Southwest Philadelphia can be described as extending from the western side of the Schuylkill River to the city line, with the SEPTA. The northern border is defined by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission as east from the city line along Baltimore Avenue moving south along 51st Street to Springfield Ave. It follows the train tracks until 49th Street. From 49th and Kingsessing Ave the line moves east along Kingsessing Ave. The line then moves south along 46th St to Paschall Ave where it jogs to join Grays Ferry where the line runs to the Schuylkill River.
Southwest Philadelphia is also described by the city as being the area south of Baltimore Avenue; this definition has historical merit as Baltimore Avenue between 49th and 52nd Streets was known as “The Hub of Southwest Philadelphia” at the turn of the 20th century. The Philadelphia Police Department patrols two districts located within Southwest Philadelphia. The two patrol districts serving Southwest Philadelphia are the 12th and 77th districts.
More than 80,000 people live in Southwest Philadelphia. It is approximately 60% black, 36% white, and 4% Asian.
Until the late 1960s, Southwest Philadelphia was considered an Irish-American neighborhood until Vietnamese refugees settled in the area along with African-Americans from nearby West Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s African immigrant population has been most concentrated in Southwest Philadelphia and Northeast Philadelphia starting from the beginning of the twenty-first century. The majority of the immigrants are mainly Liberian refugees of Gio, Mano, Mandinka, Bassa, Grebo, and Kru descent, along with immigrants from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Cote d’Ivoire. Southwest Philadelphia has long been called a haven for refugees.
A number of SEPTA Subway-Surface Trolley Lines traverse the area along Chester, Woodland, and Elmwood Avenues, providing easy access to Center City through the 40th Street Portal. These also extend to Darby and Yeadon.
Southwest Philly is served by 4 of the 5 Subway-Surface Lines (Trolleys) 11, 13, 34, and 36. It is also served by bus routes 12, 37, 52, 64, 108, G, and also with the Airport and Media/Elwyn Regional Rail lines.
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