Counting PA’s Cities

The official numbers from the decennial census will be arriving in the coming months. What does the existing estimate data show now? From the official 2000 census count through the estimated July 2009 period, the state’s population increased 2.6%.

The state’s ten largest cities exhibit various trends in population change over that same time frame. Not counting some minor changes in position of ranking, the cities that constituted the top ten in 2000 (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Scranton, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Altoona, and Harrisburg) did so in the 2009 estimates. Philadelphia, with 1.5 million residents today, is 30 times larger than the 10th largest city of Altoona, with 46k residents.

Quite a mixed bag in terms of results: Philadelphia (1.9%), Allentown (0.9%) and Bethlehem (2.8%) grew; Pittsburgh (6.9%), Scranton (6.6%), Lancaster (1.8%), Altoona (6.1%) and Harrisburg (2%) declined in population; Erie and Reading remained virtually unchanged.

The extremes overall? Tiny New Morgan Borough in Berks County (increased 225%) and Collegeville Borough in neighboring Montgomery County (down 36%).