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Despite the population increase, Philadelphia County experienced a net total migration loss between 2017 and 2018, according to Census Bureau estimates for 2018. Credit: Sam Holland

From 2017 to 2018, Philadelphia's population grew by 3,900, the 12th straight year of population increases in the city. But experts suggest this growth isn’t entirely positive, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported more people are moving out of Philadelphia than are coming in.

Despite the population increase, Philadelphia County experienced a net total migration loss between 2017 and 2018, according to Census Bureau estimates for 2018.

The increase in Philadelphia’s population resulted in an overall total of 1.58 million people, the Inquirer reported. The growth follows a larger 12-year pattern of growth starting in 2007. The population increase, however, resulted from the birth-rate outpacing the death-rate within the city. Overall net migration into the city declined by around 1,400 residents this year, with around 11,300 residents moving out and around 10,000 moving in. 

Benjamin Gruswitz, senior planner at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, told the Inquirer that people moving into the city are attracted to “walkable neighborhoods, short commutes to work, and access to transit.” 

Others told the Inquirer that while Philadelphia is attractive to millennials and college attendees, people looking to start families move out into the suburbs.

"The millennial generation is so large, and the story of millennials is, they like to live in highly dense areas," Brandon McKoy, director of government and public affairs for New Jersey Policy Perspective, told the Inquirer. 

Kim Goyette, chair of Temple's Sociology department, pointed to education as the cause of this disparity in migration. Philadelphia's “high-education landscape” pulls young people into the city, “but once they start families, they move out” she told the Inquirer. The public school system pushes families out of the city. 

Since 2010, Philadelphia County's population has also grown faster than each of its neighboring counties, except for Chester County, the Inquirer reported.

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