GREAT NEWS! Philadelphia has continued to grow since the 2010 census count, according to new data being released Thursday.

The Census Bureau estimates that the city's population on July 1 was 1,536,471, an increase of 10,465 or a 0.7 percent jump from the official census count taken two years ago.

The new estimates show that the city's growth spurt from April 2010 to July 2011 was mainly due to an increase in births.

"This is very good news for the city of Philadelphia," Mayor Nutter said Wednesday by email. "It shows a continuing trend of population growth, and it's just one more sign that Philadelphia is a place where people want to live, work and raise a family."

Philadelphia had its first decennial population jump in the 2010 census - 8,456 more people compared with 2000 - since 1950, when the city had reached a peak population of 2.1 million people.

The new estimates, which took as their starting point the 2010 census, took into consideration birth and death records, and migration data based on survey results and federal tax returns.

They are the first county population estimates released by the Census Bureau since the 2010 census. Because Philadelphia is both a city and a county, the estimates apply to the city.

Philadelphia had an estimated 29,227 births and 18,023 deaths from April 1, 2010, to last July, for a net population increase of about 11,200.

Meanwhile, although the city had an estimated net increase of 6,208 people moving here from outside the United States, it had a net decrease of 6,860 people who moved out of the city to other counties or states within the U.S. That means that overall, the city had a net decrease of about 650 people, based on migration data.

Paul Levy, president and CEO of the Center City District, said young parents are choosing to stay in the city after having babies, particularly in Center City and nearby neighborhoods.

Walk around Center City, Northern Liberties, Fairmount and the area around the former Graduate Hospital, and you'll see more baby strollers than before, he said.

According to a September 2011 report published by the Center City District, 20,553 children were born between 2000 and 2010 to parents in the area bounded by Girard Avenue to the north, Tasker Street to the south, the Delaware River to the east and the Schuylkill to the west.

David Elesh, an urban sociologist at Temple University, agreed that the city's ability to keep more people under age 35 has contributed to its continued growth.

Levy noted that office jobs in Center City and health-care and education jobs in University City have helped to keep young adults here. He also attributed the city's continued growth to an increase in Latino and Asian immigrant populations. Hispanics have been able to find jobs in the restaurant, hospitality and construction industries, and Asians have continued to form businesses, he said.

Contact Julie Shaw at 215-854-2592 or shawj@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @julieshawphilly.