Philly lost 50,000 residents during the pandemic. Some suburban counties saw population gains

Between 2022 and 2023, about 60% of U.S. counties saw population growth. Philadelphia was not among them.

The Philly skyline along the Schuylkill River.

Shown is the skyline in Philadelphia along the Schuylkill River, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

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Philadelphia County lost another 16,294 residents between 2022 and 2023, dropping its population to 1.55 million, recently released U.S. Census data shows.

That means Philadelphia County is the 25th largest in the nation — trailing behind more sprawling counties such as Chicago’s Cook County, Houston’s Harris County, Phoenix’s Maricopa County and San Diego County.

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In 2022, the city of Philadelphia was the 6th largest in the nation with 1.56 million people behind Phoenix, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. But city level population data has not yet been released for 2023.

It’s unclear whether Philadelphia County, which mirrors city limits, will keep that ranking. Philadelphia lost 53,251 residents between April 2020 and July 2023. That’s a 3.3% decline in three years.

Several counties nationwide that include major cities lost population during the same time frame.

Los Angeles County shrunk from 9.9 million to 9.6 million people, Chicago’s Cook County declined from 5.2 million to 5 million and San Jose’s Santa Clara County dropped from 1.9 million to 1.8 million residents.

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In Pennsylvania, the statewide population continues to decline overall to 12.9 million in 2023 down from 13 million in 2020.

Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County lost more than 25,000 people for a total of 1.2 million people in 2023.

But there were some gains in Philadelphia’s neighboring suburban counties.

Montgomery County added 12,201 residents between 2020 and 2023 to hit 868,742 residents. Chester County added 15,369 residents for a total of 549,784 people.

During that same time frame, Bucks County lost 544 residents for a total of 645,984 people, while Delaware County lost 116 people to go to 576,720 residents.

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