Erie County
Erie County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 42°06′N 80°06′W / 42.1°N 80.1°W / 42.1; -80.1
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
FoundedNovember 7, 1803
Named forErie people
Largest cityErie
 • Total1,558 sq mi (4,040 km2)
 • Land799 sq mi (2,070 km2)
 • Water759 sq mi (1,970 km2)  49%%
 • Total270,876
 • Density339.1/sq mi (130.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district16th

Erie County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 270,876.[1] Its county seat is Erie.[2] The county was created in 1800 and later organized in 1803.[3]

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 and so no county demarcations were made until the federal government intervened.[4]

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 first elected its own county officials in 1803.[5] Unfortunately, on March 23, 1823 the Erie County Courthouse burned and all county records to that point were destroyed.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]


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.[9] 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.[10] It is the only county in the state that occupies a significant amount of land north of the 42nd parallel.

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.

The county has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Dfb). Average monthly temperatures in downtown Erie range from 26.4 °F in January to 70.8 °F in July, while in Corry they range from 23.8 °F in January to 68.2 °F in July. [1]

Adjacent counties

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.

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

Map of the Erie-Meadville, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), composed of the following parts: .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area   Meadville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Map of the Erie-Meadville, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), composed of the following parts:

See also: List of Metropolitan Statistical Areas and List of Combined Statistical Areas

The United States Office of Management and Budget[12] has designated Erie County as the Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census[13] 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 2016 estimate 2010 Census Change Highest Population (Year)
1 Erie City 98,593 101,786 −3.14% 138,440 (1960)
2 Millcreek Township 53,773 53,515 +0.48% 54,256 (2013)
3 Harborcreek Township 17,517 17,234 +1.64% 17,629 (2014)
4 Fairview Township 10,150 10,102 +0.48% 10,217 (2013)
5 Summit Township 6,916 6,603 +4.74% 6,916 (2016)
6 Corry City 6,360 6,605 −3.71% 7,911 (1950)
7 North East Township 6,269 6,315 −0.73% 7,702 (2000)
8 Edinboro Borough 6,236 6,438 −3.14% 7,736 (1990)

Government and politics

Prior to 1960, Erie County was primarily Republican in presidential elections, only backing Democratic Party candidates in four elections from 1888 to 1956. Since 1960, it has become primarily Democratic with only four Republican wins in the county in presidential elections from 1960 to the present.

Presidential election results
Presidential election results[14]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 48.8% 66,869 49.8% 68,286 1.4% 2,339
2016 48.0% 60,069 46.4% 58,112 5.6% 6,948
2012 41.2% 49,025 57.1% 68,036 1.7% 2,053
2008 39.3% 50,351 59.1% 75,775 1.7% 2,145
2004 45.6% 57,372 54.0% 67,921 0.5% 605
2000 43.6% 49,027 52.9% 59,399 3.5% 3,909
1996 36.7% 39,884 52.9% 57,508 10.5% 11,399
1992 33.4% 39,283 47.9% 56,381 18.8% 22,140
1988 46.8% 48,306 52.2% 53,913 1.1% 1,081
1984 51.1% 55,860 48.0% 52,471 0.9% 935
1980 47.4% 48,918 44.5% 45,946 8.0% 8,298
1976 46.2% 49,641 51.6% 55,385 2.3% 2,413
1972 58.2% 61,542 39.8% 42,022 2.0% 2,149
1968 43.2% 43,134 51.7% 51,604 5.1% 5,109
1964 29.9% 31,393 69.6% 72,944 0.5% 549
1960 48.8% 51,525 50.9% 53,723 0.3% 295
1956 61.5% 54,430 38.2% 33,802 0.4% 323
1952 56.9% 48,836 42.7% 36,619 0.5% 391
1948 53.5% 33,806 44.5% 28,159 2.0% 1,280
1944 51.4% 35,247 48.0% 32,912 0.6% 419
1940 53.3% 36,608 46.2% 31,735 0.5% 371
1936 39.2% 25,607 50.6% 33,042 10.3% 6,706
1932 45.4% 18,371 48.4% 19,592 6.1% 2,479
1928 61.0% 30,542 38.5% 19,278 0.6% 277
1924 61.3% 19,480 11.0% 3,502 27.7% 8,802
1920 63.7% 19,465 20.7% 6,311 15.7% 4,793
1916 43.3% 8,933 46.7% 9,641 10.0% 2,056
1912 26.9% 4,958 30.6% 5,633 42.5% 7,817[15]
1908 55.8% 10,828 31.8% 6,173 12.5% 2,418
1904 62.8% 11,951 26.9% 5,119 10.2% 1,948
1900 58.5% 11,816 36.0% 7,281 5.5% 1,110
1896 54.7% 11,819 42.7% 9,210 2.6% 563
1892 49.8% 8,918 42.3% 7,589 7.9% 1,416
1888 54.2% 9,372 41.2% 7,111 4.6% 798
1884 54.7% 9,230 39.9% 6,725 5.3% 896
1880 55.1% 8,752 40.7% 6,471 4.1% 654

The county seat of government is in Erie, Pennsylvania. The county has a home-rule charter and is run by a county executive. The current County Executive is Kathy Dahlkemper. Dahlkemper assumed the office in January 2014 after ousting incumbent Barry Grossman in the 2013 Democratic primary and defeating Republican Don Tucci in the general election. The remaining elected officials of the executive branch are the Erie County Controller, Erie County Coroner, Erie County District Attorney, Erie County Sheriff, and Erie County Clerk. see latest list

Erie County Executives
Name Party Term start Term end
Russell Robison Republican 1978 1982
Judith M. Lynch Democratic 1982 2002
Richard Schenker Republican 2002 2006
Mark A. DiVecchio Democratic 2006 2010
Barry Grossman Democratic 2010 2014
Kathleen Dahlkemper Democratic 2014 Incumbent

Erie County Council

The legislature consists of a county council. The Erie County Council is made up of seven councilpersons elected to represent seven geographical districts. see map A chair and vice chair are chosen among the councilpersons to lead the council.


The judiciary is made up of nine judges serving the Erie County Court of Common Pleas and fifteen magisterial district judges serve the district courts. Court administration is managed by a district court administrator, deputy court administrator, and assistant court administrator. The Erie County Courthouse is located near Perry Square in downtown Erie. Erie County also operates a County Prison, and a combined 911/Emergency Management Agency under the Erie County Department of Public Safety, which is located in Summit Township.

Row officers


As of November 1, 2021, there are 177,186 registered voters in Erie County.[17]

Unlike most of northwestern Pennsylvania, Erie County tends to lean Democratic in statewide and national elections. All four statewide winners carried the county in 2008. The margins of victory for the Democratic presidential candidate in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections in Erie County were 9, 8, and 20 percentage points, respectively. In 2016, however, Republican Donald Trump continued a trend seen elsewhere in the region, turning Erie County red. He was also the first Republican presidential candidate to carry Erie County since 1984.

The county is considered a bellwether polity.[18]

State Senate

State House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives

United States Senate

Financial info


Public school districts

Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania School Districts
Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Approved private schools

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has 36 Approved Private Schools including the Charter Schools for the Blind and Deaf. Students attending these schools come from across the commonwealth. The private schools are licensed by the State Board of Private Academic Schools. They provide a free appropriate special education for students with severe disabilities. The cost of tuition for these schools is paid 60% by the state and 40% by the local school district where the student is a resident. Pennsylvania currently has four PA chartered and 30 non-charter APSs for which the Department approves funding. These schools provide a program of special education for over 4,000 day and residential students. Parents are not charged for the services at the school.[19] In 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Education budgeted $98 million for tuition of children in approved private schools and $36.8 million for students attending the charter schools for the deaf and blind.[20]

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.[21][22]


There are two Pennsylvania state parks in Erie County and both are on the shores of Lake Erie.


Annual events


The foremost public library in Erie is part of the Erie County library system, which consists of five branches and a bookmobile.[24] The Raymond M. Blasco, M. D. Memorial Library, named for its benefactor, opened in 1996.[25] Now called the Main Library or the Erie County Public Library, is the third-largest library in Pennsylvania.[26] It is connected to the Erie Maritime Museum, both of which are part of a bayfront improvement project that includes the Bayfront Convention Center and the Bicentennial Tower on Dobbins Landing. The Main Library is praised for its waterfront views of the Presque Isle Bay, where the historic U.S. Brig Niagara is often located. The library was moved to this location approximately 25 years ago, from its previous home in the center of downtown Erie. The library's renovation directly contributed to the revitalization of the waterfront, which was previously underdeveloped.[27]

The second floor of the Main Library is home to an art collection, containing historic pieces like Summer Afternoon, Isle of Shoals by Frederick Childe Hassam. The display also features several local artists.[27] The library works with the International Institute of Erie (IIE) to offer tours of the library, a collection of foreign-language books, and other practical information about immigration processes.[27] The library also provides a heritage room where one can conduct genealogy research concerning their ancestors who resided in Erie County or Northwest Pennsylvania.[28]

The four remaining libraries within the Erie County library system are the Edinboro Branch Library, Iroquois Avenue Branch Library, Lincoln Community Center Branch Library, and Millcreek Branch Library.[24] The other public libraries of Erie County include the Albion Area Public Library, Corry Public Library, McCord Memorial Library, Rice Avenue Public Library, Union City Public Library, and Waterford Public Library.[29]


Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).
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:




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.[13]

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

See also


  1. ^ "2020 Population and Housing State Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Pennsylvania: Individual County Chronologies". Pennsylvania Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Archived from the original on March 25, 2015. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  4. ^ "State and County Maps of Pennsylvania". Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  5. ^ Whitman, Benjamin; et al. (1884). "Part II, Chapter I". History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: Containing a History of the County, Its Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc. 1. Erie, Pennsylvania: Warner, Beers and Company. p. 137.
  6. ^ Whitman, Benjamin; et al. (1884). "Chapter XVII County Buildings". History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: Containing a History of the County, Its Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc. 1. Erie, Pennsylvania: Warner, Beers and Company. p. 283.
  7. ^ Rosenberry, Lois Kimball Mathews (1909). The expansion of New England: the spread of New England settlement and institutions to the Mississippi River, 1620–1865. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 151.
  8. ^ Meyer, Melinda.Journey to Freedom National Park Service. Erie County Historical Society. November 17, 2010. (December 6, 2012)
  9. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  10. ^ "Erie. II. A county of Pennsylvania" . Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
  11. ^ "Census 2020".
  12. ^ "Office of Management and Budget". February 7, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 6, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections".
  15. ^ The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 5,019 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 1,972 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 800 votes, and Socialist Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 26 votes.
  16. ^ "Fetzner retires from clerk of records post". Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  17. ^ "Voter registration statistics by county". Pennsylvania Department of State.
  18. ^ David Wasserman (October 6, 2020), "The 10 Bellwether Counties That Show How Trump Is in Serious Trouble",
  19. ^ Approved Private Schools and Chartered Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Pennsylvania Department of Education website, accessed April 2010.
  20. ^ Tommasini, John, Assistant Secretary of Education, Testimony before the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee Hearing on SB982 of 2010. given April 14, 2010
  21. ^ Erie County Council approves community college sponsorship
  22. ^ Community College Proposal
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Presque Isle State Park: Tranquility Found. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved January 11, 2022.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ a b c
  28. ^
  29. ^

Coordinates: 42°06′N 80°06′W / 42.10°N 80.10°W / 42.10; -80.10