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Erie County, Pennsylvania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Erie County
Erie County Courthouse
Erie County Courthouse
Flag of Erie County
Official seal of Erie County
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Erie County
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 42°06′N 80°06′W / 42.1°N 80.1°W / 42.1; -80.1
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
FoundedNovember 7, 1803
Named forErie people
Largest cityErie
 • Total1,558 sq mi (4,040 km2)
 • Land799 sq mi (2,070 km2)
 • Water759 sq mi (1,970 km2)  49%%
 • Total270,876
 • Density339.1/sq mi (130.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district16th

Erie County is the northernmost county in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 270,876.[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 and 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 first elected its own county officials in 1803.[5] Unfortunately, on March 23, 1823 the Erie County Courthouse burned and all county records to that point were destroyed.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]


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.[9] 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.[10] It is the only county in the state that occupies a significant amount of land north of the 42nd parallel.

There are two cities in Erie County: the city of Erie and the city of Corry. Other notable population centers include Millcreek, Harborcreek and Fairview townships, and the boroughs of Edinboro, North East, Girard, Waterford and Union City. 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.

The county has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Dfb). Average monthly temperatures in downtown Erie range from 26.4 °F in January to 70.8 °F in July, while in Corry they range from 23.8 °F in January to 68.2 °F in July. [1]

Adjacent counties

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.

According to the 2010 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.

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: .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area   Meadville, PA Micropolitan 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[12] has designated Erie County as the Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census[13] 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 seventh in the State of Pennsylvania and 102nd most populous in the United States with a population of 369,331.

Largest populations in Erie County

2015 rank City Type 2016 estimate 2010 Census Change Highest Population (Year)
1 Erie City 98,593 101,786 −3.14% 138,440 (1960)
2 Millcreek Township 53,773 53,515 +0.48% 54,256 (2013)
3 Harborcreek Township 17,517 17,234 +1.64% 17,629 (2014)
4 Fairview Township 10,150 10,102 +0.48% 10,217 (2013)
5 Summit Township 6,916 6,603 +4.74% 6,916 (2016)
6 Corry City 6,360 6,605 −3.71% 7,911 (1950)
7 North East Township 6,269 6,315 −0.73% 7,702 (2000)
8 Edinboro Borough 6,236 6,438 −3.14% 7,736 (1990)

Government and politics

Prior to 1960, Erie County was primarily Republican in presidential elections, only backing Democratic Party candidates in four elections from 1888 to 1956. Since 1960, it has become primarily Democratic, with only four Republican wins in the county in presidential elections from 1960 to the present.

United States presidential election results for Erie County, Pennsylvania[14][15]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 66,869 48.63% 68,286 49.66% 2,339 1.70%
2016 60,069 48.01% 58,112 46.44% 6,948 5.55%
2012 49,025 41.16% 68,036 57.12% 2,053 1.72%
2008 50,351 39.25% 75,775 59.07% 2,145 1.67%
2004 57,372 45.57% 67,921 53.95% 605 0.48%
2000 49,027 43.64% 59,399 52.88% 3,909 3.48%
1996 39,884 36.66% 57,508 52.86% 11,399 10.48%
1992 39,283 33.35% 56,381 47.86% 22,140 18.79%
1988 48,306 46.76% 53,913 52.19% 1,081 1.05%
1984 55,860 51.12% 52,471 48.02% 935 0.86%
1980 48,918 47.42% 45,946 44.54% 8,298 8.04%
1976 49,641 46.20% 55,385 51.55% 2,413 2.25%
1972 61,542 58.22% 42,022 39.75% 2,149 2.03%
1968 43,134 43.20% 51,604 51.68% 5,109 5.12%
1964 31,393 29.93% 72,944 69.55% 549 0.52%
1960 51,525 48.82% 53,723 50.90% 295 0.28%
1956 54,430 61.46% 33,802 38.17% 323 0.36%
1952 48,836 56.89% 36,619 42.66% 391 0.46%
1948 33,806 53.45% 28,159 44.52% 1,280 2.02%
1944 35,247 51.40% 32,912 47.99% 419 0.61%
1940 36,608 53.28% 31,735 46.18% 371 0.54%
1936 25,607 39.18% 33,042 50.56% 6,706 10.26%
1932 18,371 45.43% 19,592 48.44% 2,479 6.13%
1928 30,542 60.97% 19,278 38.48% 277 0.55%
1924 19,480 61.29% 3,502 11.02% 8,802 27.69%
1920 19,465 63.68% 6,311 20.65% 4,793 15.68%
1916 8,933 43.30% 9,641 46.73% 2,056 9.97%
1912 4,958 26.93% 5,633 30.60% 7,817 42.47%
1908 10,828 55.76% 6,173 31.79% 2,418 12.45%
1904 11,951 62.84% 5,119 26.92% 1,948 10.24%
1900 11,816 58.47% 7,281 36.03% 1,110 5.49%
1896 11,819 54.74% 9,210 42.65% 563 2.61%
1892 8,918 49.76% 7,589 42.34% 1,416 7.90%
1888 9,372 54.23% 7,111 41.15% 798 4.62%
1884 9,230 54.77% 6,725 39.91% 896 5.32%
1880 8,752 55.12% 6,471 40.76% 654 4.12%

The county seat of government is in Erie. The county has a home-rule charter and is run by a county executive. The current County Executive is Brenton Davis.[16] Davis assumed the office on January 3rd, 2022 following the retirement of County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper. 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 2022
Brenton Davis Republic 2022 Incumbent

Erie County Council

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.

  • Terry Scutella, Democratic, District 1-Millcreek Township Districts 2 through 10, 12 through 17, and 22 through 25
  • Andre Horton, Democratic, Chairman, District 2-Erie 1st Ward Districts 1 through 8; Erie 2nd Ward Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9; Erie 3rd Ward Districts 1, 3, 4 and 5; Erie 4th Ward Districts 1 through 9; and Lawrence Park Township Districts 1, 2, and 3
  • Mary Rennie, Democratic, District 3-Erie's 2nd Ward District 8; Erie's 3rd Ward Districts 2, 6 and 7; Erie's 5th Ward Districts 1, 2, 11 and 20; Erie's 6th Ward; and Millcreek Township Districts 11, 18, 19 and 20
  • Jim Winarski, Democratic, District 4-Erie's 2nd Ward District 5; Erie's 5th Ward Districts 3 through 10, 12 through 19, and 21; Wesleyville Borough District 2 (West District); and Millcreek Township Districts 1 and 21
  • Brian Shank, Republican, District 5-North East Borough 1st and 2nd Wards; Wesleyville Borough District 1 (East District); and Greene, Harborcreek, North East and Summit townships.
  • Sam "Charlie" Bayle, Republican, District 6-City of Corry; the boroughs of Edinboro, Elgin, Union City, Waterford and Wattsburg; and Amity, Concord, Greenfield, LeBoeuf, Union, Venango, Washington, Waterford and Wayne townships
  • Ellen Schauerman, Republican, District 7-Boroughs of Albion, Cranesville, Girard, Lake City, McKean and Platea, as well as Conneaut, Elk Creek, Fairview, Franklin, Girard, McKean and Springfield townships


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, Kenneth Gamble, Democratic (Was appointed after the retirement of Pat Fetzner in 2015[17])
  • Controller, Dr. Kyle W. Foust, Democrat
  • Coroner, Lyell Cook, Republican
  • District Attorney, Jack Daneri, Republican
  • Sheriff, John Loomis, Democratic


As of February 21, 2022, there are 176,813 registered voters in Erie County.[18]

Chart of Voter Registration

  Republican (37.96%)
  Democratic (48.09%)
  Independent (9.49%)
  Third Party (4.47%)

Unlike most of northwestern Pennsylvania, Erie County tends to lean Democratic in statewide and national elections. All four statewide winners carried the county 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.

The county is considered a bellwether polity.[19]

State Senate

State House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives

United States Senate


Public school districts

Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania School Districts
Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Approved private schools

Community College

After years of advocacy on the issue, Erie County Council approved sponsorship of an Erie County Community College on June 28, 2017. Council Chairman Jay Breneman and colleagues Andre Horton, Kathy Fatica and Fiore Leone voted in favor of sponsoring the community college, which was later signed by County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper. The County Executive's administration took the lead in presenting the proposal to the Pennsylvania State Board of Education for approval, supported by a cross-section of business, civic, labor, and community leaders.[20][21]


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


Annual events


The foremost public library in Erie is part of the Erie County library system, which consists of five branches and a bookmobile.[23] The Raymond M. Blasco, M. D. Memorial Library, named for its benefactor, opened in 1996.[24] Now called the Main Library or the Erie County Public Library, is the third-largest library in Pennsylvania.[25] It is connected to the Erie Maritime Museum, both of which are part of a bayfront improvement project that includes the Bayfront Convention Center and the Bicentennial Tower on Dobbins Landing. The Main Library is praised for its waterfront views of the Presque Isle Bay, where the historic U.S. Brig Niagara is often located. The library was moved to this location approximately 25 years ago, from its previous home in the center of downtown Erie. The library's renovation directly contributed to the revitalization of the waterfront, which was previously underdeveloped.[26]

The second floor of the Main Library is home to an art collection, containing historic pieces like Summer Afternoon, Isle of Shoals by Frederick Childe Hassam. The display also features several local artists.[26] The library works with the International Institute of Erie (IIE) to offer tours of the library, a collection of foreign-language books, and other practical information about immigration processes.[26] The library also provides a heritage room where one can conduct genealogy research concerning their ancestors who resided in Erie County or Northwest Pennsylvania.[27]

The four remaining libraries within the Erie County library system are the Edinboro Branch Library, Iroquois Avenue Branch Library, Lincoln Community Center Branch Library, and Millcreek Branch Library.[23] The other public libraries of Erie County include the Albion Area Public Library, Corry Public Library, McCord Memorial Library, Rice Avenue Public Library, Union City Public Library, and Waterford Public Library.[28]


Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).
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. There are 38 incorporated municipalities in Erie County, including 2 cities, 14 boroughs, and 22 townships. 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.

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Erie County.[13]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Erie City 101,786
2 Northwest Harborcreek CDP 8,949
3 Corry City 6,605
4 Edinboro Borough 6,438
5 North East Borough 4,294
6 Lawrence Park CDP 3,982
7 Wesleyville Borough 3,341
8 Union City Borough 3,320
9 Girard Borough 3,104
10 Lake City Borough 3,031
11 Fairview CDP 2,348
12 Penn State Erie (Behrend) CDP 1,629
13 Waterford Borough 1,517
14 Albion Borough 1,516
15 Avonia CDP 1,205
16 Cranesville Borough 638
17 Platea Borough 430
18 Mill Village Borough 412
19 Wattsburg Borough 403
20 McKean Borough 388
21 Elgin Borough 218

See also


  1. ^ "2020 Population and Housing State Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 13, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Pennsylvania: Individual County Chronologies". Pennsylvania Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Archived from the original on March 25, 2015. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  4. ^ "State and County Maps of Pennsylvania". Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  5. ^ Whitman, Benjamin; et al. (1884). "Part II, Chapter I". History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: Containing a History of the County, Its Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc. Vol. 1. Erie, Pennsylvania: Warner, Beers and Company. p. 137.
  6. ^ Whitman, Benjamin; et al. (1884). "Chapter XVII County Buildings". History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: Containing a History of the County, Its Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc. Vol. 1. Erie, Pennsylvania: Warner, Beers and Company. p. 283.
  7. ^ Rosenberry, Lois Kimball Mathews (1909). The expansion of New England: the spread of New England settlement and institutions to the Mississippi River, 1620–1865. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 151.
  8. ^ Meyer, Melinda.Journey to Freedom National Park Service. Erie County Historical Society. November 17, 2010. (December 6, 2012)
  9. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  10. ^ "Erie. II. A county of Pennsylvania" . Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
  11. ^ "Census 2020".
  12. ^ "Office of Management and Budget". February 7, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 6, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections".
  15. ^ The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 5,019 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 1,972 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 800 votes, and Socialist Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 26 votes.
  16. ^ Rao, A. J. "Davis vows to usher in 'era of change,' unity as new Erie County executive". Erie Times-News. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  17. ^ "Fetzner retires from clerk of records post". Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  18. ^ "Voter registration statistics by county". Pennsylvania Department of State.
  19. ^ David Wasserman (October 6, 2020), "The 10 Bellwether Counties That Show How Trump Is in Serious Trouble", The New York Times
  20. ^ Erie County Council approves community college sponsorship
  21. ^ Community College Proposal
  22. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Presque Isle State Park: Tranquility Found. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Facilities – Erie County Public Library".
  24. ^ "History of the Library – Erie County Public Library".
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved January 11, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ a b c "This Seaport is Now a Library, but It's Still a Portal to the World". The Atlantic. September 5, 2016.
  27. ^ "Genealogy – Heritage Room at Blasco – Erie County Public Library".
  28. ^ "Public Libraries of Erie County".

External links

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