According to the 2020 census, Erie’s population slipped and is now only the fifth-largest city in Pennsylvania. The numbers show the city has decreased by more than 7,000 people compared to 10 years ago.
Meanwhile, the City of Reading moved up the ranks to be the fourth largest city in the state.
But Erie Mayor Joe Schember said his administration doesn’t agree that the population has declined in Erie. He told us it actually increased, and he believes at least 20,000 people in Erie didn’t complete the census.
The mayor said over the last five years, the city has welcomed new Americans from 100 different countries and sworn in 500 new Americans per year.
This leads him to believe there are a few barriers that led to new Americans not completing the census.
“A lot of those people maybe came from a country where they were prosecuted or had a lot of problems,” Mayor Schember said. “So they’re afraid to disclose information to the federal government.
In the City of Reading, the population increased to more than 95,000 to move up the rankings.
“We owe it to the dynamic growth of the Latino population, which has exploded,” said Abe Amoros, managing director of the City of Reading. “67 percent of the city is Latino.”
Amoros said the reason for the city’s growth has to do with the cost of living and being close to bigger cities.
“[They’re] moving from Philadelphia, from New York because of the proximity to those urban areas,” Amoros said. “We’re also finding that people like coming to Reading because it’s affordable, it’s livable and it’s a city on the rise.”
Although Reading continues to grow, the Mayor Schember believes the City of Erie has done a lot to attract new Americans and incoming residents. He said his administration is reporting to the census, hoping to change the numbers.
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