Philadelphia Population 2017

Philadelphia's estimated population of 1.556 million represents a substantial increase over the 2010 census. The city's population has been growing for 7 years straight, and it's now the second-fastest growing county in the region.

This substantial population is even larger when you consider the metropolitan area. Philadelphia is the center of the Delaware Valley, which is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the United States with more than 6 million residents. The Philadelphia metropolitan division is made up of 5 counties in the state with a population of 4 million.

The consolidated city-county of Philadelphia has an area of 141.6 square miles (367 square kilometers), but the urban area is 1,799.5 square miles, while the metropolitan area has 4,629 square miles of area. The city itself has a density of 11,379.6 people per square mile (4,393.8/square kilometer).

Philadelphia Founding and Early History

The Philadelphia area was home to the Lenape (or Delaware) Indians in the Shackamaxon village before the arrival of Europeans. The first European settlements in the area were built by the Dutch, who constructed Fort Nassau in 1623 in what is now Brooklawn, New Jersey. The entire Delaware River valley area that is now part of Philadelphia was considered part of the Dutch New Netherland colony.

Dutch settlers continued to spread through the valley, and the English eventually conquered the New Netherland colony by 1664. A charter from Charles II of England was given to William Penn in 1681 for what eventually became the Pennsylvania colony. The land was purchased from the Lenape people, and Penn named the new city Philadelphia. The city grew rapidly, in part due to Penn's insistence on allowing anyone to worship freely in the community, which led to better relationships with local Indian tribes than other colonies enjoyed.

Eventually, Benjamin Franklin helped to improve the city services in the area, founding one of the first hospitals in the American colonies. From 1790 to 1800, Philadelphia served as a temporary capital for the country, and Philadelphia was left with the largest population (approximately 50,000 people) by the turn of the 19th century.

Philadelphia Demographics

According to the 2010 census, the racial composition of Philadelphia was:

  • White: 41.0% (36.9% non-Hispanic)
  • Black or African American: 43.4% (42.2% non-Hispanic)
  • Native American: 0.5%
  • Asian: 6.3%
  • Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
  • Other race: 5.9%
  • Two or more races: 2.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino of any race: 12.3%

As far as the age composition, 22.5% were under 18, 13.3% were 18-25, 28.5% were 25 to 44, 23.5% were 45 to 64 and 12.1% were 65 or older, with a median age of 33.5 years.

The largest ancestry groups in Philadelphia, according to the 2010 census, were: Irish (13.6%), Italian (9.2%), German (8.1%), Polish (4.3%) and English (2.9%).

Philadelphia is home to the second largest Italian, Irish and Jamaican-American populations in the country. It also has the 4th largest African-American population in the United States and created the first black demonination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, prior to 1800. Philadelphia has the 6th largest population of Jewish people, and the 4th largest population of Polish Americans.

As of 2008, the Philadelphia metropolitan area was home to over 500,000 immigrants, 1/5 of whom had arrived since 2000. This resulted in an increase of about 113,000 immigrants between 2000 and 2006, which is the same amount that arrived during the entire 1990's. Immigrants now account for 10.9% of Philadelphia's population, and it's believed the area will once again become a popular destination for immigrants, which was common during the mid-20th century. 
## Philadelphia Population Growth Philadelphia's population growth was stalled for some time, but this has finally reversed with positive growth for 7 consecutive years. The last time Philadelphia posted such gains was from 1930-1950, when its population peaked just over 2 million.

The new growth in the area has even prompted the City Planning Commission to release two new district plans, as the CPC found that 51% of all jobs in the city are in the greater Center City and University Center, which are leading the growth.

The bad news is Philadelphia still needs to make up the jobs for its growing population. The city's population dropped over the last 4 decades, and those who left found employment outside the city. When Philadelphia lost a fifth of its citizens, it lost 25% of its jobs. It's estimated that population growth will continue to outpace job growth.

Philadelphia has many problems that must be addressed to see greater growth, including one of the country's highest poverty rates, high crime rates, a declining real estate market and an unemployment rate above the nation's average.

It's still not known how much the city will continue its growth and if it can overcome these issues that hold back growth. Some projections place the Philadelphia population at 2.1 million by 2050, but time will tell.

Year Population Change
2015 1,567,442 2.70%
2010 1,526,006 0.60%
2000 1,517,550 -4.30%
1990 1,585,577 -6.10%
1980 1,688,210 -13.40%
1970 1,949,996 -2.60%
1960 2,002,512 -3.30%
1950 2,071,605 7.30%
1940 1,931,334 -1.00%
1930 1,950,961 7.00%
1920 1,823,779 17.70%
1910 1,549,008 19.70%
1900 1,293,697 23.60%
1890 1,046,964 23.60%
1880 847,170 25.70%
1870 674,022 19.20%
1860 565,529 365.90%
1850 121,376 29.60%
1840 93,665 16.40%
1830 80,462 26.10%
1820 63,802 18.80%
1810 53,722 30.30%
1800 41,220 44.50%
1790 28,522 0.00%

Philadelphia Population in 2017 Source: Massimo Catarinella

Philadelphia Race Data

Race Population Percentage
White 642,945 41.56%
Black or African American 665,750 43.04%
American Indian and Alaska Native 5,289 0.34%
Asian 103,400 6.68%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1,538 0.10%
Some Other Race 87,388 5.65%
Two or More Races 40,610 2.63%

Population Pyramid

Philadelphia Housing Indicators

Indicator Value
Total Housing Units 670,229
Owner-Occupied Units 305,884
Renter-Occupied Units 275,166
Median Home Value $145,300
Median Rent $922
Vacancy Rate 13.3%
Houses With Mortgage 184,093
Houses Without Mortgage 121,791
Median Number of Rooms (per House) 5.6

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Philadelphia for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 8.3% and the labor force participation rate is 59.7%.

Philadelphia Family/Household Indicators

Indicator Value
Average Household Size 2.59
Average Family Size 3.59
Married Couple Families 159,556
Male Householder (no wife) Families 31,169
Female Householder (no husband) Families 118,843
Non Family Households
Unmarried Partner Households (Opposite Sex) 6.1%
Unmarried Partner Households (Same Sex) 0.6%