The lands of the future Centre County were first recorded by James Potter in 1764. Having reached the top of Nittany Mountain, and "....seeing the prairies and noble forest beneath him, cried out to his attendant, 'By heavens, Thompson, I have discovered an empire!'" Centre County was created on February 13, 1800, from parts of Huntingdon, Lycoming, Mifflin, and Northumberland counties and named for its central location in the state.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,113 square miles (2,880 km2), of which 1,110 square miles (2,900 km2) is land and 3.0 square miles (7.8 km2) (0.3%) is water. It is the fifth-largest county in Pennsylvania by area.Bald Eagle Valley
Bald Eagle Mountain
Clinton County (north)
Union County (east)
Mifflin County (southeast)
Huntingdon County (south)
Blair County (south)
Clearfield County (west)
As of the census of 2010, there were 153,990 people, 57,573 households, and 31,256 families residing in the county. The population density was 139 people per square mile (54/km²). There were 63,297 housing units at an average density of 57 per square mile (22/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.4% White, 3.0% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 5.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. 2.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 57,573 households out of which 23.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.7% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the county, the population was spread out with 15.9% under the age of 18, 28.9% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 107.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.1 males.
The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Centre County as the State College, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census the metropolitan area ranked 13th most populous in the State of Pennsylvania and the 259th most populous in the United States with a population of 155,403. Centre County is also a part of the larger State College-DuBois, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which combines the populations of Centre County as well as Clearfield County to the west. The Combined Statistical Area ranked 9th in the State of Pennsylvania and 123rd most populous in the United States with a population of 236,577.Michael Pipe, Chairman (Democrat)
Mark Higgins, Vice-Chair (Democrat)
Steven G. Dershem, Commissioner (Republican)
Clerk of Courts and Prothonotary, Debra Immel, Democrat
Controller, Charles Witmer, Republican
Coroner, Scott Sayers, Democrat
District Attorney, Stacy Parks Miller, Democrat
Recorder of Deeds, Joe Davidson, Republican
Register of Wills, Christine Millinder, Republican
Sheriff, Bryan Sampsel, Republican
Treasurer, Rich Fornicola, Republican
Jake Corman, Republican, Pennsylvania's 34th Senatorial District
John N. Wozniak, Democrat, Pennsylvania's 35th Senatorial District
Michael K. Hanna, Sr., Democrat, Pennsylvania's 76th Representative District
Scott Conklin, Democrat, Pennsylvania's 77th Representative District
Kerry Benninghoff, Republican, Pennsylvania's 171st Representative District
Glenn "G.T." Thompson, Republican, Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district
Pat Toomey, Republican
Bob Casey, Jr., Democrat
As of November 2014, there were 108,316 registered voters in Centre County.Democratic: 44,051 (40.67%)
Republican: 41,771 (38.56%)
Libertarian: 685 (0.63%)
No party affiliation: 19,162 (17.69%)
Other: 2,647 (2.44%)
Centre County had for many years been a strongly Republican county like most of rural Pennsylvania. In recent years, however, it has been becoming more competitive. In 2000 George W. Bush defeated Al Gore with 52% of the vote to Gore's 43%. In 2004 Bush won the county by a much smaller margin. Bush won 51% to Kerry's 47%, a margin of only 4%. In 2006, Governor Ed Rendell and Bob Casey Jr. both carried Centre and Democrat Scott Conklin decisively won the State House seat left open by the retirement of Republican Lynn Herman in the 77th district. In 2008, the Democrats captured the countywide registration edge, Barack Obama carried the county with 55% of the vote to McCain's 44%, and the other three statewide winners (Rob McCord for Treasurer, Jack Wagner for Auditor General, and Tom Corbett for Attorney General) also carried Centre. Perhaps the reason for the competitiveness of the Democrats is the fact that the main campus of Penn State is located in State College in the southern half of the county. In 2012, Barack Obama won the county in his reelection campaign by a very narrow margin, 48.90% to 48.65%. In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton, beat eventual President-elect Republican Donald Trump 47.76% to 45.86%. However, in that same election, Republican Senator Pat Toomey beat Democratic opponent Katie McGinty 47.91% to 46.2% in the countyPennsylvania State University
South Hills School of Business & Technology
Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, public Vo Tech located in Pleasant Gap
Bald Eagle Area School District
Bellefonte Area School District
Keystone Central School District (also in Clinton County)
Penns Valley Area School District
Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District (also in Clearfield County)
State College Area School District
Tyrone Area School District (also in Blair County and Huntingdon County)
Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School
Centre Learning Community Charter School
Nittany Valley Charter School
Wonderland Charter School
There are 13 public cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania that are available for free statewide, to children K-12. See: Education in Pennsylvania.
As reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Education 2010.Bower Hollow Parochial School - Woodward
Centre County Christian Academy - Bellefonte
Elk Creek School - Rebersburg
Faith Christian Academy - Philipsburg
Grace Prep - State College
Hill Side School - Rebersburg
Hubler Ridge School - Bellefonte
Kramer Gap School - Spring Mills
Little Nittany Amish Parochial School - Howard
Mountain View School - Rebersburg
Nittany Christian School - State College
Our Lady of Victory School - State College
Peach Lane Amish School - Madisonburg
Penns Valley Amish Paroch School - Woodward
Rockville School - Rebersburg
Spring Bank School - Rebersburg
St John Evangelist School - Bellefonte
St. Joseph's Academy - Boalsburg
State College Friends School - State College
Sunny Meadow Parochial School - Howard
Sunset View School - Howard
Sunset View School - Rebersburg
Windy Poplars School - Centre Hall
Woodside Amish School - Spring Mills
Centre County Libraries
Centre County Library - Bellefonte
Centre Hall Area Branch Library - Centre Hall
Holt Memorial Library - Philipsburg
Centre County Bookmobile
American Philatelic Research Library
Schlow Centre Region Library
Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library
Earth and Mineral Sciences Library
Physical and Mathematical Sciences Library
Interstate 80 runs east–west through the center of the county.
Interstate 99 runs east-southwest breaking off with I-80 near Bellefonte and runs past and through State College.
US Route 322 runs south–north through Potter's Mills to Philipsburg.
US Route 220 runs concurrently with I-80 in the eastern half of the county then splits with I-99 and runs concurrently with it in the western half of the county.
There are four significant state routes; PA 45, PA 192, PA 64, and PA 150 run parallel to I-80 while PA 144 runs perpendicular to it, north–south, from Potter's Mills to Snow Shoe.
The area is served by the University Park Airport.
There are six Pennsylvania state parks in Centre County.Bald Eagle State Park is the largest state park in Centre County with 5,900-acres (2,388 ha). It is located on Pennsylvania Route 150 between Milesburg and Lock Haven.
Black Moshannon State Park west of State College has a bog with three species of carnivorous plants and 17 orchid varieties.
McCalls Dam State Park is a small park on a dirt road in the extreme eastern tip of the county.
Penn-Roosevelt State Park is the site of a former segregated CCC camp for African American men.
Poe Paddy State Park is located at the confluence of Big Poe Creek and Penns Creek.
Poe Valley State Park is in an isolated valley surrounding 25 acre Poe Lake.
Centre County's main daily newspaper is the Centre Daily Times (part of the McClatchy Company chain). Alternative newspapers include the Centre County Gazette and State College City Guide. Newspapers of Pennsylvania State University's main campus include The Forum and the student-run Daily Collegian.
Numerous magazines are also published including Town & Gown, State College Magazine, Good Life in Happy Valley, Blue White Illustrated, Pennsylvania Business Central, and Voices of Central Pennsylvania.
The radio market of Centre County is ranked #257 in the nation. Some of the more popular stations include WPSU, WKPS, WBUS, WQWK, WFGE, WBHV, WZWW, WRSC, WAPY, and WMAJ.
Centre County is part of the Johnstown/Altoona/State College television market, which is currently ranked #99 in the nation. Television stations broadcasting out of State College include WPSU (PBS) and WHVL (MyNetworkTV) as well as C-NET, Centre County's Government and Education Access Television Network, which broadcasts on two channels: CGTV (Government Access TV) and CETV (Educational Access TV). Johnstown-based WJAC-TV (NBC) and Altoona-based WTAJ-TV (CBS) also maintain satellite studios and offices here.
Under Pennsylvania law, there are five types of incorporated municipalities: cities, home rule municipalities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following municipalities, boroughs and townships are located in Centre County:Ferguson Township
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.Colyer
Ingleby (ghost town)
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Centre County.
† county seat