UCD Data Digest: Digging Into Population Numbers from the 2020 Census

A graphic depicting the logo for the UCD Data Digest
Dec 01, 2021 6 months ago

According to results from the 2020 census, the city of Philadelphia hit its highest population level since the 1980s. After a modest gain of just .6% in 2010, and 10s of thousands of losses each decade back until 1960, Philadelphia’s population grew by nearly 5% between 2010 and 2020, gaining approximately 75,000 individuals. For the first time since the 1980s, over 1.6 million people reside in the city, and a growing number of them call University City home.

 

University City Census Tracts 

2020 Population 

2010 Population 

Percentage Change 

Numeric Change 

369 

6602 

6966 

-5.23% 

-364 

92 

3974 

2884 

37.79% 

1090 

91 

3934 

2803 

40.35% 

1131 

90 

7694 

5576 

37.98% 

2118 

88.02 

6580 

6983 

-5.77% 

-403 

88.01 

1600 

988 

61.94% 

612 

87.02 

3441 

3036 

13.34% 

405 

87.01 

4347 

4147 

4.82% 

200 

86.02 

3452 

3010 

14.68% 

442 

86.01 

3212 

2947 

8.99% 

265 

79 

4722 

4553 

3.71% 

169 

78 

4358 

4177 

4.33% 

181 

77 

2302 

2380 

-3.28% 

-78 

Total 

56218 

50450 

11.43% 

5768 

 

While making up a small percentage of the land in the city, University City has long been a hub for employment and schooling. Within the boundaries of University City today there's primarily a mix of educational, commercial, and office space, but a significant number of people still live within its boundaries. In 2020, 56,218 people lived in the 13 census tracts that make up the district, up from 50,450 in 2010, an over 11% gain. 

 

Source: US Census Bureau  

 

University City’s population growth has also outpaced the growth rate in the five zip codes that make up West Philadelphia as a whole. In fact, University City’s contributed nearly 85% of the net gain in population, with 5,768 of the 6,790 new residents who have moved to West Philly since 2010.  

 

Source: US Census Bureau  

 

Overall, Philadelphia’s population growth since 2010 has been primarily concentrated in the southern half of the city, roughly below Lehigh Avenue and Temple University. Neighborhoods in North Philadelphia, Northwest Philadelphia, and the upper Riverwards saw either little change or modest declines in population, while University City, South Philly, Fishtown, South Kensington, and the greater Center City area saw the highest percentage increases.  

After decades of population loss, it’s encouraging to see a renewed desire from people to live within Philadelphia's limits. While it’s unlikely for an established city like Philadelphia to get back to the high levels of population growth it saw in the late 19th and early 20th century, the increase in population over the past decade points to a recognition of what the city has to offer residents. With an additional 1,100 units of multi-family housing and another 11.1 million square feet of development in the pipeline, the future looks bright for University City’s continued growth.

Stay tuned for the release of our State of University City 2022 publication in January of 2022 for a more thorough look at development updates, population trends, and much more.