Cream cheese (also called soft cheese) is a sweet, soft, mild-tasting, white cheese, defined by the US Department of Agriculture as containing at least 33% milkfat (as marketed) with a moisture content of not more than 55%, and a pH range of 4.4 to 4.9.
Cream cheese is not naturally matured and is meant to be consumed fresh, and so it differs from other soft cheeses such as Brie and Neufchâtel. It is more comparable in taste, texture, and production methods to Boursin and Mascarpone.
There are French references to cream cheese as early as 1651. References to cream cheese in England start from at least 1754, and recipes follow soon after, particularly from Lincolnshire and the southwest of England.
According to the American food processing company Kraft Foods, the first American cream cheese was made in New York in 1872 by American dairyman William Lawrence. In 1880, ‘Philadelphia’ was adopted as the brand name, after the city that was considered at the time to be the home of top quality food.
The technique is known to have been in use in Normandy since the 1850s, producing cheeses with higher fat content than the US model, and Philadelphia cream cheese has been suggested as a substitute when petit suisse is not available.
Philadelphia is used by some as a generic term for cream cheese, and in Spanish it is translated as queso Filadelfia or “queso crema.”
Info gleaned from Wikipedia