June 17, 2013 | Malcolm Johnstone
According to recent U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates, Chester County had a population increase of 7,697 between 2010 to 2012. It rose 1.5-percent, from 498,886 to 506,575. The county’s population actually topped the 500,000 mark in July 2011. West Chester has now grown to an all-time high population of 18,471 with increases in residential and West Chester University student populations. This bucks the trend across the state that sees local boroughs declining in population. But because people are finding housing and job opportunities in places like West Chester, the trend is for growth.
West Chester will continue to see growth over the next year or two as new residential and commercial development takes place.
“Chester County is different than the statewide trends,” said David Ward, the assistant director of the county Planning Committee, who spoke about the new census numbers recently. “We are seeing as much reinvestment in the boroughs as new development in the townships.” The growth in borough population, Ward and others said, was driven by a number of factors, including the fact that infrastructure such as roads and water and sewage systems are largely in place, and that younger residents are finding it more affordable to locate in those largely urban areas.