Potter County, Pennsylvania

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Potter County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Potter County
Location in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded September 1, 1826
Named for James Potter
Seat Coudersport
Largest borough Coudersport
 • Total 1,082 sq mi (2,802 km2)
 • Land 1,081 sq mi (2,800 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (1 km2), 0.02%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 17,093
 • Density 16/sq mi (6/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.pottercountypa.net

Potter County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,457,[1] making it the fifth-least populous county in Pennsylvania. Its county seat is Coudersport.[2] The county was created in 1804 and later organized in 1836.[3] It is named after James Potter, who was a general from Pennsylvania in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Though it is named for him, James Potter never actually lived in Potter County and may have never even visited the area.

Potter County is located in the Allegheny Plateau region.


Major Isaac Lyman, an American Revolutionary war veteran was one of the first permanent settlers in Potter County. Major Lyman is recognized as the founder of Potter County. He was paid ten dollars for each settler he convinced to move to Potter County. He built his home in 1809 in nearby Lymansville, now known as Ladonna. Major Lyman also built the first road to cross Potter County and Potter County's first sawmill and gristmill.

Lyman had a colorful personal history. After the death in childbirth of his first wife, Sally Edgecombe, he remarried; later he left his second wife and started a third family in Potter County. The second Mrs. Lyman was determined not to suffer on her own. She sought out the Major, travelling from Bolton Landing, New York to Potter County with the help of their son, Burrell, who was 18 at the time. Major Lyman lived with these two families in Potter County. Historical accounts of the living situation vary. Some say that Lyman kept both wives under one roof. Others state that there were two log homes for the families on the same piece of property. Descendants of Major Isaac Lyman's three families still live and work in Potter County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,082 square miles (2,800 km2), of which 1,081 square miles (2,800 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.02%) is water.[4]

Three major watersheds meet in Potter County: the watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay, St. Lawrence River, and Mississippi River. Moreover, the main stem by volume of the entire Mississippi river system, the Allegheny River, has its source in central Potter County, near Cobb Hill.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 29
1820 186 541.4%
1830 1,265 580.1%
1840 3,371 166.5%
1850 6,048 79.4%
1860 11,470 89.6%
1870 11,265 −1.8%
1880 13,797 22.5%
1890 22,778 65.1%
1900 30,621 34.4%
1910 29,729 −2.9%
1920 21,089 −29.1%
1930 17,489 −17.1%
1940 18,201 4.1%
1950 16,810 −7.6%
1960 16,483 −1.9%
1970 16,395 −0.5%
1980 17,726 8.1%
1990 16,717 −5.7%
2000 18,080 8.2%
2010 17,457 −3.4%
Est. 2015 17,093 [5] −2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 18,080 people, 7,005 households, and 5,001 families residing in the county. The population density was 17 people per square mile (6/km²). There were 12,159 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.06% White, 0.29% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. 0.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 27.3% were of English, 26.9% were of German, 9.9% Irish and 5.8% Italian ancestry according to the 2012 American Community Survey.

There were 7,005 households out of which 31.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.50% were married couples living together, 7.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 24.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.02.

In Potter County, the population was spread out with 26.00% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 24.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 97.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.80 males.

Live birth rate

Potter County's live birth rate was 242 births in 1990. The County's live birth rate in 2000 was 223 births, while in 2011 it had declined to 201 babies.[11] Over the past 50 years (1960 to 2010), rural Pennsylvania saw a steady decline in both the number and proportion of residents under 18 years old. In 1960, 1.06 million rural residents, or 35 percent of the rural population, were children.

County poverty demographics

According to research by The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, which is a legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the poverty rate for Potter County was 14.3% in 2014.[12] The statewide poverty rate was 13.6% in 2014. The 2012 childhood poverty rate by school district was: Austin Area School District - 42% of pupils living at 185% or below than the Federal Poverty Level and Coudersport Area School District - 41.9%, Galeton Area School District - 57.1%, Northern Potter School District - 51.3%, Oswayo Valley School District - 54.9%, Port Allegany School District - 46.8% and Keystone Central School District - 51.7% of pupils living in poverty.[13]


Potter County is one of the most Republican counties in Pennsylvania. In 2004, George W. Bush received 5,640 votes (71%) to 2,268 votes (29%) for John Kerry. The county has voted for the Republican in every presidential election since 1964. In 2006, Rick Santorum received 3,476 votes (63%) to 2,012 votes (37%) for Bob Casey, Jr., making it Santorum's strongest county in his defeat. Lynn Swann also received more than 60% of the Potter County vote in his defeat. In 2016, Donald Trump and Pat Toomey were overwhelmingly elected in Potter County for the U.S. presidential election and U.S. Senate election respectively. Trump won 80.31% of the vote over Hillary Clinton while Toomey won 77.79% of the vote over Katie McGinty. In the 2016 State Attorney General race, John Rafferty won 79.15% of the vote.[14]


Map of Potter County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Public school districts[edit]

Private schools[edit]

  • Chestnut Ridge School, Genesee, Grades 1-8
  • Hebron Center Christian School, Coudersport, Grades PK-12
  • Meadow View School, Genesee, Grades 1-8
  • Musto Hollow Amish School, Genesee, Grades 1-8
  • Penn-York Camp & Retreat Center, Ulysses
  • Ulysses Amish School, Ulysses, Grades 1-8

List from National Center for Education Statistics[15]


  • Coudersport Public Library [1]
  • Galeton Public Library [2]
  • Genesee Area Library [3]
  • Oswayo Valley Memorial Library, Shinglehouse [4]
  • Ulysses Library Association [5]
  • Potter-Tioga County Library System, Coudersport

Pennsylvania EdNA - Educational Entities, 2013


Potter County is known for its wild areas.

Potter County is home to 8 state parks and many more acres of state forest and gamelands.

The county is also the location of the annual "God's Country Marathon" race between Galeton and Coudersport.


Map of Potter County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Boroughs (red) and Townships (white).

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following boroughs and townships are located in Potter County:



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Road district (defunct)[edit]

  • East Fork Road was a former district which dissolved on January 1, 2004. The district contained only one road and 14 residents, with almost all of the district's land claimed as part of the Susquehannock State Forest. The territory that constituted the East Fork Road District is now the eastern half of Wharton Township.

Population ranking[edit]

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Potter County.[16]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Coudersport Borough 2,546
2 Galeton Borough 1,149
3 Shinglehouse Borough 1,127
4 Roulette CDP 779
5 Ulysses Borough 621
6 Austin Borough 562
7 Sweden Valley CDP 223
8 Oswayo Borough 139

Marcellus shale impact fee[edit]

Act 13 of 2012,[17] which levied a Marcellus Shale Impact Fee, was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett on February 14, 2012. The bill provides for the imposition of an unconventional well fee by county (or alternatively municipalities compelling the imposition of an unconventional well fee). A county may impose the fee if unconventional gas wells are located within its borders and it passes an ordinance within 60 days of the effective date of Act 13. A county that did not pass an ordinance imposing a fee is prohibited from receiving funds. This prohibition remains in effect until a county passes an ordinance imposing a fee.[18][19] In 2014, Potter County received an impact fee disbursement of $256,456.52. The top county recipient was Washington County which received $6,512,570.65 in 2014.[20] In 2014, there were 40 marcellus shale wells in Potter County.[21]

  • 2013 - 58 wells, received $401,640.77,[22]
  • 2012 - 30 wells, received $407,315.48[23]
  • 2011 - $554, 536.48[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Pennsylvania: Individual County Chronologies". Pennsylvania Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Health, Birth Age County Reports 1990, 2000 and 2011, 2011
  12. ^ US Census Bureau (2015). "Poverty Rates by County Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates". 
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (2012). "Student Poverty Concentration 2012". 
  14. ^ "Pennsylvania Elections - County Results". www.electionreturns.pa.gov. Retrieved 2016-11-25. 
  15. ^ ies, National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Private School Universe Survey 2008
  16. ^ http://www.census.gov/2010census/
  17. ^ Pennsylvania House of Representatives (February 8, 2012). "HB1950 of Session 2011 OIL AND GAS (58 PA.C.S.) - OMNIBUS AMENDMENTS". 
  18. ^ Pennsylvania General Assembly, Act 13 of 2012, February 14, 2012.
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Utility Commission (2012). "Act 13 (Impact Fee)". 
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Utility Commission (2015). "Disbursements and Impact Fees 2014". 
  21. ^ Pennsylvania Utility Commission (2015). "County Well Count Breakdown for 2014". 
  22. ^ PUC (2013). "Potter County Total distribution for year 2013 :". 
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Utility Commission (2013). "Potter County disbursements". 
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Utility Commission (2012). "Potter County disbursements". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°44′N 77°54′W / 41.74°N 77.90°W / 41.74; -77.90