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Philadelphia’s Still 5th Largest City In U.S., Despite Census Foreshadowing

(File photo by KYW's John Ostapkovich)

(File photo by KYW’s John Ostapkovich)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - US Census figures released this week  showing Philadelphia’s population slightly higher (see related story)  give the city some important bragging rights: we’re number five!

The Census Bureau issued reports through the 2000′s estimating that Phoenix, Ariz. had passed Philadelphia as the fifth largest city in the United States.

But the actual census count this week showed the opposite: Philadelphia with more than 1.5 million people, and Phoenix declining to 1.4 million.

Alan Greenberger, Philadelphia’s commerce director, says there’s no practical value to this but it’s nevertheless good news.

“I think it’s a great boost to us psychologically.  It says to people that we’re growing, that the 60-year decline has stopped and turned around.  And moving up the ladder just always feels good,” Greenberger told KYW Newsradio.

Greenberger says this also suggests not putting too much stock in the census estimates that are put out between the actual counts every ten years.  In Phoenix’s case, he says, there were clearly assumptions made about that city’s growth that proved to be untrue.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn.