Northern Tier (Pennsylvania)
The Northern Tier is a geographic region consisting of five rural counties in north-central Pennsylvania. The Northern Tier is home to roughly 180,000 people distributed among many small towns and the countryside. The region's largest town is Sayre, Pennsylvania on the left-east bank North Branch Susquehanna River and is on Interstate 86 where it dips just below the Pennsylvania state line). Sayre Yard is a large railyard currently operated by Norfolk Southern that extends across the stateline into Waverly, New York and connects rail transport centers via Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to freight yards in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Baltimore to Buffalo and other Upstate New York cities as well as the Great Lakes basin cities. The Endless Mountains are a major geographic feature. U.S. Route 220, U.S. Route 15 and U.S. Route 6 serve the region.
The Northern Tier also often includes McKean and Potter Counties, the two counties to the west that border New York, though the term Northern Pennsylvania is more commonly used there. The economies, geography and population of these two counties are very similar to that of other Northern Tier counties.
The Northern Tier region as a whole is notorious for its high unemployment and low per-capita incomes in comparison to the rest of Pennsylvania, though the discovery of the Marcellus Formation has begun to alleviate these problems. As a result, the region's top two employers are government-funded services, specifically health care and education services. Paper allied products constitute the largest private industry in the area. Agriculture and light manufacturing are also important employers.
The counties and important towns in the Northern Tier are: