Philadelphia, Allentown and Reading lead Pa. population gains

PHILADELPHIA Wed Mar 9, 2011 6:50pm EST

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PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Philadelphia, Allentown and Reading are the winners in Pennsylvania population gains, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Census Bureau.

Philadelphia's population last showed growth 60 years ago, in the 1950 census, the bureau said.

Results of the 2010 census showed Pittsburgh and Erie losing population in the decade beginning in 2000, the census data showed.

A trend toward gains in population in U.S. cities is due in part to immigration and in part to empty-nesters, or parents whose children have grown up and left home, moving back to cities, said Thomas Ginsberg, project manager for the Philadelphia Research Initiative, part of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

"Philadelphia is part of that," he said.

Allentown grew faster in the first decade of this century than any other Pennsylvania city, by 10.7 percent to 118,032 residents, according to the bureau.

Reading also was a big gainer, with 8.5 percent more people, for a total of 88,032, it said.

Philadelphia's gain was 0.6 percent to a total of 1,526,006, the bureau said.

Pittsburgh's population fell by 8.6 percent to 305,704, and Erie declined by 1.9 percent to 101,786, it said.

(Reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)

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