Philadelphia is the sixth-largest city in the country, with approximately 1.45 million people as of the 2006 census estimate. It was recently demoted from its long-standing position as fifth-largest when Phoenix surpassed it in population. Center City has the third-largest downtown residential population in the entire country. The Greater Philadelphia region is also the fourth-largest metropolitan region in the United States, following New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The region was home to 6.1 million as of 2005, and there are a total of 45.7 million people living within just 200 miles of Philadelphia—second only to New York City’s total of 48.8 million within 200 miles. Approximately one-fourth of the total U.S. population lives within a six-hour drive of Philadelphia.
As of the latest census estimate, the population is 47.4 percent white, 45.4 percent African American, 10.2 percent Hispanic and Latino, and 5.2 percent Asian. It is interesting to note that while Philadelphia has almost equal numbers of whites and African Americans, the statistic is drastically different for the state of Pennsylvania, where African Americans represent only 10.6 percent and whites 86 percent.
It is also worth noting that two of the most subjugated ethnic groups in the city during the mid-19th century, African Americans and Irish Americans, today make up the largest groups in the city. While Philadelphia has long been considered a largely “black and white” city compared with other major cities, the number of Hispanics and Asian Americans has increased over the past two decades. Philadelphia also has the second-largest Irish, Italian, and Jamaican populations in the entire United States.
The number of foreign-born residents increased by 34,000 between 1990 and 2000. Puerto Ricans constitute over 76 percent of the Latino population, although the Mexican population is growing. Asian communities have been long-established in Chinatown; parts of Northeast Philadelphia have large Korean American communities and Vietnamese Americans have a strong presence in South Philadelphia, especially near the Italian Market and Washington Avenue. Countless highly concentrated immigrant enclaves can be found throughout the city, including many Africans and West Indians in Cedar Park in West Philly, Poles in Port Richmond, and many Russians, Greeks, and Ukrainians in the Near Northeast and parts of Fairmount. Nine percent of the city’s population is foreign born.
The median household income in the city is just under $31,000, with males at a median income of around $34,000 versus $28,500 for females. Of all housing units, 590,071 (89.1 percent) were occupied and 71,887 (10.9 percent) were vacant. Out of occupied housing units, 349,633 (59.3 percent) are owned and 240,438 (40.7 percent) are rented.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition