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Philadelphia still the 6th-biggest U.S. city, but San Antonio catching up, census data shows


PHILADELPHIA — New federal estimates show Philadelphia remains the nation’s sixth-most-populous city, despite a decline in population throughout the pandemic.

But the U.S. Census Bureau data out this week also shows San Antonio, Texas, could surpass Philadelphia in the coming years if trends continue.

The data shows that Philadelphia lost 3.3% of its population — roughly 53,000 residents — between April 2020 and July 2023, dropping the city’s overall population to about 1,550,542.

San Antonio, meanwhile, saw the largest numerical increase in its population of any city in the country in 2023, adding about 22,000 residents last year. Its population now stands at 1,495,295, according to census estimates, or about 55,000 people behind Philadelphia.

The data also shows Philadelphia is not the only major city to see its population shrink. Nearly all its peer cities in the Northeast and Midwest saw losses, too — some coming at much greater rates.

New York City saw a 6.2% decrease in population during the peak pandemic years, while population drops in Boston and Baltimore also outpaced Philly’s decline from 2020 to 2023. Some West Coast cities also shrank more than Philly, including San Francisco, which lost 7.4% of its population, and San Jose, California.

On the opposite end, five of the nation’s 10 largest cities added population, mostly in the South and Southwest.



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