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Erie County has a mix of demographic trends, with a slight decline in total population, less “graying” than the nation as a whole, and increasing diversity, particularly in Asian and Hispanic populations.
Contrary to the state and nation, Erie County lost population from 2000 to 2017, declining 2.3% to 274,500 residents. The City of Erie’s population declined 6% to 97,400.
The fastest growing age bracket in Erie County was those 60 to 84, which increased 30% from 2000 to 2017, below the 55% experienced at the national level. The number of people 20-39 and 40-59 decreased, by 7% and 6%, respectively. But people 20-39 were the largest group in the county at 70,600, followed by 69,000 who were 40-59.
In 2013-17, Erie County’s median age was 39, lower than the state’s median of 40.7 and slightly higher than the nation’s median of 37.8. Since 2000, the county’s median age increased 7.7%, a bit more than the state and national increases of 7.1%. The City of Erie’s median age in 2013-17 was lower than the county, at 34.7 years.
In terms of its racial and ethnic make-up, Erie remains majority white at 88%. But its Asian American and Hispanic populations have had tremendous growth – the Asian American population more than doubled from about 1,900 to 4,500, and the Hispanic population increased 81%, from 6,200 to 11,200. The African American population grew at a slower pace, or 17%, from 17,000 to 19,900. The white population decreased 5%, from 255,000 to 242,000.
The make-up of Erie County’s households has also changed, with a 23% decline since 2000 in married couples with children, a larger decrease than those seen in the state and nation. In 2013-17, people living alone and married couples without children each comprised about 30% of the households in the county. Married couples with children were the next largest group (17%), followed by single people with children (12%) and people living with either relatives or non-relatives (6-7% each).
Erie County’s average household size dropped slightly from 2000 to 2013-17, from 2.5 to 2.4. The state’s average household size was 2.5 and the nation’s was 2.6, both essentially flat since 2000. In the City of Erie, the average household size was 2.3, down from 2.4 in 2000.
Since 2000, Erie County has seen a 10 percentage point increase in the share of families headed by single parents. In 2013-17, single parents headed 41% of all families in the county, higher than Pennsylvania or the nation, both at 34%. In the City of Erie, single parents headed 56% of all families in 2013-17.
Erie has a relatively small share of residents who were born outside the country, at 5% in 2013-17, but the share is higher in the City of Erie, at 7%, and that’s nearly double what it was in 2000.
In addition, Erie is home to some significant immigrant and refugee populations that might not be completely reflected in the official census numbers. According to the International Institute, the national organization that places people in Erie, about 18,000 refugees or immigrants now living in Erie. Some of the larger groups include 3,000 Bosnians and about 4,500 Bhutanese, as well as smaller groups from places such as Syria. In addition, Erie is also experiencing an influx of American citizens from Puerto Rico.
|INDICATORS||TREND | ERIE COUNTY|
|Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments||Maintaining|
|Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employees||Increasing|
|Drug Abuse Arrests||Maintaining|
|Voter Participation Rate||Increasing|
|Population by Age||Not Applicable|
|Population by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Change in Total Population||Decreasing|
|Foreign Born Population||Increasing|
|Household Types||Not Applicable|
|Average Household Size||Maintaining|
|Median Household Income||Maintaining|
|Change in Average Salary||Decreasing|
|Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Change in Employment by Sector||Not Applicable|
|People Living in Poverty||Increasing|
|People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Children Living in Poverty||Increasing|
|Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|People Living in Poverty by Education Level||Not Applicable|
|Homeownership Rate by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Housing Affordability for Homeowners||Maintaining|
|Student Performance in Grade 3 Reading||Increasing|
|Student Performance in Grade 3 Math||Increasing|
|High School Cohort Graduation Rate||Maintaining|
|Per Student Spending||Maintaining|
|Education Level of Adults||Not Applicable|
|Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Recycling Tons Per Capita||Maintaining|
|Solid Waste Per Capita||Maintaining|
|Vehicles by Fuel Type||Not Applicable|
|Death from Heart Disease||Decreasing|
|Death from Cancer||Decreasing|
|Death from Stroke||Decreasing|
|Death from Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease||Increasing|
|People Without Healthcare Coverage||Decreasing|
|People Without a Primary Care Physician||Increasing|
|People Who Cannot Afford Healthcare||Decreasing|
|Adults Who are Overweight or Obese||Increasing|
|Children Who are Overweight or Obese||Increasing|
|Teens Who are Overweight or Obese||Increasing|
|Physically Inactive Adults||Decreasing|
|Low Birth Weight Babies||Not Applicable|
|Live Births to Teen Mothers||Decreasing|
|Non Smoking During Pregnancy||Increasing|
|Early Prenatal Care||Increasing|