Erie County, Pennsylvania

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Erie County, Pennsylvania
ErieCtyCourthouse EriePA.JPG
Erie County Courthouse
Flag of Erie County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Erie County
Location in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded November 7, 1803
Named for Lake Erie
Seat Erie
Largest city Erie
 • Total 1,558 sq mi (4,035 km2)
 • Land 799 sq mi (2,069 km2)
 • Water 759 sq mi (1,966 km2), 49%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 278,443
 • Density 349/sq mi (135/km²)
Congressional districts 3rd, 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Erie County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 280,566.[1] Its county seat is Erie.[2] The county was created in 1800 and later organized in 1803.[3]

Erie County comprises the Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Erie County was established on March 12, 1800 from part of Allegheny County, which absorbed the lands of the disputed Erie Triangle in 1792. Prior to 1792, the region was claimed by both New York and Pennsylvania, so no county demarcations were made until the federal government intervened.[4]

Since Erie County and its newly established neighboring counties of Crawford, Mercer, Venango, and Warren were initially unable to sustain themselves, a five-county administrative organization was established at Crawford County's Meadville to temporarily manage government affairs in the region. Erie elected its own county officials in 1803.[5]

The county was originally settled by immigrants of "Yankee" stock, (immigrants from New England and the western part of New York descended from the English Puritans whose ancestors settled New England in the colonial era). Erie County resembled upstate New York more than it did Pennsylvania with its population primarily consisting of settlers from Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine.[6] Roads were laid out, post routes established, public buildings erected and people were invited to move there. The original settlers were entirely of New England origins or were Yankees from upstate New York whose families had moved to that place from New England only one generation earlier, in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. This resulted in Erie County being culturally very contiguous with early New England culture.

Erie County was part of the Underground Railroad giving slaves the ability to gain freedom through Lake Erie into Canada, East through New York State, or to stay in Erie with the help of abolitionists and the free black community. Today, the Journey to Freedom educational program provides an interactive program on the Underground Railroad experience.[7]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,558 square miles (4,040 km2), of which 799 square miles (2,070 km2) is land and 759 square miles (1,970 km2) (49%) is water.[8] It is the largest county in Pennsylvania by total area. With the exception of a high ridge several miles from the lake, running nearly parallel with its shore, the terrain is generally rolling and well watered.[9]

There are only two cities in Erie County: the City of Erie and the City of Corry. Erie County is bordered on the northeast by Chautauqua County, New York, on the east by Warren County, on the south by Crawford County, and on the west by Ashtabula County, Ohio. Directly north of the county is Lake Erie. This position on the water makes Erie County the only county in Pennsylvania to share a border with Canada, which is located on the far shore of the lake.

It is the only county in the state that occupies a significant amount of land north of the 42nd parallel.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 1,468
1810 3,758 156.0%
1820 8,553 127.6%
1830 17,041 99.2%
1840 31,344 83.9%
1850 38,742 23.6%
1860 49,432 27.6%
1870 65,973 33.5%
1880 74,688 13.2%
1890 86,074 15.2%
1900 98,473 14.4%
1910 115,517 17.3%
1920 153,536 32.9%
1930 175,277 14.2%
1940 180,889 3.2%
1950 219,388 21.3%
1960 250,682 14.3%
1970 263,654 5.2%
1980 279,780 6.1%
1990 275,572 −1.5%
2000 280,845 1.9%
2010 280,566 −0.1%
Est. 2014 278,443 [10] −0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2013[1]

According to the 2010 United States Census, there were 280,566 people, 110,413 households, and 70,196 families residing in the county. The population density was 351.2 inhabitants per square mile (135.6/km2). There were 119,138 housing units at an average density of 149.1 per square mile (57.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.2 percent White, 7.2 percent Black or African American, 0.2 percent Native American, 1.1 percent Asian, 0.03 percent Pacific Islander, 1.2 percent from other races, and 2.1 percent from two or more races. A further 3.4 percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 24.4% were of German, 12.5% Polish, 12.3% Italian, 10.1% Irish, 6.5% English and 6.4% American ancestry according to Census 2000.

Of the total number of household, 27.2 percent had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4 percent were married couples living together, 13.2 percent had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4 percent were non-families. 29.3 percent of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3 percent had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.5 percent under the age of 20. The median age was 38.6 years. For every 100 females there were 96.73 males.

Metropolitan Statistical Area

Map of the Erie-Meadville, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), composed of the following parts:

The United States Office of Management and Budget[15] has designated Erie County as the Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census[16] the metropolitan area ranked 11th most populous in the State of Pennsylvania and the 164th most populous in the United States with a population of 280,566. Erie County is also a part of the larger Erie-Meadville, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which combines the populations of Erie County as well as Crawford County to the south. The Combined Statistical Area ranked 7th in the State of Pennsylvania and 102nd most populous in the United States with a population of 369,331.

Government and politics

The county seat of government is in Erie, Pennsylvania. The county has a home-rule charter and is run by a county executive. The current County Executive is Kathy Dahlkemper. Dahlkemper assumed the office in January 2014 after ousting incumbent Barry Grossman in the 2013 Democratic primary and defeating Republican Don Tucci in the general election. The remaining elected officials of the executive branch are the Erie County Controller, Erie County Coroner, Erie County District Attorney, Erie County Sheriff, and Erie County Clerk. see latest list

Erie County Executives
Name Party Term start Term end
Russell Robison Republican 1978 1982
Judith M. Lynch Democratic 1982 2002
Richard Schenker Republican 2002 2006
Mark A. DiVecchio Democratic 2006 2010
Barry Grossman Democratic 2010 2014
Kathleen Dahlkemper Democratic 2014 Incumbent

County Legislature

The legislature consists of a county council. The Erie County Council is made up of seven councilpersons elected to represent seven geographical districts. see map A chair and vice chair are chosen among the councilpersons to lead the council.

  • Phil Fatica, Democrat (District 1 - west city)
  • Andre Horton, Democrat (District 2 - city lakefront)
  • Fiore Leone, Democrat (Vice Chair, District 3 - south central city)
  • Jay Breneman, Democrat (District 4 - southeast city, suburbs)
  • Kyle W. Foust, Democrat (Chair, District 5 - northeast suburbs)
  • Edward T. DiMattio Jr, Republican (District 6 - southeast suburbs)
  • Carol J. Loll, Republican (District 7 - west suburbs).


The judiciary is made up of nine judges serving the Erie County Court of Common Pleas and fifteen magisterial district judges serve the district courts. Court administration is managed by a district court administrator, deputy court administrator, and assistant court administrator. The Erie County Courthouse is located near Perry Square in downtown Erie. Erie County also operates a County Prison, and a combined 911/Emergency Management Agency under the Erie County Department of Public Safety, which is located in Summit Township.

Row officers

  • Clerk of Records, Pat Fetzner, Democrat
  • Controller, Mary E. Schaaf, Republican
  • Coroner, Lyell Cook, Republican
  • District Attorney, Jack Daneri, Republican (Was appointed following the death of Brad Foulk in 2009)
  • Sheriff, John Loomis, Democrat


As of November 2008, there are 185,081 registered voters in Erie County.[17]

Erie County tends to be Democratic-leaning in statewide elections, with all four statewide winners carrying it in 2008. The margins of victory for the Democratic Presidential candidate in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections in Erie County were 9, 8, and 20 percentage points, respectively.

State Senate

State House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives


Public school districts

Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Approved private schools

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has 36 Approved Private Schools including the Charter Schools for the Blind and Deaf. Students attending these schools come from across the commonwealth. The private schools are licensed by the State Board of Private Academic Schools. They provide a free appropriate special education for students with severe disabilities. The cost of tuition for these schools is paid 60% by the state and 40% by the local school district where the student is a resident. Pennsylvania currently has four PA chartered and 30 non-charter APSs for which the Department approves funding. These schools provide a program of special education for over 4,000 day and residential students. Parents are not charged for the services at the school.[18] In 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Education budgeted $98 million for tuition of children in approved private schools and $36.8 million for students attending the charter schools for the deaf and blind.[19]


There are two Pennsylvania state parks in Erie County and both are on the shores of Lake Erie.

Other parks, preserves and natural areas

Other parks, preserves and natural areas

Golf courses




More Things To Do Located At

Annual events


Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Erie County:




Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Pennsylvania: Individual County Chronologies". Pennsylvania Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. See interactive Pennsylvania County Formation Maps
  5. History of Erie County, Pennsylvania. Chicago: Warner, Beers and Company, 1884. Volume I, Part II, Chapter I, pg 137
  6. The expansion of New England: the spread of New England settlement and institutions to the Mississippi River, 1620-1865 page 151
  7. Meyer, Melinda. “Journey to Freedom.” National Park Service. Erie County Historical Society. November 17, 2010. (December 6, 2012)
  8. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Wikisource-logo.svg [ "Erie. II. A county of Pennsylvania" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Running for Office. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  18. Approved Private Schools and Chartered Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Pennsylvania Department of Education website, accessed April 2010.
  19. Tommasini, John, Assistant Secretary of Education, Testimony before the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee Hearing on SB982 of 2010. given April 14, 2010
  20. Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Presque Isle State Park: Tranquility Found. Retrieved May 8, 2014.

External links

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