|Coordinates: 41°25′N 78°39′W / 41.42°N 78.65°W|
|Founded||April 18, 1843|
|Named for||Eastern elk|
|Largest city||St. Marys|
|• Total||832 sq mi (2,150 km2)|
|• Land||827 sq mi (2,140 km2)|
|• Water||4.9 sq mi (13 km2) 0.6%%|
|• Density||37.5/sq mi (14.5/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Elk County is a county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 United States census, the population was 30,990. Its county seat is Ridgway. The county was created on April 18, 1843, from parts of Jefferson, Clearfield, and McKean Counties. Elk County is named for the eastern elk (Cervus canadensis) that historically inhabited the region.
The county is notable for having one of the highest concentrations of Roman Catholics in the United States, with 69% of the county's residents identifying as Catholic.
Elk County consists of low rolling hills, carved by frequent drainages and heavily wooded.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 832 square miles (2,150 km2), of which 827 square miles (2,140 km2) is land and 4.9 square miles (13 km2) (0.6%) is water. Elk has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Dfb) and average monthly temperatures in Ridgway range from 23.2 °F in January to 67.4 °F in July, while in Saint Marys they range from 22.6 °F in January to 66.8 °F in July. 
As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 30,990 people and 14,215 households. The population density was 38/sqmi (16/km2). There were 16,855 housing units at an average density of 20/sqmi (8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.9% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.4% Asian, and 1.0% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 41% were of German, 13% Italian, 9% American, 6% Irish, 4% Polish, 4% Swedish, 3% English.
There were 14,124 households, out of which 31.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.00% were married couples living together, 8.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.00% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.99.
The county population contained 24.00% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 28.60% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 17.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.00 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 95.30 males.
Elk County has one of the highest concentrations of Roman Catholics in the United States. As of 2010, nearly 70% of the county's residents identified as Catholic.
|Black or African American (NH)||155||0.5%|
|Native American (NH)||62||0.2%|
|Hispanic or Latino||279||.9%|
As of the 2021 ACS 5-Year Estimates, Elk County's largest industry and source of employment is manufacturing, with the second largest being educational services, healthcare, and social services.
As of November 4, 2022, there are 20,227 registered voters in Elk County.
Elk County was primarily settled by German Catholics and the county's politics have historically been defined by the county's Catholic heritage. Prior to 1896, the county was a Democratic stronghold, similar to most other German Catholic counties with populations opposed to the Civil War, and while Republicans won the county from 1896 to 1908, their margins were far narrower than their margins nationwide. In the 1910s, the county's predominantly German-American populace became opposed to the foreign policies of the Wilson Administration, and thus voted against Wilson in 1916, as well as giving Republicans Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge over 65% of the vote. In 1928, however, with Catholic Al Smith as the Democratic nominee, he won nearly 60% of the county's vote and received a higher percentage of the vote than FDR did in any of his four presidential runs, even though FDR won his four elections with landslide margins and Smith lost by a landslide.
Elk County tended to be politically competitive in statewide and national elections. The county has frequently voted with the eventual winner of national elections, from 1920 to 2008, except for 1928 when Al Smith carried the county with nearly 60% of the vote over winner Herbert Hoover (due to the county's Catholicism), 1940 when Wendell Willkie carried the county with a very slim margin of 29 votes over incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt (due to tensions between the Roosevelt administration and Germany), and in 1968, when Hubert Humphrey won it over eventual winner Richard Nixon. The county was carried by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and by Barack Obama in 2008
The county has recently become a solid Republican county like most of rural Pennsylvania. Mitt Romney won the county in 2012 over Obama's victorious ticket. Like most other rural counties, both in Pennsylvania and nationwide, Donald Trump strongly won the county in 2016 and 2020 — increasing his margin in the latter, making it the strongest performance by any single candidate in the county's history (although Coolidge had carried the county by a larger margin in 1924).
The Community Education Center of Elk and Cameron Counties (or CEC) provides credit, non-credit, and enrichment programs.
Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs, and townships are located in Elk County:
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.
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Elk County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|