Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey
Community Highlights for York County, PA

[Press Release (PDF)]

York Foundation

Media contact:
Carolyn Steinhauser, Executive Director
(717) 848-3733
20 West Market Street, York, PA 17401

Sample size:                               

Survey Area:        
York County (PA)

Is your survey area urban, suburban, rural?
All of the above


White                      94%
Black                        3%
Asian                        1%
Hispanic                   2%

US Census Bureau

18 – 24                   29,153
25 -  44                 118,298
45 – 64                  86,872
65+                         50,383

US Census Bureau

Community Description

York County, which celebrated its 250th anniversary last year, has a long and proud history.  It was the first county in Pennsylvania established west of the Susquehanna River.  The German and Scotch-Irish traditions of its early settlers are still embraced by many York Countians, who have been described as “frugal, helpful and trustworthy.”

The county covers 911 square miles and is home to 375,000 people.  Its urban center covers five square miles.  Beyond the city and metro area, the landscape is one of farmlands and country villages which still embody small town America.

York County’s healthy economy and its attractiveness as an environment in which to live and work and raise a family has made it one of the fastest growing areas in Pennsylvania.  With this population growth has also come urban sprawl.  York County lost 40% of its farmland since 1960.

With a diversified manufacturing base which employs 30% of the labor force, York County ranks highest in the state in the number of people in manufacturing jobs. At the same time, however, the shift of York County’s labor force to jobs outside York County has been significant in the past several decades.  Now almost one out of four local workers commutes to jobs outside the county.

Over 60% of York County students continue their education beyond high school.  Fourteen percent of adult workers are college graduates.

York County residents have a strong commitment to small scale government, with 72 independent municipal and township governments and 16 school systems.  The challenges this presents were the focus of a community study several years ago by urban expert David Rusk.
The study points out the need to work more cooperatively to address problems of urban sprawl and their impact on racial and economic segregation.

York County is a generous and caring community.  Its charitable and service organizations have a strong base of committed volunteers and supporters.  It has a strong faith community, with over 500 worshiping bodies within the county.