Looks like we’re fighting Rocky…and he won this round. Don’t worry. The fight ain’t over! Philadelphia just surpassed Phoenix on yet another of those famous “lists.” Now, Philly is #5 and Phoenix is #6. Yo, Adrian, what’s that all about?
(Courtesy of Lynh Bui – Arizona Republic)
It was a point of pride: a phrase Phoenix politicians happily repeated and a line often tagged in city news releases.
“Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the nation.”
Well, hand the title over, Phoenix. As of Wednesday, that distinction goes back to Philly.
After nearly four years of boasting the No. 5 spot among largest cities in the country, figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week show Phoenix has again traded places with East Coast rival Philadelphia.
Phoenix’s population grew 9.4 percent in the past decade, with the numbers rising from 1.3 million in 2000 to 1.4 million in 2010, the census found.
Philadelphia, however, saw a 0.6 percent population bump, bringing its population to more than 1.5 million.
That was enough for the two to trade places on the list. Phoenix now falls to sixth-largest in the nation.
But Phoenix lost more than just a friendly rivalry with the release of the of latest census figures. City officials expect to lose millions in state and possibly federal funding that is distributed based on population. Meanwhile, Philadelphia expects to get an economic boost with news that it’s no longer a city in decline.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon often bragged that Phoenix was the fifth-largest city in the nation – a reflection of the area’s quality of life and desirability, he said.
Now, the mayor is changing his tune.
“Eventually Phoenix will surpass Houston and Philadelphia in population,” Gordon said. “But even when we do, bigger is not better.”
Gordon joked that the city will demand a recount from the U.S. Census Bureau when the mercury drops to 30 degrees in Philly and it’s a sunny 85 degrees in Phoenix.