DOMINIC MUNIZ, who runs the Barber Time barbershop in the lower Northeast, has seen the area flourish in diversity over the past decade.

Most of his customers live in the Oxford Circle/Castor Gardens neighborhoods and are "Asian, Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Puerto Rican, white, black," he said.

From behind the chairs in the barbershop he opened four years ago on Castor Avenue, Muniz, 24, has witnessed the neighborhood's changing landscape and demographics.

When he was a child and visited his aunt, who lived in the neighborhood of modest, brick rowhouses and twins, the population was basically white. Since then, he said, whites have "really moved out" and the area has "become more diverse."

"Maybe the older people might get intimidated," he said. "Older white people, 'cause you know, I think they get intimidated here and there, seeing black guys, Puerto Ricans."

James Ferrares, 65, who's lived in Oxford Circle for 15 years, also has seen the growing diversity.

"A lot of businesses are more minority-operated," he said of the main corridors of Castor and Bustleton avenues. "The more traditional, white-owned businesses have moved out."

Besides Muniz's barbershop, there's a minimarket in the area owned by an Iraqi immigrant and a furniture store and eateries with Chinese-language signs. Brazilian and Hispanic eateries dot the neighborhood, catering to its new residents.

The growth in the Oxford Circle/Castor Gardens neighborhood was the most of any neighborhood in the city, and the demographic changes are just as stark, according to 2010 Census data released yesterday.

The number of black residents in the neighborhood has grown from 3,855 in 2000 to 15,263 in 2010, while the number of whites has fallen nearly in half (from 32,419 to 16,178).

Meanwhile, the number of Hispanics has more than doubled (from 4,704 in 2000 to 10,317 in 2010), and the number of Asians has grown from 3,933 to 9,031.

This change in the face of a neighborhood mirrors the increased diversity in Philadelphia as a whole, as reflected in the Census data.

The number of Hispanics in the city in the last decade increased by about 44 percent, while the number of Asians grew by 42 percent.

The city had a 12 percent decrease of whites and a very small decrease in blacks. Blacks still make up the majority in the city, followed by whites.

While the Northeast has been growing, North Philly, West Philly and parts of Northwest Philly have continued to experience a decline.

"Everybody tries to get away from that environment - drug dealing, shoot-outs, stuff like that," Muniz, now married with a son, said of North Philly. "The Northeast is a little bit more calm, mellow."

Alfonso Glenn, 18, said that his family moved to Horrocks Street near Magee Avenue after his brother, Jalil Speaks, was slain in North Philly's Johnson Homes.

"My brother got killed in North Philly. That's why my mom moved out here. You ever seen 'The Wire'?" Glenn asked, referring to the TV crime show. "It's like that. It's better out here. I speak to everybody."

His cousin Budda Hart, 20, and his family moved to the same block from the same neighborhood.

"My mom ain't want me in that environment," Hart said. "It was drug-infested and there was shootings. She wanted me out of trouble."

Darren Nicholson moved his family from its home near 3rd Street and Lindley Avenue, in Olney, to a home on Hale Street near Castor Avenue.

"It was bad. They were selling drugs on the corner, drinking beer in front of the kids just out there every day," Nicholson said.

"We love this area. There's different races and different cultures," he said. "Out here, everybody looks out for each other."