Erie County has a mix of demographic trends, with a slight decline in total population, less “graying” than the nation as a whole, and increasing diversity, particularly in Asian and Hispanic populations.  

Contrary to the state and nation, Erie County lost population from 2000 to 2017, declining 2.3% to 274,500 residents. The City of Erie’s population declined 6% to 97,400.

The fastest growing age bracket in Erie County was those 60 to 84, which increased 30% from 2000 to 2017, below the 55% experienced at the national level. The number of people 20-39 and 40-59 decreased, by 7% and 6%, respectively. But people 20-39 were the largest group in the county at 70,600, followed by 69,000 who were 40-59.

In 2013-17,  Erie County’s median age was 39, lower than the state’s median of 40.7 and slightly higher than the nation’s median of 37.8. Since 2000, the county’s median age increased 7.7%, a bit more than the state and national increases of 7.1%. The City of Erie’s median age in 2013-17 was lower than the county, at 34.7 years. 

In terms of its racial and ethnic make-up, Erie remains majority white at 88%. But its Asian American and Hispanic populations have had tremendous growth – the Asian American population more than doubled from about 1,900 to 4,500, and the Hispanic population increased 81%, from 6,200 to 11,200. The African American population grew at a slower pace, or 17%, from 17,000 to 19,900. The white population decreased 5%, from 255,000 to 242,000. 

The make-up of Erie County’s households has also changed, with a 23% decline since 2000 in married couples with children, a larger decrease than those seen in the state and nation. In 2013-17, people living alone and married couples without children each comprised about 30% of the households in the county. Married couples with children were the next largest group (17%), followed by single people with children (12%) and people living with either relatives or non-relatives (6-7% each). 

Erie County’s average household size dropped slightly from 2000 to 2013-17, from 2.5 to 2.4. The state’s average household size was 2.5 and the nation’s was 2.6, both essentially flat since 2000. In the City of Erie, the average household size was 2.3, down from 2.4 in 2000. 

Since 2000, Erie County has seen a 10 percentage point increase in the share of families headed by single parents. In 2013-17, single parents headed 41% of all families in the county, higher than Pennsylvania or the nation, both at 34%. In the City of Erie, single parents headed 56% of all families in 2013-17. 

Erie has a relatively small share of residents who were born outside the country, at 5% in 2013-17, but the share is higher in the City of Erie, at 7%, and that’s nearly double what it was in 2000. 

In addition, Erie is home to some significant immigrant and refugee populations that might not be completely reflected in the official census numbers.  According to the International Institute, the national organization that places people in Erie, about 18,000 refugees or immigrants now living in Erie.  Some of the larger groups include 3,000 Bosnians and about 4,500 Bhutanese, as well as smaller groups from places such as Syria. In addition, Erie is also experiencing an influx of American citizens from Puerto Rico.

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employees Increasing
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Median Age Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Decreasing
Foreign Born Population Increasing
Household Types Not Applicable
Average Household Size Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Public Assistance Maintaining
Change in Average Salary Decreasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Employment by Sector Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Education Level Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Homeownership Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Median Rent Maintaining
Student Performance in Grade 3 Reading Increasing
Student Performance in Grade 3 Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Maintaining
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Education Level of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Air Quality Increasing
Water Quality Maintaining
Recycling Tons Per Capita Maintaining
Solid Waste Per Capita Maintaining
Vehicles by Fuel Type Not Applicable
Mortality Rate Decreasing
Death from Heart Disease Decreasing
Death from Cancer Decreasing
Death from Stroke Decreasing
Death from Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease Increasing
Hypertension Prevalance Increasing
Diabetes Prevalence Increasing
Asthma Increasing
People Without Healthcare Coverage Decreasing
People Without a Primary Care Physician Increasing
Routine Checkups Increasing
People Who Cannot Afford Healthcare Decreasing
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Children Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Teens Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Adult Smokers Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Decreasing
Binge Drinking Maintaining
Infant Mortality Decreasing
Low Birth Weight Babies Not Applicable
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Non Smoking During Pregnancy Increasing
Early Prenatal Care Increasing