Millennials Have Overrun Philadelphia

Philadelphia gained about 9,000 residents last year. Now, people between the ages of 20 and 34 make up the largest age group in the city.

People in Philadelphia! (Specifically, the Northern Liberties neighborhood.) Credit: Pew Charitable Trusts

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Philadelphia gained about 9,000 residents last year, according to a State of the City report released by the Pew Charitable Trusts this weekend, and the lion’s share of the growth appears to have come from people between the ages of 20 and 34.

Hopefully, readers have learned who the millennials are by now.

Seven years ago, people in this age group made up only a little more than one-fifth of the total Philadelphia population, according to Pew. Today, they account for more than a quarter. Meanwhile, the share of residents ages 35-54 dropped from nearly 28 percent to 25 percent in the same time period, while young’uns under age 20 — whom you could evidently find everywhere you looked in the mid-aughts, as they accounted for 29 percent of the city — dropped to 26 percent. The over-55 crowd is the only age group to have stayed consistent.

Last year’s demographic gains bring Philly’s recent population boom to about 59,000 total newcomers since 2006, when a decades-long decline hit its nadir of just fewer than 1.49 million people. Today, nearly 1.55 million people call the fifth-largest U.S. city home.

Accommodating these new residents was a slightly better-performing housing market, with prices up 18 percent since 2010 and the most building permits issued since 2005.

Additionally, the city added about 9,700 jobs since the recession hit in 2009, though it is still about 2,000 jobs shy of pre-recession levels, and well below its year 2000 apex. The unemployment rate, at 10.7 percent, still tops every that of any other of the 25 largest U.S. cities except Detroit. (The same could be said for the poverty rate.) The national unemployment rate is 8.1 percent.

Likewise, the median household income rose by about $1,000 between 2006 and 2011, bringing it to $34,000. Still, that leaves Philly well below other cities like Washington, Boston, Phoenix and Chicago, and slightly below Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

A few stray stats: 55 percent of adults in Philadelphia have never been married, compared to 32 percent who are married now and 10 percent who are divorced. Forty percent of the city’s 670,000 housing units were built before 1939. The average monthly rent is $853. More than one-third of Philadelphians don’t own a car.

The Pew Charitable Trusts comes out with its graphic-heavy State of the City report each year.

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Tags: philadelphiajobspovertydemographicsmillennials

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