PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New census figures released today show that Philadelphia has apparently reversed more than five decades of population decline.

Census figures based on the actual 2010 count — not estimates — show Philadelphia’s population rose about half-a-percent — about 8,000 people — since 2000. The increase isn’t big, but the fact that there’s an increase and not a decline is big, and Mayor Nutter quickly called a news conference to boast about it.

“I fully recognize that some of you might say, well that’s not a whole, whole lot of people — and I get that — but it’s all in a context,” Nutter said. “This is a precursor to a great future for our city.”

Philadelphia’s population has dropped steadily since 1950, when it was two million. The new figures, showing a city population of 1.526 million people, will be used for redistricting for federal, state and city elected offices.

More importantly, they census numbers will be the basis of federal funding going forward, as well as the city’s own PR efforts.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio

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