Significant Population Drop In Northcentral Pennsylvania

Potter County is not alone in its loss of population during the first decade of the millennium. According to an interim report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the county’s population stood at 16,714 as of July 1, 2009, a decrease of 7.6 percent since 2000. Cameron County’s population drop of 13.6 percent is far above other counties in the region, with a count of 5,163 as 2009. McKean lost 6 percent to a new figure of 43,196. Elk County’s population fell by 8.8 percent to 32,011.

Forest County saw an increase of 37 percent to 6,775 people, attributed largely to the opening of a federal prison near Marienville. Inmates there are counted as residents of the county. That also explains why Forest County has the highest percentage of residents (24.2 percent) living below the poverty level.

Potter County’s poverty rate is 14.4 percent; Cameron, 13 percent; Elk, 9.4, and McKean, 17.7.

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