County courthouse in Ridgway
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
|Founded||18 April 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%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||36.5/sq mi (14.1/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Elk County is a county in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 31,946. Its county seat is Ridgway. The county was created on April 18, 1843, from parts of Jefferson, Clearfield and McKean Counties, and is named for the Eastern elk that historically inhabited the region.
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. 
|US Decennial Census|
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 35,112 people, 14,124 households, and 9,745 families in the county. The population density was 42/sqmi (16/km2). There were 18,115 housing units at an average density of 22/sqmi (8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.96% White, 0.15% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.31% from two or more races. 0.40% 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 age 18 and over, there were 95.30 males.
As of January 2021, there were 20,169 registered voters in Elk County.
Elk County tended to be politically competitive in statewide and national elections, but has recently become a solid Republican county like most of rural Pennsylvania. The county was carried by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The county was carried by Barack Obama in 2008 and by Mitt Romney 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.
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, 1940 when Wendell Willkie carried the county with a very slim margin of 29 votes over incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in 1968, when Hubert Humphrey won it over eventual winner Richard Nixon.
The three state row offices winners also carried Elk and Democratic incumbent State Representative Dan Surra lost after nine terms to Republican Matt Gabler in 2008.
All children living in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may also choose to attend one of 12 state-licensed public cyber charter schools.
Children in Elk County are also served by Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit Nine, in Saint Marys. The IU serves all schools (public, private, charter) in Cameron County, Elk County, McKean County and Potter County. IU9 serves 15,761 public school students in fourteen school districts and 1,673 non-public school students in nineteen schools. Intermediate Unit Nine covers 3,300 square miles with a population of 105,102.
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:
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)|