural initiatives are with its progressive ethos.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 31.4 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 70% (higher than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.4% (on par with the national average rate)[33]

7. Bethlehem

Voting Trends and Policies

Next on the list of the most liberal cities in Pennsylvania is Bethlehem. Its liberal leanings are shown in progressive sustainability efforts and public education policy.

Bethlehem demonstrates its progressive values through the expansion of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations and the integration of electric vehicles into the city’s fleet, highlighting a dedicated effort towards environmental sustainability[13].

This forward-thinking approach not only sets Bethlehem apart but also aligns closely with my own values and the future I envision for urban communities.

Culture and Community Engagement

One of the biggest free music events in the nation, Musikfest in Bethlehem, is evidence of the city’s commitment to the arts and culture[12]. Numerous local organizations work to foster an inviting environment. The festival, along with the city’s numerous local organizations, plays a crucial role in fostering an inviting atmosphere that resonates deeply with visitors and residents alike.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 36.3 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 37.7% (lower than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.5% (higher than the national average rate)[34]

6. Lancaster

Lancaster aerial view
Expansive view of a modern industrial park in Lancaster

Voting Trends and Policies

The historic downtown area of Lancaster typically supports Democratic politicians, a trend exemplified by the election of Danene Sorace, a Democrat, as the city’s mayor[14]. Lancaster’s commitment to progressive ideals, particularly in championing LGBTQ+ rights and tackling climate change, resonates deeply with my own beliefs about the direction communities should be heading.

Culture and Community Engagement

Lancaster’s liberal energy is palpable, driven by a cultural scene that’s both vibrant and meaningful. The Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition is a force for good, enriching the city’s inclusivity through relentless advocacy for LGBTQIA+ rights and providing essential support services[15]. My interactions with the community and witnessing the coalition’s efforts firsthand have shown me the powerful impact of combining cultural engagement with social advocacy, making Lancaster a beacon of progressiveness in Pennsylvania.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 32.7 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 54.4% (higher than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.6% (higher than the national average rate)[35]

5. West Chester

Voting Trends and Policies

West Chester has a special place in the heart of Pennsylvania, not just as the home of West Chester University but as a town that embodies liberal values through its strong support for Democrats and its active dedication to diversity and sustainability. The establishment of the Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) by the Borough Council is a testament to West Chester’s serious commitment to environmental stewardship, advising on sustainability matters and championing initiatives that involve both residents and businesses[16].

Culture and Community Engagement

The town’s vibrant arts scene and community development programs reflect its dedication to liberal principles. Anchored by institutions like the Chester County Art Association (CCAA), West Chester’s arts and culture not only enrich the community but also serve as a pillar of its identity[17]. This dedication to fostering an inclusive cultural environment is something I’ve always admired on my visits, witnessing firsthand how art and community life intertwine to create a dynamic and welcoming atmosphere.

The dedication of West Chester to the arts and culture, as well as its community development programs, are reflections of its liberal principles. Its arts and culture scene is anchored by institutions like the Chester County Art Association (CCAA). 

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 26.1 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 25.3% (lower than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.5% (higher than the national average rate)[36]

4. State College

Voting Trends and Policies

State College has a Democratic incline[18]. Penn State University, located here, radiates a liberal vibe, largely due to its young and educated demographic. Several significant programs and initiatives focused on climate change and public education exist here. The Local Climate Action Program (LCAP), managed by Penn State Sustainability, partners Penn State students with local governments across Pennsylvania to develop strategies for reducing carbon emissions and adapting to climate change[19].

Witnessing the SAC’s work in promoting sustainability practices among residents and businesses alike has been inspiring. It’s clear that the community’s engagement with environmental stewardship is both a priority and a source of pride, reflecting a deep-seated belief in the importance of sustainable living.

Culture and Community Engagement

State College actively promotes a range of cultural and community initiatives, such as the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, which brings artists, performers, and visitors from across the nation, reflecting the city’s appreciation for the arts and community engagement[24].

Additionally, environmental sustainability events and educational programs at Penn State University emphasize the community’s commitment to progressive values and social responsibility. These activities not only enrich the cultural landscape but also encourage civic involvement and a shared commitment to liberal ideals.

This liberal city is one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania for families.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 21.8 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 21.2% (lower than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.2% (lower than the national average rate)[37]

3. Easton

Voting Trends and Policies

Easton showcases a political climate that leans liberal, evidenced by recent voting trends and campaign contributions[20]. This political inclination is supported by robust sustainability efforts within the city, including initiatives aimed at environmental stewardship and community engagement[21]. These endeavors underscore Easton’s commitment to liberal policies, focusing on sustainable development and enhancing the quality of life for its residents.

Culture and Community Engagement

Easton’s cultural scene and community engagement initiatives reflect a liberal ethos, emphasizing diversity, inclusivity, and environmental consciousness. Its vibrant arts, festivals, and public events foster a sense of community and celebrate the city’s rich heritage and diversity[23]. These elements combined underscore Easton’s liberal-leaning stance through active civic engagement and cultural enrichment.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 32.9 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 44.4% (higher than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.4% (on par with the national average rate)[38]

2. Scranton

Voting Trends and Policies

Scranton, a former coal mining community, favors progressive policies, especially in the context of worker rights[25]. Its deep-rooted working-class history and its contemporary alignment with Democratic values and support for labor unions and healthcare reform are indicative of the city’s liberal leanings. This reflects a community ethos that prioritizes social welfare, workers’ rights, and accessible healthcare, embodying progressive principles that are integral to its identity and political culture.

Culture and Community Engagement

Scranton’s culture and community engagement shine through its annual events like the Scranton Fringe Festival, which showcases diverse performing arts, reflecting the city’s vibrant community spirit and liberal values[26]. This festival, along with initiatives such as local farmers’ markets and environmental conservation efforts, underscores Scranton’s commitment to inclusivity, sustainability, and the promotion of local talent and businesses, illustrating a deep engagement with cultural and social progressiveness.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 38.3 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 30.5% (lower than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.4% (on par with the national average rate)[39]

1. Allentown – Most Liberal City in Pennsylvania

Allentown road view

Voting Trends and Policies

Allentown is the most liberal city in Pennsylvania. In our journey to uncover the most liberal cities across Pennsylvania, this city truly stands out as the epitome of progressivism, earning its place at the top of my list.  This city, Pennsylvania’s third-largest, not only leans Democratic but embodies the spirit of progressive policies with a focus on affordable housing and public health.

The 2021 mayoral election underscored this trend, electing the city’s first Latino mayor from the Democratic Party, showcasing a dedication to diversity and inclusion[27]. The highly competitive primaries and robust community engagement further illustrate Allentown’s commitment to liberal voting trends, emphasizing job creation and active civic participation.

Culture and Community Engagement

Allentown’s dedication to the arts and culture and active community demonstrate the city’s liberal leanings. Allentown’s 1st Annual Inlet Mural Painting Contest reflects the city’s vibrant community and cultural engagement, emphasizing its liberal values[28]. This initiative, promoting public art and community participation, showcases Allentown’s dedication to fostering creativity and inclusivity among its residents.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

  • Median Age – 34.2 (younger than the national average)
  • Ethnic Minorities – 61.7% (higher than the national average rate)
  • Same sex relationship status – 0.4% (on par with the national average rate)[40]

It was the city’s strong sense of community, vibrant culture, and unwavering commitment to progress and inclusivity that made Allentown the most liberal city in Pennsylvania. Being a realtor and observer of human stories, I’ve seen how these elements create a welcoming and dynamic environment, making Allentown not only a great place to live but also a progressive city.


As we wrap up our exploration of Pennsylvania’s most liberal cities, it’s clear that the heart of the Keystone State beats with a rhythm of progressivism, cultural diversity, and dedication to liberal values. Each city, with its unique blend of laws, community institutions, and vibrant residents, paints a picture of a state that’s not just living history but actively shaping a more inclusive and progressive future.

Through this journey, we’ve seen how these cities embody a diverse range of liberal principles, from environmental sustainability to inclusivity and beyond. It’s been my privilege to share insights into these dynamic communities, reflecting not just on their policies but on the spirit that drives them.

This overview serves as just the beginning of a deeper conversation about what makes a city truly welcoming and progressive. I invite you to continue exploring, questioning, and engaging with the communities that make Pennsylvania stand out on the map of liberal bastions.

Want to know the best places for black families to live in Maryland? Check out this article.

Reference List

1 – https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics/decision-2020/philadelphia-to-announce-final-election-vote-tally-certification-next-week/2601041/

2 – https://www.phila.gov/services/diversity-inclusion-accessibility-immigration/lgbt-community-services/

3 – https://www.diversity.pitt.edu/diverse-populations/lgbtqia-resources/community-resources

4 – https://www.warhol.org/museum/

5 – https://ballotpedia.org/Harrisburg,_Pennsylvania#Mayor

6 – https://centralpapride.org/

7 – https://www.goerie.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/20/erie-county-election-joe-biden-won-city-suburban-mail-votes/6308983002/

8 – https://www.goerie.com/story/opinion/2021/11/17/erie-county-united-fighting-new-kind-politics-pa/6376780001/

9 – https://www.readingeagle.com/2022/07/19/survey-health-care-inequalities-reading/

10 – https://goggleworks.org/about/

11 – https://www.readingpublicmuseum.org/about-us/

12 – https://www.musikfest.org/ 

13 – https://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/News/Mayor-Donchez-Announces-New-BPA-Initiatives

14 – https://www.abc27.com/election/danene-sorace-wins-lancaster-mayor/

15 – https://www.lgbtlancaster.org/

16 – https://west-chester.com/471/Sustainability-Advisory-Committee

17 – https://www.chestercountyarts.org/about-us.html

18 – https://www.bestplaces.net/voting/city/pennsylvania/state_college

19 – https://www.ems.psu.edu/sites/default/files/path/fisherposter.pdf

20 – https://www.bestplaces.net/voting/city/pennsylvania/easton

21 – https://nurturenaturecenter.org/community-in-action/spotlight-on-community-behind-the-scenes-sustainability-efforts-in-the-city-of-easton/

22 – https://pghequalitycenter.org/

23 – https://www.easton-pa.com/338/Events

24 – https://arts-festival.com/about

25 – https://www.wnep.com/article/news/local/lackawanna-county/scranton-unions-commemorate-labor-day-history-weekend-greater-central-labor-union-bill-cockerill-john-mitchell-rosemary-boland/523-584f12d7-8167-446d-a2b2-c476f3608a41

26 – https://scrantonfringe.org/

27 – https://www.mcall.com/2021/11/02/democrat-matt-tuerk-declares-victory-over-republican-tim-ramos-in-allentown-mayoral-race/

28 – https://www.allentownpa.gov/Home/News-Archive/ID/1818/Allentowns-1st-Annual-Inlet-Mural-Painting-Contest

29 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4260000

30 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4261000

31 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4232800

32 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4224000

33 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4263624

34 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4206088

35 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4241216

36 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4282704

37 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4273808

38 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4221648

39 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4269000

40 – https://data.census.gov/table/DECENNIALDP2020.DP1?q=United%20States&t=Same%20Sex%20Couples&g=160XX00US4202000

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