Demographics of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Demographics of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

According to indexdotcom, the population of Philadelphia was 1,580,863 in July 2017, an increase of 3.6 percent from 2010. The proportion of ethnic groups in Philadelphia’s population was in 2014 as follows: 45.3% were Caucasian (of which 9.5% Hispanic White), 44.1% African American, 0.8% Native American, 7.2% Asian, and 13.6% Hispanic. In 2010, 22.5 percent of the city’s population was underage and 12.1 percent over 65. In 2010, 50.8 percent of the population also consisted of women. Average household income was $ 37,460in the period 2010-2014.

Population origin

The “Leacht Cuimhneacháin na Gael” (i.e. Irish memorial stone), a monument to the Irish famine at Penn’s Landing

The largest ethnic group in Philadelphia with European ancestry is made up of Irish Americans. Of the total population in 2013, 14.2 percent is of Irish descent and most of them live in West Philadelphia. The Irish came to the city mainly in the 19th century. In the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, many Italians came to Philadelphia. In 1870 they numbered 516 and rose to 182,368 American Italians in 1930. In 2010, at 9.2 percent, they were the second largest ethnicity in the former capital. The German Americansfollowed them at 8.1 percent, Polish descendants counted 4.3 percent and English descendants 2.9 percent.

Between 1940 and 1980, there were a few major waves of migration that affected the city’s population composition. For example, the number of African Americans grew from 330,000 to over a million in this period. In addition, the Puerto Rican population grew from 3,000 in 1950 to 55,000 in 1980 and to more than 120,000 in 2010. This makes Philadelphia the second largest population of Puerto Ricans in the United States. These populations settled in the old neighborhoods along the river and in the working-class areas.

Sexual and Gender Identity

Street Sign in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood

In 2006, Philadelphia had 179,459 individuals who identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. At the time, the city was just in the top 10 of largest LGBT cities in the US. The number of same-sex partners this year amounted to 4,033. The number of trans people is unknown, but it is known that in 2015, 2,200 non-gender conforming patients live or work in the region. In 2013, Mayor Michael Nutter passed the local LGBT Equality Bill that, among other things, ensures that transgender people have better access to care in the city.Philadelphia also has its own gay neighborhood located near Washington Squareis located. This area is characterized by a high density of LGBT-friendly businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues. In 2007, the area was officially recognized by the city. Since 1972 an annual pride has also been organized in Philadelphia.


A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found that 68 percent of the city’s population self-identifies as Christian: 41 percent say they are Protestant and 26 percent call themselves Roman Catholic. Nearly a quarter of the population has no religious affiliation, while 8 percent adhere to another faith.Philadelphia also has a large Jewish community; in 2010 it constituted 4.6 percent of the inhabitants. The city has the largest number of synagogues per capita in the United States.


The bloodiest year in Philadelphia’s history was 1990 when there were 500 homicides in the city, an average of 32 homicides for every 100,000 residents. In 2014, the city was ranked sixth in the deadliest cities in the country.  Six years later, 499 people were murdered in the city. This was a 40 percent increase from the previous year and also slightly lower than the 1990 record. Most victims of fatal violence were young black men.

Year 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020
Number of murders 500 432 319 380 306 280 499
Murders per 100,000 32 27 22 26 19 16 22

In 2014, there were 15,925 violent crimes in the city: 248 murders, 1,207 rapes, 6,970 robberies and 7,500 aggravated assaults. Research that year found that 43 percent of Philadelphia’s population felt fairly safe in the city and 15 percent felt unsafe. Since 2006, violent crime in the city has been on a declining trend.  In 2018, Philadelphia was ranked 76th in the list of dangerous cities with more than 25,000 inhabitants in America based on the number of violent crimes per 1,000 inhabitants.

Marijuana possession was legalized by Mayor Michael Nutter in 2014. For example, it is no longer a criminal offense to possess weed, as long as it is less than 30 grams. With this legislation, Philadelphia is the largest city in the United States where it is allowed to have weed. Two years earlier, marijuana use was found in 32.9 percent of people who had tested positive for drugs, making marijuana the most frequently found drug in the tests.

Demographics of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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