|Founded||March 13, 1843 (Divided from Northampton County)|
|Named for||Coal deposits|
|• Total||387 sq mi (1,000 km2)|
|• Land||381 sq mi (990 km2)|
|• Water||5.9 sq mi (15 km2) 2%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||170/sq mi (70/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Designated||June 13, 1982|
Carbon County is a county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 64,749. The county is also part of Pennsylvania's Coal Region.
In 1745, the first colonial settlement in Carbon County was established by a Moravian mission in Gnadenhutten, in present-day Lehighton. By 1752, increased hostility between colonialists and Native Americans put Gnadenhutten at risk for attack; in 1755, the community was attacked by Native Americans.
Lehigh Coal Mine Company (LCMC) operations had managed to open up the mouth area of the Nesquehoning Creek by 1800. This area became known as Lausanne, or Lausanne Landing, after the inn and tavern built there called Landing Tavern. An Amerindian trail crossed the stream near the confluence with Jean's Run and the camp grounds of their boat builders, climbing northwestwards along a traverse to the next water gap west, eroded into the southern flank of Broad Mountain in the Lehigh Valley. It connected across a barrier ridge whose waters originated in the saddle-pass where Hazleton was built. The trail became the Lehigh & Susquehanna Turnpike in 1804. PA Route 93 follows this route with the exception of where modern road building capabilities allowed improved positioning. This road cut 90–100 miles (140–160 km) off a trip from Philadelphia to the Wyoming Valley and the northern sections of the Coal Region.
In 1827, Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company, based in present-day Jim Thorpe, launched the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, the nation's second operating railroad. The Beaver Meadow Railroad and Coal Company, also located in Carbon County, was the first railway to operate steam locomotives as traction engines and prime movers in the United States. The Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway connected mines west of Beaver Meadows and Weatherly to the Lehigh Canal opposite Lehighton.
Carbon County was created on March 13, 1843, from parts of Northampton and Monroe counties and was named for the extensive deposits of anthracite coal in the region, where it was first discovered in 1791. Early attempts were made to exploit the deposits by Lehigh Coal Mine Company (1792), whose expeditions broke trail and pioneered river bank sites using mule powered technology to log, saw, and build arks to carry bags of coal to Philadelphia with only scant success.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 387 square miles (1,000 km2), of which 381 square miles (990 km2) is land and 5.9 square miles (15 km2) (1.5%) is water. Blue Mountain forms the southern boundary of Carbon County. The northeast area of the county is located in the Pocono Mountains and the northwest area includes portions of Broad and Spring mountains.
The county is drained by the Lehigh River except for a small area in western Packer Township and the borough of Lansford that are drained by the Still Creek and Panther Creek, respectively, into the Little Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill River, and the Audenried area in the northwest corner that drains into the Susquehanna River via the Catawissa Creek. The Lehigh River cuts a gorge between Jim Thorpe and White Haven, which hosts the Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Carbon County has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb) and is mostly in hardiness zone 6a, except for 6b in some southern lowlands and 5b in some northern highlands. Average monthly temperatures at Jake Arner Memorial Airport range from 27.8 °F in January to 72.5 °F in July, while at the Pocono interchange of the Turnpike they range from 22.9 °F in January to 68.3 °F in July.
- Luzerne County (north)
- Monroe County (east)
- Northampton County (southeast)
- Lehigh County (south)
- Schuylkill County (southwest)
Carbon Transit fixed-route bus service consists of Route 701 (Coaldale-Palmerton) and Route 702 (Nesquehoning-Palmerton), both connecting to the LANta Route 325 bus in Palmerton. Carbon Transit also operates CT Flex service in Jim Thorpe, Penn Forest Township, and Kidder Township. Also, Hazleton Public Transit (HPT) bus route 30 serves northwestern Carbon County via Beaver Meadows and Junedale to Weatherly. Audenried is served by HPT route 20 (Hazleton-McAdoo/Kelayres).
Fullington Trailways provides intercity service to Carbon County with stops in Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. Martz Trailways has a stop in Kidder Township near the Pocono interchange of Interstate 476 for service between Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, Quakertown, and Philadelphia. This is an Amtrak Thruway route, connecting to Amtrak trains at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Martz also operates casino bus routes to Atlantic City from the stop.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2000 census, there were 58,802 people, 23,701 households, and 16,424 families residing in the county. The population density was 154 people per square mile (59 people/km2). There were 30,492 housing units at an average density of 80 units per square mile (31/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.82% White, 0.60% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 1.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.4% were of German, 10.1% Irish, 9.2% Italian, 7.9% American, 6.6% Slovak, 6.0% Polish and 5.8% Ukrainian ancestry.
There were 23,701 households, out of which 28.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.80% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.70% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.20% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 18.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 94.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.30 males.
|Black or African American (NH)||1,070||1.65%|
|Native American (NH)||95||0.15%|
|Pacific Islander (NH)||14||0.02%|
|Hispanic or Latino||3,642||5.6%|
Law and government
At the presidential level, Carbon County has also been a bellwether for Pennsylvania until recently with only one miss (the 1960 presidential election) between 1916 presidential election and the 2000 presidential election, and with a margin within 3.5 points of the statewide margin in every election from 1940 to 2000 except 1964 (5.3% more Democratic) and 1976 (6.9% more Democratic). Al Gore carried the county in 2000. George W. Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry 49.99% to 48.81%, or a margin of 296 votes, in 2004.
Since then, Carbon County has trended Republican relative to the state as a whole; in the 2008 presidential election, John McCain outperformed in Carbon County by 8.5% relative to the state. In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney outperformed by 12.9% relative to the state.
In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump won the county overwhelmingly with 65.4% of the vote, the largest presidential victory in the county of any presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson's landslide in 1964 presidential election.
As of July 17, 2023, there were 42,740 registered voters in the county. There are 21,499 registered Republicans, 14,642 registered Democrats, 4,564 voters registered non-affiliated voters, and 2,035 voters registered to other parties.
- Wayne Nothstein, chairman, Republican
- Chris Lukasevich, Republican
- Rocky Ahner, Democratic
- John Yudichak, Independent, Pennsylvania's 14th Senatorial District
- Dave Argall, Republican, Pennsylvania's 29th Senatorial District
State House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
United States Senate
Community, junior and technical colleges
Public school districts
- Hazleton Area School District (also in Luzerne County and Schuylkill County)
- Jim Thorpe Area School District
- Lehighton Area School District
- Palmerton Area School District
- Panther Valley School District (also in Schuylkill County)
- Weatherly Area School District
Career technical school
Carbon Career and Technical Institute, public school located in Jim Thorpe
Mauch Chunk Lake is a county-run park that offers swimming, camping, hiking and cross country skiing in the winter. There are three Pennsylvania state parks in Carbon County:
- Beltzville State Park
- Hickory Run State Park
- Lehigh Gorge State Park stretches along the Lehigh River in Luzerne County and into Carbon County.
Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in the case of Bloomsburg, a town. The following boroughs and townships are located in Carbon County:
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.
- Big Creek Valley
- East Mauch Chunk, now an eastern part of Jim Thorpe
- East Penn Township, Pennsylvania, the far eastern part of today's Jim Thorpe at the other end of Bear Mountain (Lehigh Valley)
- Lausanne Landing, the original settlement above the Lehigh Gap at the mouth of the Nesquehoning Creek; terminus of the Lehigh & Susquehanna Turnpike founded in 1804
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|3||† Jim Thorpe||Borough||4,781|
|4||Indian Mountain Lake (partially in Monroe County)||CDP||4,372|
- "PHMC Historical Markers Search". Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original (Searchable database) on March 21, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- "Census - Geography Profile: Carbon County, Pennsylvania". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Rabenold-Finsel, Rebecca (2004). Carbon County. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 9–15. ISBN 978-0-7385-3613-2.
- Fred Brenckman, Official Commonwealth Historian (1884). HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA (2nd (1913) ed.). Harrisburg, Pa., J.J. Nungesser.
- The "reasonably local Sharp Mountain of today is the same ridge, but is geographically limited by modern USGS conventions to the part west of the Little Schuylkill River's water gap. The Sharp Mountain SUMMIT, was a peak near Summit Hill, Pennsylvania, now leveled by mining activity."
- Jean's Run is the first left bank tributary of Nesquehoning Creek, upstream from Nesquehoning Creek's mouth on the Lehigh River. It has three falls and steep ravine sides, so was not a valley congenial to wagon travel, nor likely friendly to climbing with pack mules without great care and persuasion. The toll house for the turnpike was located nearby opposite the mouth of Jean's Run, and PA Route 93 crosses today from an elevated bridge, so the Turnpike climbed from Jean's Run across the slope to the same level as the Broad Mountain side of today's bridge.
- Bartholomew, Ann M.; Metz, Lance E.; Kneis, Michael (1989). DELAWARE and LEHIGH CANALS (First ed.). Oak Printing Company, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Center for Canal History and Technology, Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museum, Inc., Easton, Pennsylvania. p. 4. ISBN 0930973097. LCCN 89-25150.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- "PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University". prism.oregonstate.edu.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Carbon County, Pennsylvania".
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org.
- The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 3,549 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 428 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 57 votes, and Socialist Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 2 votes.
- "Carbon County New Bellwether for Governor". Pittsburgh Press. Press Harrisburg Bureau. November 6, 1978. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- "The bellwethers: What do voters in eastern PA know that the rest don't?". PennLive. November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- "2014 General Election Official Returns". Pennsylvania Department of State. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data".
- Pennsylvania Department of State (July 17, 2023). "Voter registration statistics by county". dos.pa.gov. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
- "Carbon County Commissioners". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- PDE (2016). "MAP OF PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND INTERMEDIATE UNITS".
- "2010 U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 10, 2013.