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Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania facts for kids

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Susquehanna County
The Susquehanna County Courthouse in Montrose
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Susquehanna 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 October 13, 1812
Named for Susquehanna River
Seat Montrose
Largest borough Forest City
 • Total 832 sq mi (2,150 km2)
 • Land 823 sq mi (2,130 km2)
 • Water 8.7 sq mi (23 km2)  1.0%
 • Total 38,434
 • Density 46.195/sq mi (17.836/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 12th

Susquehanna County is a county located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 38,434 Its county seat is Montrose. The county was created on February 21, 1810, from part of Luzerne County and later organized in 1812. It is named for the Susquehanna River.


Settlement and conflict

The first settlers began to move into the area from Philadelphia and Connecticut in the mid 1700s. At the time, the area was part of Luzerne County. As more and more people from Connecticut moved in, there began to be some conflict. Under Connecticut's land grant, they owned everything from present day Connecticut to the Pacific Ocean. This meant their land grant overlapped with Pennsylvania's land grant. Soon fighting began. In the end, the Connecticut government was asked to surrender their claim on the area, which they did.


In 1810, Susquehanna County was formed out of Luzerne County and later in 1812, Montrose was made the county seat.

Civil War

Susquehanna County was one of the main stops on the Underground Railroad. Although this is not completely backed up by fact, there are many pointers saying this is true. These pointers say Montrose was the main hub. Here slaves would take refuge in the homes of citizens.

Coal and early prosperity

After the Civil War, coal started to be mined. Following this, railways and roads were built into the county allowing for more people to come. At one point the county had nearly 50,000 people. Coal became, as with neighboring counties, the back bone of the economy. This boom in coal would allow for an age of prosperity in the county.

Great Depression

When the Great Depression hit, the coal industry suffered horribly. Within months the coal industry was struggling. During World War II the coal industry picked up again, but only for a short time. Soon after the economy in the county failed. Between the 1950s and 1990s many mines were closed, railways were torn apart, and the economy took a turn for the worse. Unemployment rose and population decline increased.


Woman with display at Milk Can Corners, Hallstead, Pennsylvania, 1991
Milk Can Corners in Hallstead

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 832 square miles (2,150 km2), of which 823 square miles (2,130 km2) is land and 8.7 square miles (23 km2) (1.0%) is water.

Susquehanna County is very mountainous, with large concentrations of mountains in the east and smaller, more hill-like mountains in the west. The highest mountain in the county is North Knob just west of Union Dale. Most people live in one of the several long and mostly narrow valleys. These valleys are good farming land.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 9,960
1830 16,787 68.5%
1840 21,195 26.3%
1850 28,688 35.4%
1860 36,267 26.4%
1870 37,523 3.5%
1880 40,354 7.5%
1890 40,093 −0.6%
1900 40,043 −0.1%
1910 37,746 −5.7%
1920 34,763 −7.9%
1930 33,806 −2.8%
1940 33,893 0.3%
1950 31,970 −5.7%
1960 33,137 3.7%
1970 34,344 3.6%
1980 37,876 10.3%
1990 40,380 6.6%
2000 42,238 4.6%
2010 43,356 2.6%
2020 38,434 −11.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2017
Susquehanna Depot PA
Susquehanna Depot Main Street

As of the census of 2000, there were 42,238 people, 16,529 households, and 11,785 families residing in the county. The population density was 51 people per square mile (20/km2). There were 21,829 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile (10/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.54% White, 0.30% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. 0.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 26% were of English, 16.1% were of German, 15.1% Irish, 8.6% Italian and 7.7% Polish ancestry.

There were 16,529 households, out of which 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.70% were married couples living together, 8.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.70% were non-families. 24.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.50% under the age of 18, 6.70% from 18 to 24, 27.10% from 25 to 44, 25.20% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.80 males.


Major Highways

  • I-81
  • US 11
  • PA 29
  • PA 92
  • PA 106
  • PA 167
  • PA 171
  • PA 247
  • PA 267
  • PA 367
  • PA 370
  • PA 371
  • PA 374
  • PA 407
  • PA 492
  • PA 547
  • PA 706
  • PA 848
  • PA 858


Susquehanna County's last mainline passenger train services, through New Milford and Hallstead, ended in January 1970. Since then, freight trains (presently Norfolk Southern) use the railroad line.


Although Susquehanna County boasts several airstrips, they are strictly recreational. The closest main airports are in Binghamton, New York and Scranton, Pennsylvania.


There is one Pennsylvania state park in Susquehanna County:

Susquehanna County is located in the Endless Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Susquehanna County is rural in nature. In 2010, it ranked 54th out of 67 Pennsylvania counties for population density per square mile at 52.7 people per square mile.


Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, Municipalities
Map of Susquehanna County with municipalities labeled.

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 Susquehanna County:



  • Apolacon
  • Ararat
  • Auburn
  • Bridgewater
  • Brooklyn
  • Choconut
  • Clifford
  • Dimock
  • Forest Lake
  • Franklin
  • Gibson
  • Great Bend
  • Harford
  • Harmony
  • Herrick
  • Jackson
  • Jessup
  • Lathrop
  • Lenox
  • Liberty
  • Middletown
  • New Milford
  • Oakland
  • Rush
  • Silver Lake
  • Springville
  • Thompson

Population ranking

The population ranking of boroughs in the following table is based on the 2010 census of Susquehanna County.

county seat


The economy in the county is mainly made up of retail, health care industry, public school employment, small businesses, and government officials.

Major employers


Listed in order of number of employees at the end of 2018, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry May 2019 monthly report:

  • Montrose Area School District
  • Barnes-Kasson County Hospital
  • Pennsylvania State Government
  • Endless Mountains Health Systems
  • Susquehanna County government
  • Mountain View School District
  • Elk Lake School District
  • Gassearch Drilling Services Corp
  • Blue Ridge School District
  • Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation
  • Barnes-Kasson County Hospital
  • Montrose Area School District
  • Endless Mountains Health Systems
  • C & G Construction Inc
  • Elk Lake School District
  • Susquehanna County government
  • Mountain View School District
  • Pennsylvania State Government
  • Gassearch Drilling Services Corp
  • Blue Ridge School District
  • Montrose Area School District
  • Barnes-Kasson County Hospital
  • Gassearch Drilling Services Corp
  • Endless Mountains Health Systems
  • Elk Lake School District
  • Blue Ridge School District
  • Susquehanna County government
  • Mountain View School District
  • Elk Mountain Ski Resort INC
  • Forest City Regional School District

Natural gas

Since unconventional drilling for natural gas began in 2008, some say the economy has improved. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Susquehanna County was 6.1 percent in January 2008. It has since fluctuated between a high of 11.1 percent and a low of 3.1 percent. As of January 2018, the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent. After decades of population growth since the 1950s, the population in Susquehanna County has since begun to decline, concurrent with the expansion of natural gas drilling and accompanying infrastructure. Between 2010 and 2016, there was an estimated population decline of 5.8 percent. As of 2011, there were 1,079 active natural gas wells in the county which had collectively been issued 795 notices of violations by the Department of Environmental Protection of Pennsylvania.


Susquehanna County's natural environment, skiing, and small villages make it a growing tourist destination.


Map of Susquehanna County Pennsylvania School Districts
Map of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, school districts

Public libraries

  • Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association
  • Pratt Memorial Library
  • Forest City Library
  • Hallstead Public Library
  • Hallstead-Great Bend Library
  • Susquehanna Free Library

Public school districts

  • Blue Ridge School District (New Milford)
  • Elk Lake School District (Dimock) (also in Wyoming County)
  • Forest City Regional School District (Forest City) (also in Lackawanna and Wayne Counties)
  • Montrose Area School District (Montrose)
  • Mountain View School District (Kingsley)
  • Susquehanna Community School District (also in Wayne County)

Vocational schools

  • Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center (Dimock Township)

Intermediate unit

  • Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18

Northeast Intermediate Unit 19 (NEIU 19)

Private schools

  • Faith Mountain Christian Academy (New Milford)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Susquehanna para niños

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Forest City Borough 1,911
2 Susquehanna Depot Borough 1,643
3 Montrose Borough 1,617
4 Hallstead Borough 1,303
5 New Milford Borough 868
6 Great Bend Borough 734
7 Oakland Borough 616
8 Aravat Township 563
9 Lanesboro Borough 506
10 Hop Bottom Borough 337
11 Thompson Borough 299
12 Little Meadows Borough 273
13 Union Dale Borough 267
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