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Adams County
Adams County Courthouse
Official seal of Adams County
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Adams County
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Pennsylvania
Founded January 22, 1800
Named for John Adams
Seat Gettysburg
Largest borough Gettysburg
 • Total 522 sq mi (1,350 km2)
 • Land 519 sq mi (1,340 km2)
 • Water 3.1 sq mi (8 km2)  0.6%%
 • Total 103,852
 • Density 200/sq mi (80/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 13th
Pennsylvania Historical Marker
Type: City
Designated: November 6, 1982

Adams County is a county in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 103,852. Its county seat is Gettysburg. The county was created on January 22, 1800, from part of York County, and was named for the second President of the United States, John Adams. On July 1–3, 1863, a crucial battle of the American Civil War was fought near Gettysburg; Adams County as a result is a center of Civil War tourism.

Adams County comprises the Gettysburg, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, PA Combined Statistical Area.


Gettysburg ELPMemorial
Eternal Light Peace Memorial at Gettysburg Battlefield

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 522 square miles (1,350 km2), of which 519 square miles (1,340 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) (0.6%) is water. The Borough of Gettysburg is located at the center of Adams County. This county seat community is surrounded on three sides by the Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP). The Eisenhower National Historic Site adjoins GNMP on its southwest edge. Most of Adams County's rural landscapes and its mid-19th century roadway pattern remain intact today. Thirteen historic roadways converge at or near Gettysburg Borough. Two circular rings of towns surround Gettysburg; the first ring is typically found at a distance of about 7 miles (11 km) from Gettysburg. The second ring is found at a distance of 12 to 15 miles (24 km) from the County Seat. This "spokes and wheel" pattern represents one of the few examples of Central Place Theory in the Eastern United States.

The county is in the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay and is drained by the Susquehanna River and Potomac River.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 13,172
1810 15,152 15.0%
1820 19,370 27.8%
1830 21,379 10.4%
1840 23,044 7.8%
1850 25,981 12.7%
1860 28,006 7.8%
1870 30,315 8.2%
1880 32,455 7.1%
1890 33,486 3.2%
1900 34,496 3.0%
1910 34,319 −0.5%
1920 34,583 0.8%
1930 37,128 7.4%
1940 39,435 6.2%
1950 44,197 12.1%
1960 51,906 17.4%
1970 56,937 9.7%
1980 68,292 19.9%
1990 78,274 14.6%
2000 91,292 16.6%
2010 101,407 11.1%
2020 103,852 2.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2017

As of the 2010 census, there were 101,407 people, 33,652 households, and 24,767 families in the county. The population density was 194 people per square mile (75/km2). There were 35,831 housing units at an average density of 69 per square mile (27/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.39% White, 1.21% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.71% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. 3.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 42.7% were of German, 14.1% American, 8.5% Irish and 7.1% English ancestry. 95.0% spoke English and 3.6% Spanish as their first language.

There were 33,652 households, of which 33.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.10% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.40% were non-families. 21.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.02.

The county population was spread out, with 24.90% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.80 males. Adams County is one of two counties in Pennsylvania where Latter-Day Saints make up 1% of the population.

Metropolitan and Combined Statistical Area

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Adams County as the Gettysburg, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census the metropolitan area ranked 19th most populous in the State of Pennsylvania and the 349th most populous in the United States with a population of 101,407. Adams County is also a part of the larger Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which combines the populations of Adams County as well as Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon, Perry and York Counties in Pennsylvania. The Combined Statistical Area ranked 5th in the State of Pennsylvania and 43rd most populous in the United States with a population of 1,219,422.



There are currently no scheduled commercial flights into Adams County. The nearest airports with regular commercial service are in Hagerstown, Maryland (Hagerstown Regional Airport), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Harrisburg International Airport), and Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Lancaster Airport).


Public bus service in Adams County is available through the Adams County Transit Authority.

Major Highways

  • US 15

  • US 15 Bus.
  • US 30
  • PA 16
  • PA 34
  • PA 94
  • PA 97
  • PA 116
  • PA 134
  • PA 194
  • PA 233
  • PA 234
  • PA 394


There is one Pennsylvania state park in Adams County.


Map of Adams County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Adams County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing 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 boroughs and townships are located in Adams County:



  • Berwick
  • Butler
  • Conewago
  • Cumberland
  • Franklin
  • Freedom
  • Germany
  • Hamilton
  • Hamiltonban
  • Highland
  • Huntington
  • Latimore
  • Liberty
  • Menallen
  • Mount Joy
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Oxford
  • Reading
  • Straban
  • Tyrone
  • Union

Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data, but 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 Adams County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Population (2010 Census) Municipal type Incorporated
1 Gettysburg 7,620 Borough 1806
2 Littlestown 4,434 Borough 1864
3 Carroll Valley 3,876 Borough 1974
4 McSherrystown 3,038 Borough 1882
5 Lake Meade 2,563 CDP
6 Midway 2,125 CDP
7 Bonneauville 1,800 Borough 1961
8 New Oxford 1,783 Borough 1874
9 East Berlin 1,521 Borough 1879
10 Lake Heritage 1,333 CDP
11 Biglerville 1,200 Borough 1903
12 Abbottstown 1,011 Borough 1835
13 Arendtsville 952 Borough 1896
14 York Springs 833 Borough 1868
15 Heidlersburg 707 CDP
16 Bendersville 641 Borough 1866
17 Hampton 632 CDP
18 Hunterstown 547 CDP
19 Fairfield 507 Borough 1896
20 Cashtown 459 CDP
21 Aspers 350 CDP
22 McKnightstown 226 CDP
23 Idaville 177 CDP
24 Orrtanna 173 CDP
25 Gardners 150 CDP
26 Table Rock 62 CDP
27 Floradale 38 CDP


Map of Adams County Pennsylvania School Districts
Map of Adams County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Colleges and universities

Community, junior and technical colleges

  • Harrisburg Area Community College

Public school districts

  • Bermudian Springs School District
  • Conewago Valley School District
  • Fairfield Area School District
  • Gettysburg Area School District
  • Littlestown Area School District
  • Upper Adams School District

Public charter schools

  • Gettysburg Montessori Charter School – Gettysburg (K-6)
  • Vida Charter School – Gettysburg (K-6)

County residents may apply to attend any of the Commonwealth's 14 (as of 2015) public, cyber charter schools at no additional cost to the parents.

Private schools

As reported by Pennsylvania Department of Education April 2015

  • Academy for Media Production – McSherrystown
  • Adams County Christian Academy – Gettysburg
  • Delone Catholic High School – McSherrystown
  • Forest Lane Mennonite School – Gettysburg
  • Freedom Christian School – Gettysburg
  • Gettysburg SDA Church School – Gettysburg
  • Independent Baptist Day School – Biglerville
  • JIL Christian School – Biglerville
  • Littlestown Christian Academy – Littlestown
  • Oxford Christian Academy – New Oxford
  • Paradise School – Abbottstown
  • St. Teresa of Calcutta School -McSherrystown
  • St James Child Care Center – Gettysburg
  • St Joseph Academy Preschool – McSherrystown

Intermediate Unit

Lincoln Intermediate Unit (IU#12) region includes: Adams, Franklin, and York Counties. The agency offers school districts, home schooled students and private schools many services including: Special education services, combined purchasing, and instructional technology services. It runs Summer Academy which offers both art and academic strands designed to meet the needs of gifted, talented and high achieving students. Additional services include: Curriculum Mapping, Professional Development for school employees, Adult Education, Nonpublic School Services, Business Services, Migrant & ESL (English as a Second Language), Instructional Services, Special Education, Management Services, and Technology Services. It provides a GED program for adults to earn a high school diploma, and offers literacy programs. The Lincoln Intermediate Unit is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors, each a member of a local school board from the 25 school districts. Board members are elected by school directors of all 25 school districts for three-year terms that begin July 1. There are 29 intermediate units in Pennsylvania. They are funded by school districts, state and federal program specific funding and grants; they do not have the power to tax.


  • A R Wentz Library – Gettysburg
  • Adams County Historical Society – Gettysburg
  • Adams County Library at Carroll Valley – Carroll Valley
  • Adams County Law Library – Gettysburg
  • Gettysburg Library - Gettysburg
  • Harbaugh-Thomas Library – Biglervilleh
  • Jean Barnett Trone Memorial Library of East Berlin – East Berlin
  • Littlestown Community Library – Littlestown
  • Musselman Library – Gettysburg
  • New Oxford Area Library – New Oxford

Notable people

See also

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