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Philadelphia, PA BAH Rates

Discover Philadelphia BAH Rates 2023, Housing, Education, & Cost-of-Living

Find housing, employment, cost-of-living, and BAH rates for Philadelphia, PA. Listed below are BAH Rates, college and universities, cost-of-living information, school resources for children of military families, and things to see and do in the Philadelphia area.

Philadelphia is a major metropolitan area in Pennsylvania that is home to multiple military installations.

Some of the military installations in Pennsylvania include:

  • Carlisle Barracks
  • Defense Logistics Agency at Susquehanna
  • Raven Rock Mountain Complex
  • Tobyhanna Army Depot
  • USAREC, Harrisburg Battalion
  • Naval Support Activity Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA BAH Rates

Local Colleges and Universities

The Philadelphia area is home to several colleges and universities, some of which are the top in the nation. This is a partial list.

To find more Philadelphia area schools, use the free CollegeRecon School Finder tool.

Using your GI Bill

Anyone considering using the Post 9/11 GI Bill in Philadelphia should know the following:

  • You may be eligible for Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) if you are a full-time student.
  • MHA is comparable to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents.
  • MHA is calculated based on the zip code of where you physically attend most of your classes.
  • Those attending only online classes receive a set MHA of approximately $1,054 (in 2023)
  • Up to $1,000 is available each year for books and supplies.
  • The Post 9/11 GI Bill can be transferred to a spouse or dependents but you must still be on active duty to transfer.
  • The Yellow Ribbon Program offers financial support in specific situations where the GI Bill does not fully cover the cost of tuition at participating colleges

Cost of Living in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the most populated city in the state of Pennsylvania. Due to its location in southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia borders Delaware and New Jersey, Camden New Jersey and Wilmington, Delaware are included in its metro area. Its convenient location ensures that families and individuals can find an area to live in the Philadelphia metro area that has everything they need within their budget.

BestPlaces gives Philadelphia a Cost-of-Living index of 104.3, which indicates that the total cost of living 4.3 percent higher than the national average and 10.3 percent higher than the average for Pennsylvania. The housing index is slightly lower than the national average, but groceries, utilities, and transportation are all higher than the rest of the country


  • Overall – 104.6
  • Housing – 75.9
  • Groceries – 102.5
  • Transportation – 141.9
  • Utilities – 107.7

Other categories to consider

  • Healthcare
  • Childcare
  • Taxes

Philadelphia Housing

Philadelphia is filled with dynamic neighborhoods that have a lot to offer their residents. As of November of 2023, the average rent in Philadelphia is $1,887, according to RentCafe. Some of the most affordable and desirable neighborhoods in Philadelphia are located in the North-West part of the city:

  • West Germantown – $1,459
  • East Falls – $1,503
  • Roxborough – $1,845

Other affordable and desirable neighborhoods include: Manayunk, Mt. Airy, Brewerytown, Bustleton, Fox Chase, and Somerton. Philadelphia is also surrounded by suburban centers that are well connected to the city by public transportation and a robust highway system. Some of the most popular suburban areas include: Conshohocken,  Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Devon, Blue Bell, Cherry Hill, and Jenkintown.

According to Realtor.com, the average sale price of a home as of November 2023 is approximately $259,000, and the market is currently a buyer’s market, meaning that the supply of homes is greater than the demand. Note that the price of a home varies based on factors such as its location, current condition, and proximity to schools.

To learn more about VA Loan Program benefits, you can get a free eligibility assessment from our VA loan partner.

Primary Education

For families with children, choosing an area that has high quality primary schools is important as it can affect children’s educational outcomes. Even for families without children, the quality of the schools in the area can affect the value of housing prices.

The Philadelphia area is home to top rated primary schools and school districts. In Philadelphia, the location where you live can affect the quality of the public schools that are available through the School District of Philadelphia. For families that want an alternative to public schools, there is an abundance of private schools and charter schools in the area.

Top primary schools in the Philadelphia School District according to Public School Review include:

  • Julia R. Masterman Secondary School
  • Penn Alexander School
  • Joseph Greenberg School School
  • Albert M. Greenfield School
  • Chester A. Arthur School
  • Mast Community Charter School

For families living in suburban areas, some of the top school districts in the area include: Colonial School District, Lower Merion School District, Radnor School District, Wissahickon School District, and Tredyffrin-Easttown School District.

Employment Opportunities

The Philadelphia area is home to numerous company headquarters such as Comcast, Aramark, and Urban Outfitters. The area boasts access to job opportunities through a diverse set of industries that offers gainful employment for every professional background.

The top industries that employ Philadelphia area residents according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Philadelphia Works include:

  • Education and health services
  • Leisure and hospitality
  • Professional and business services
  • Information technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Finance and insurance

As of October 2023, Philadelphia has an unemployment rate of 4.3% which is slightly higher than the national average of 3.7%. Despite this, Philadelphia Works reports that Since 2010, Philadelphia has seen strong growth in its labor force and total employment.

>> To find organizations seeking to recruit and place military, veterans, and spouses, please visit CareerRecon.

Things to See and Do

Philadelphia is one of the most historic cities in the United States and features many heritage sites that tell the story of our nation’s founding. It also has a thriving arts, music, and food scene that adds to the vibrant culture of the city. Explore neighborhoods that are rich in history and the arts scene such as Old City, Society Hill, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, and Rittenhouse

About the author

Sarah Tucci

Sarah is a Philadelphia-based writer. She comes to CollegeRecon with an interdisciplinary background in international relations and cultural heritage with an interest in understanding the intersection of armed conflict and cultural heritage, particularly in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. When not writing for CollegeRecon, Sarah enjoys traveling, watching documentaries, and hanging out with her beloved Pitbull, Brutus.