About the County

Carbon County (2000 population 58,802) was created on March 13, 1843, from parts of Northampton and Monroe Counties. Its name alludes to its deposits of anthracite coal. Jim Thorpe, the county seat, was originally incorporated on January 26, 1850 as the borough of Mauch Chunk, an Indian name meaning “bear mountain.” It was renamed in 1954 for the famous Indian athlete who is buried there.

Carbon County was the home of the first railroad in America that was built on any large scale. The “Switchback” railroad, as it came to be known in its glory days, was originally designed to carry coal. The Switchback led a long and active life, first as a coal carrier and then as solely a tourist attraction. In the 1930’s, the railroad carried its last passengers.

The County

Located in northeastern Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City and 90 miles northeast of Philadelphia, the County is bordered on the north by Luzerne County, on the east by Monroe County, on the west by Schuylkill County and on the south by Lehigh and Northampton Counties. The northern and eastern portions of the County are part of the Pocono Mountains region of the Commonwealth.

The population of the County grew from the early nineteenth century through the 1920s, fell with the declines in the anthracite coal industry through the early 1960s, and has been growing again since then. At the current time, the County is experiencing growth in population and industry primarily related to the westward movement of the East Coast metropolitan area. In the last several years, the growth has been primarily due to the growth of the Pocono Mountain region with the opening of the last portion of Interstate 78 into Pennsylvania, opening up a second and faster direct route into the New York metropolitan area from eastern and central Pennsylvania.

Carbon County is composed of 23 municipalities, each with its own municipal government. The county has 5 school districts and a county wide technical school. Carbon County, covering over 500 square miles, is known for its scenic mountains and rivers. Over 2/3 of the county is State Game Land & State Park Land. The attractive rural landscape attracts thousands of visitors each year to a county rich in heritage & history. The county boasts of its quality of life and it attracts both families and businesses to our region.

County Employees and Labor Relations

County employees in maintenance and clerical employees at the County Court House are unionized and members of AFSCME.  Correctional officers at the County Correctional facility are members of the Teamsters.

Carbon County has had no work stoppages in recent years due to strikes. The County considers its relationship with its employees to be amicable.

ECONOMIC/DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION

Population

The table below shows population comparisons for the County, Pennsylvania and the United States

   1970 1980 1990 2000
Carbon County 50,573 53,285 56,846 58,802
Pennsylvania 11,800,766 11,863,895 11,881,603 12,281,054
United States 203,302,031 226,504,825 249,438,712 281,421,906

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce – Bureau of Census

Housing Units

The number of housing units in the County increased by 31.49% from 1980 to 2000. The following chart shows comparable housing data for the County and Pennsylvania.

Number of Units:

   1980 1990 2000 Median Housing Value 1980 Owner Occupied
Carbon County 23,190 27,380 30,492 $62,900
Pennsylvania 4,597,412 4,938,140 5,249,750 $69,700

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce – Bureau of Census