PHILADELPHIA continues to grow, according to new Census Bureau figures.

The city's population rose by 9,040 from the one-year period from July 2011 through July 2012, according to estimates released yesterday. So, the most recent population estimate of 1,547,607 reflects a little more than half a percent growth over that year span.

But the even better news: Philly's population grew by almost 20,000, or 1.3 percent, over the two-year span from 2010 through 2012. It remains the nation's fifth biggest city, wedged between Houston and Phoenix.

The data reinforce a turnaround in the city's growth. Philadelphia lost population in every decennial census after 1950 until it reversed the trend in 2010. The low was 1,488,710 in 2006.

The turnaround trend isn't unique to Philadelphia. It continues a growth pattern in large urban centers. In fact, the new data show that of the 20 largest U.S. cities, only one saw a contraction – Detroit, which lost more than 4,700 people in one year.

But while Philadelphia and other East Coast cities continued to draw people, the big growth was in Texas, according to the data that reflects cities of 50,000 or more. Of the 15 fastest-growing large cities between July 2011 and July 2012, eight were in Texas.

New York continued to be the nation's most populous city by a wide margin, with 8.3 million residents in 2012, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago.