Philadelphia’s population grew slightly in 2018 for a 12th straight year of growth, according to Census Bureau estimates to be released Thursday, a streak that follows more than 30 years of mostly unbroken population losses that started in the 1970s.
Benjamin Gruswitz, senior planner at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, attributed the upward trend to several factors. In addition to an increase in the immigrant population and births outpacing deaths, he cited “an influx of people who want to live in higher-density places with walkable neighborhoods, short commutes to work, and access to transit and other amenities.”
The city added more than 3,900 residents between 2017 and 2018, about the same as in the previous yearlong period. Philadelphia’s population — which peaked at more than 2 million in 1950 — is now 1.58 million.
Nationwide, the counties with the highest numbers of new residents are in the South and the West. Of the country’s more than 3,100 counties, 55 percent gained residents between 2017 and 2018 and 44 percent lost residents. The populations of a dozen counties did not change.