Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Data: Philadelphia better educated, poorer than in 2000

Philadelphia has become more diverse and better educated - but poorer - than it was in 2000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released yesterday.

Philadelphia has become more diverse and better educated - but poorer - than it was in 2000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released yesterday.

The findings aren't based on data from the 2010 Census count, which attempted to tabulate everyone in the country. Instead, they're from five-year American Community Survey estimates, which the Census Bureau released for the first time yesterday.

"In some ways we're doing better, and in some ways we're challenged," said David Bartelt, professor of geography and urban studies at Temple University, adding that the statistics show "the persistent story of Philadelphia."

As for the city's racial composition, it is "right in line with what we pretty much identified as a trend," said Bartelt.

The 2005-2009 ACS data show:

* 43.5 percent of the city was white, down from 45 percent in the 2000 Census.

* 42.7 percent was black, a slight decrease from 43.2 percent.

* 11 percent was of Hispanic origin, an increase from 8.5 percent. * 5.5 percent was of Asian ancestry, up from 4.5 percent.

The 2005-2009 data show that 11 percent of the city's population was foreign born, and 20 percent of people 5 years and older spoke a language other than English at home. Of those who spoke another language, 47 percent spoke Spanish.

In comparison, 9 percent of the city was foreign born in the 2000 Census, and 18 percent of people 5 years and older spoke another language at home.

In terms of educational attainment, the 2005-2009 ACS data show that 22 percent of people 25 years and older in the city had a bachelor's degree, compared with 18 percent in the 2000 Census, and 79 percent graduated from high school, compared with 71 percent.

While things looked better on the educational front, Bartelt was a "little concerned about the income data." Median household income in the city in the 2005-2009 ACS data was $36,669 (in 2009 inflation-adjusted dollars).

The 2000 Census figure, adjusted to 2009 dollars, would be about $39,592. Thus, the buying power of Philadelphians decreased, an outcome of the recent economic recession.

"It's not surprising that median household income has fallen," said Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. "Most households have more than one person working, and some of those people have lost jobs. Even when everyone is still working, overtime hours are down, and that hits income hard because overtime work is paid a premium."

The 2005-2009 ACS data gave a total population for Philadelphia of 1,531,112. The estimate is in line with previously released data that show the city grew compared with the 2000 Census count of 1,517,550 people. The ACS data are based on samples of about 3 million addresses a year nationwide, and are a pooled, weighted average of the data.

The Census Bureau will start releasing 2010 Census data Tuesday, with national and state population totals and the congressional-apportionment totals by state. Local and more state data will be released starting in February.