County Among The ‘Dying’

Warren County is one of four counties across the Commonwealth with the largest percent of population lost over a two-year period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last week.

The population base of Warren County declined from 41,815 in April 2010 to 41,146 in July 2012, a decrease of 669 or 1.6 percent over the two-year period.

Warren County is one of 40 that had more deaths than births from 2010 to 2012 with 1,105 deaths and 851 births during the same time period, a member of a group referred to by some as “dying counties.”

A decrease in population was shown throughout the six counties surrounding Warren County in northwestern Pennsylvania except for Erie County, which saw the population increase by 80 to 280,646 from 280,566.

The population in McKean County dropped 323 from 43,450 in 2010 to 43,127 in 2012; Elk County dropped 396 from 31,946 in 2010 to 31,550 in 2012; Forest County dropped 49 from 7,716 in 2010 to 7,667 in 2012; Venango County dropped 712 from 54,984 in 2010 to 54,272 in 2012; and Crawford County dropped 1,167 from 88,765 in 2010 to 87,598 in 2012.

Forest County had one of the lowest number of births and deaths between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2012, at 62 and 189, respectively.

“Seven of the top ten counties in percent population growth from 2010 to 2012 were located in south-central Pennsylvania or the metropolitan Philadelphia area,” the Census Bureau said. “In contrast, eight of the top ten counties in percent population loss over 2010-2012 time period were concentrated in the western part of the state. Thirty-three counties experienced population loss during the period.”

More counties in western Pennsylvania experienced population loss from 2010 to 2012. Cambria County had the largest estimated population decrease with 2,095, followed by Westmoreland County with a decrease of 1,775 and Lawrence County with 1,237. Schuylkill and Monroe counties were the two eastern Pennsylvania counties to lose more than a thousand residents since 2000.

Statewide data shows an increase in population by 61,157 to a total of 12,763,536. There were an estimated 320,606 births in Pennsylvania between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2012. An estimated 283,295 deaths occurred during this same time period, resulting in a natural increase of 37,311 people.

Lehigh County was Pennsylvania’s fastest growing county with an increase of 1.6 percent from 349,497 to 355,245 people. Three counties in Pennsylvania were among the top 100 largest nationally in 2012 Philadelphia was 22nd with 1,547,607, Allegheny County was 31st with 1,229,338 and Montgomery was 71st with 808,460.