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Erie County, Pennsylvania facts for kids

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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.
Country  United States
State  Pennsylvania
Founded November 7, 1803
Named for Erie people
Seat Erie
Largest city Erie
 • Total 1,558 sq mi (4,040 km2)
 • Land 799 sq mi (2,070 km2)
 • Water 759 sq mi (1,970 km2)  49%%
 • Total 270,876
 • Density 339.1/sq mi (130.9/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 16th

Erie County is the northernmost county in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 270,876. Its county seat is Erie. The county was created in 1800 and later organized in 1803.

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.

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.

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. 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.


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. 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.

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.

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

Adjacent counties

Major Highways

  • I-79
  • I-86 / PA 17
  • I-90
  • US 6
  • US 6N
  • US 19
  • US 20
  • PA 5
  • PA 8
  • PA 18


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%
2020 270,876 −3.5%

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

Erie-Meadville, PA CSA 2014
Map of the Erie-Meadville, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), composed of the following parts:      Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area      Meadville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Erie County as the Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census 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.

Largest Populations in Erie County

2015 rank City Type 2015 estimate 2010 Census Change Highest Population (Year)
1 Erie City 99,475 101,786 Template:Number table sorting/negative−2.27% 138,440 (1960)
2 Millcreek Township 54,003 53,515 &10000000000000000911893+0.91% 53,515 (2015)
3 Harborcreek Township 17,584 17,234 &10000000000000002030869+2.03% 17,584 (2015)


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

  • Asbury Farm Community Park
  • Glenwood Park
  • Shades Beach Park
  • Scott Park
  • Harborcreek Community Park
  • Zuck Park

Golf courses



  • The Brewerie at Union Station


More Things To Do Located At

Annual events

  • Roar on the Shore
  • Erie Microbrew Fest
  • St. Paul’s Italian Festival


Map of Erie County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels
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:




  • Amity Township
  • Concord Township
  • Conneaut Township
  • Elk Creek Township
  • Fairview Township
  • Franklin Township
  • Girard Township
  • Greene Township
  • Greenfield Township
  • Harborcreek Township
  • Lawrence Park Township
  • LeBoeuf Township
  • McKean Township
  • Millcreek Township
  • North East Township
  • Springfield Township
  • Summit Township
  • Union Township
  • Venango Township
  • Washington Township
  • Waterford Township
  • Wayne Township

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.

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


Public school districts

Map of Erie County Pennsylvania School Districts
Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania School Districts
  • Corry Area School District
  • Erie City School District
  • Fairview School District
  • Fort LeBoeuf School District
  • General McLane School District
  • Girard School District
  • Harbor Creek School District
  • Iroquois School District
  • Millcreek Township School District
  • North East School District
  • Northwestern School District
  • Union City Area School District
  • Wattsburg Area School District

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.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Erie (Pensilvania) para niños

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