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Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberland County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the USA highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 21, 1772
Seat Sunbury
Largest City Sunbury
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

478 sq mi (1,238 km²)
458 sq mi (1,186 km²)
19 sq mi (49 km²), 4.0%
 - (2015)
 - Density

204/sq mi (79/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: Northumberland

Northumberland County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 94,528. Its county seat is Sunbury. The county was formed in 1772 from parts of Lancaster, Berks, Bedford, Cumberland, and Northampton Counties and named for the county of Northumberland in northern England. Northumberland County is a fifth class county according to the Pennsylvania's County Code.

Northumberland County comprises the Sunbury, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Bloomsburg-Berwick-Sunbury, PA Combined Statistical Area.

Among its famous residents, Joseph Priestley, the enlightenment chemist and theologian, left England in 1796 due to religious persecution and settled on the Susquehanna River. His former house (originally purchased by chemists from Pennsylvania State University after a colloquium that founded the American Chemical Society) is a historical museum.


By 1813 the area once comprising the sprawling county of Northumberland had been divided over time and allotted to other counties such that lands once occupied by Old Northumberland at its greatest extent are now found in Centre, Columbia, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Union, Clearfield, Clinton, Montour, Bradford, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Tioga, Potter, McKean, Warren, Venango, Snyder, and Schuylkill Counties.


Susquehanna River from the Shikellamy State Park overlook
Susquehanna River from the Shikellamy State Park overlook, looking upriver. The West Branch Susquehanna River is in the foreground.
View from the Shikellamy State Park overlook (July 2015)
View looking northeast from the Shikellamy State Park overlook

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 478 square miles (1,240 km2), of which 458 square miles (1,190 km2) is land and 19 square miles (49 km2) (4.0%) is water.

The main river in Northumberland County is the Susquehanna River and the divergence of the 977 miles (1,572 km) long river into its two branches of navigable river and former divisions of the Pennsylvania Canal System. The Susquehanna River's tributaries in the county include the West Branch Susquehanna River, Chillisquaque Creek, Shamokin Creek, and the west flowing Mahanoy Creek, whose valley is a rail and road transportation corridor to ‹See Tfd›Tamaqua and points thereafter either east, north, or south such that: east along rail or US 209 through ‹See Tfd›Nesquehoning and historic ‹See Tfd›Jim Thorpe,; else northeast via ‹See Tfd›Beaver Meadows leading north into ‹See Tfd›Hazelton and the lower Wyoming Valley, or into the central Wyoming Valley skirting along the western Poconos via ‹See Tfd›White Haven and ‹See Tfd›Mountain Top; or otherwise head south through the Schuylkill Gap into ‹See Tfd›Port Carbon and thence west to the ‹See Tfd›Lancaster County or east via the greater ‹See Tfd›Reading area into the lower Schuylkill Valley and Philadelphia. The county has mountains in the south and north, with the rest being mostly rolling hills.


Name Height
Mahanoy Mountain 433 meters
Big Mountain 402 meters

Major highways

  • I-80.svg Interstate 80
  • I-180.svg Interstate 180
  • US 11.svg U.S. Route 11
  • US 15.svg U.S. Route 15
  • PA-44.svg Pennsylvania Route 44
  • PA-54.svg Pennsylvania Route 54
  • PA-61.svg Pennsylvania Route 61
  • PA-147.svg Pennsylvania Route 147

Adjacent counties

Micropolitan Statistical Area

Map of the Bloomsburg-Berwick-Sunbury, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), composed of the following parts:      Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)      Sunbury, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA)      Lewisburg, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA)      Selinsgrove, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA)

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Northumberland County as the Sunbury, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area (µSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census the micropolitan area ranked 2nd most populous in the State of Pennsylvania and the 37th most populous in the United States with a population of 94,528. Northumberland County is also a part of the Bloomsburg-Berwick-Sunbury, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which combines the population of Northumberland County as well as the Columbia, Montour, Snyder and Union County areas. The Combined Statistical Area ranked 8th in the State of Pennsylvania and 115th most populous in the United States with a population of 264,739.


Map of Northumberland CountyPennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Northumberland 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 one case, a town. The following cities, boroughs, and townships are located in Northumberland County:




  • Coal
  • Delaware
  • East Cameron
  • East Chillisquaque
  • Jackson
  • Jordan
  • Lewis
  • Little Mahanoy
  • Lower Augusta
  • Lower Mahanoy
  • Mount Carmel
  • Point
  • Ralpho
  • Rockefeller
  • Rush
  • Shamokin
  • Turbot
  • Upper Augusta
  • Upper Mahanoy
  • Washington
  • West Cameron
  • West Chillisquaque
  • Zerbe

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 Northumberland County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Sunbury City 9,905
2 Shamokin City 7,374
3 Milton Borough 7,042
4 Mount Carmel Borough 5,893
5 Northumberland Borough 3,804
6 Kulpmont Borough 2,924
7 Edgewood CDP 2,384
8 Watsontown Borough 2,351
9 Elysburg CDP 2,194
10 Fairview-Ferndale CDP 2,139
11 Riverside Borough 1,932
12 Trevorton CDP 1,834
13 Dewart CDP 1,471
14 Marshallton CDP 1,441
15 Montandon CDP 903
16 Kapp Heights CDP 863
17 Atlas CDP 809
18 Turbotville Borough 705
19 Marion Heights Borough 611
20 Ranshaw CDP 510
21 Tharptown (Uniontown) CDP 498
22 Dalmatia CDP 488
23 Snydertown Borough 339
24 Herndon Borough 324
25 McEwensville Borough 279
26 Strong CDP 147

Natural Gas pipeline

In March 2016, Northumberland County announced a $700,000 deal with Williams Transco pipeline company. The County is granting a 9,700 foot right-of-way through its Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area recreation park. Two parcels of county owned land are impacted: one in East Cameron Township and the other in Coal Township. The one time payment for the East Cameron Township parcel will be shared: County - 33.27%, township - 42.61% and Shamokin Area School District will receive 24.12%. For the Coal Township parcel: the County receives 33.13%, Coal Township gets 27.86% and the school district receives 39.01%. of the right-of-way payment. The County will also receive the value of the timber taken when the land is stripped. The recreation area is an environmentally restored former coal mining area. The pipeline will strip all vegetation and trees from the right-of-way in the outdoor recreation area. The Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project is a 178 mile long project, crossing 10 Pennsylvania counties and impacting 30 property owners in Northumberland County.

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