Surprise: Philly still the 5th largest city

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After decade upon decade of population drops that began when Harry Truman was president, the number of residents in Philadelphia appears to have stabilized. (AP Photo / Tom Mihalek, File)

All together now, Philadelphians: We're No. 5!

OK, maybe it doesn't have quite the ring we'd like.

But it's still surprisingly good news: Late-breaking Census Bureau data shows that contrary to all expectations, the city of Phoenix did not pass Philadelphia in population during the last decade.

It had been widely expected, based on census samples gathered between 2000 and 2010, that Phoenix had blown by Philadelphia, and would only add to its lead when complete 2010 figures were released this week.

In 2007, headlines in both cities announced that the cities had traded places, Phoenix stepping up and Philadelphia falling back.

But the new hard data shows different:

Philadelphia, 1,526,066.

Phoenix, 1,445,632.

That despite the desert city having increased its population by an impressive 9.4 percent. The growth in Philadelphia, which halted 50 years of steady declines, was a puny 0.6 percent.

The biggest cities in 2000 were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, followed by Philadelphia and Phoenix.

 


Contact staff writer Jeff Gammage at 215-854-2415 or jgammage@phillynews.com.

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