Southeastern and south central Pa. dominate county population growth

     The U.S. Census Bureau released the 2014 County Population Estimates showing growth in the southeastern and south central regions of Pennsylvania.  (Pa. county map via United States Census Bureau)

    The U.S. Census Bureau released the 2014 County Population Estimates showing growth in the southeastern and south central regions of Pennsylvania. (Pa. county map via United States Census Bureau)

    Cumberland, Centre, Chester, Lancaster and Lehigh counties are the fastest growing counties in the state.

    Southeastern and south central Pennsylvania—specifically Cumberland, Chester, Lancaster, Lehigh, Lebanon and Montgomery counties continue to be the fastest growing regions in the state, according to a new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

    The 2014 County Population Estimates follow recent trends, said John Maurer, State Capital Office Coordinator at Pennsylvania State Data Center. Over the past two decades, Pennsylvania’s primary growth occurred in the southeast region, mostly in the counties surrounding Philadelphia.

    In the last decennial census, Philadelphia began to show population growth for the first time since the 1950 census, and continues to show growth through 2014.

    “It’s nothing new for the southeast region as a whole, but for Philadelphia to be in on the gain and post 2010—staying in that gain of population growth is something new,” Maurer said.

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    While southeastern and south central Pennsylvania continued the trend of population growth, northwestern, northeastern, far southwestern and the laurel highlands regions experienced a decline in population. Cameron and Cambria counties experienced the greatest population losses.

    Allegheny County stood out in the estimates from western Pennsylvania, experiencing a population gain — a change from the 2010 census.

    “A lot of people attribute that to Pittsburgh coming back,” Maurer said. “If you look at the estimates, Pittsburgh is showing population growth which is driving the county growth.”

    Maurer said there will be a clearer picture of population growth or decline in cities across the Commonwealth when municipal estimates are released in May.

    Overall, Pennsylvania’s total population grew by 84,325 residents — slow and steady— and on par with past decades.

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