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(GIF) NoLibs Was One Of The Top 10 Most Populated Cities For 50 Years

Once referred to as Philadelphia’s first suburb, Northern Liberties — AKA NoLibs, BroLibs, or Northern Liberties Township, as it was called back in 1771 — was once among the top ten most populated towns in the United States of America.

Many folks are unaware that Northern Liberties was once its own city. That all changed after the Consolidation Act of 1854 when the area officially became annexed as a part of Philadelphia. The area  was booming several hundred years ago just as it is today. Substitute the leather tanneries, factories and breweries for design firms, tech companies and boutiques and it’s practically identical.

(Maybe nix the fact that Northern Liberties was also considered to have an infamous red light district.)

Vox Media made this handy graph that shows the the top 10 US cities by population and by decade. It’s pretty fascinating to watch (particularly how fast NYC grew) but here are some numbers for NoLibs:

  • For 20 years from 1790 to 1810, Northern Liberties was the 6th most populated city in the country. Its population grew from 9,913 in 1790 to 19,874 in 1810.
  • From 1810 to 1830, NoLibs fell one spot to the 7th most populated city with a population of 28,972 in 1830.
  • In 1840 — the last time NoLibs held rank in this list — the area had a population of 33, 474.

The current population of Northern Liberties is by one estimate around 9,000, the same that it was back in 1790 when it was the 6th most populated city in the nation. Using these borders, we’d put NoLibs’ current population closer to about 6,600.



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