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Columbia County, Pennsylvania

Columbia County, Pennsylvania
The Columbia County courthouse in Bloomsburg
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Columbia County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 22, 1813
Named for Christopher Columbus
Seat Bloomsburg
Largest town Bloomsburg
 • Total 490 sq mi (1,269 km2)
 • Land 483 sq mi (1,251 km2)
 • Water 7.1 sq mi (18 km2), 1.4%
Population (est.)
 • (2013) 66,797
 • Density 139/sq mi (54/km²)
Congressional district 11th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website .org.columbiapawww
Designated July 11, 1983[1]

Columbia County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 67,295.[2] Its county seat is Bloomsburg.[3] The county was created on March 22, 1813, from part of Northumberland County and named for Columbia, a poetic name for the United States that alludes to Christopher Columbus.

Columbia County is part of the Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.


  • Geography 1
    • Mountains 1.1
    • Major highways 1.2
    • Adjacent counties 1.3
    • State Park 1.4
  • Demographics 2
  • Metropolitan Statistical Area 3
  • Politics and government 4
    • County commissioners 4.1
    • Other county officials 4.2
    • State Senate 4.3
    • State House of Representatives 4.4
    • United States House of Representatives 4.5
    • United States Senate 4.6
  • Education 5
    • Colleges and universities 5.1
    • Public school districts 5.2
      • Technical school 5.2.1
      • Charter school 5.2.2
    • Private schools 5.3
    • Libraries 5.4
  • Communities 6
    • Town 6.1
    • Boroughs 6.2
    • Townships 6.3
    • Census-designated places 6.4
    • Unincorporated communities 6.5
  • See also 7
  • References 8


View of northern Columbia County, Pennsylvania from Kramer Hill Road in Fishing Creek Township. On the horizon (about 8-10 miles away) is North Mountain. The borough of Benton is in the center of the picture.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 490 square miles (1,300 km2), of which 483 square miles (1,250 km2) is land and 7.1 square miles (18 km2) (1.4%) is water.[4] The southern tip of Columbia County is part of the Coal Region. The area of the county from the Susquehanna River south to several miles south of Numidia is mostly farmland and state game lands. Around the Susquehanna River, there are several communities, such as Bloomsburg and Catawissa. From the Susquehanna River north as far as Waller, the county is mostly farmland with several patches of forest. North of Waller, the county is mostly state game lands and mountains.[5]

The major streams in Columbia County are the Susquehanna River, Fishing Creek, Briar Creek, Catawissa Creek, and Roaring Creek.[5]


Note: Only mountains higher than 1,500 feet (460 m) are listed
Name Height Image
Red Rock Mountain 2,365 feet (721 m)
Central Mountain 2,247 feet (685 m)
Chimneystack Rock 2,244 feet (684 m)
Buck Mountain 1,942 feet (592 m)
Catawissa Mountain 1,873 feet (571 m)
Big Mountain 1,811 feet (552 m)
Knob Mountain 1,752 feet (534 m)
Nescopeck Mountain 1,604 feet (489 m)
Lee Mountain 1,594 feet (486 m)
McCauley Mountain 1,571 feet (479 m)


Major highways

Columbia County is served by Pennsylvania Route 93, Pennsylvania Route 118, Pennsylvania Route 42, U.S. Route 11, Interstate 80, and several other state highways.[5]

Adjacent counties

State Park

Part of Ricketts Glen State Park is in the northern portion of Columbia County.[8]


As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 64,151 people, 24,915 households, and 16,568 families residing in the county. The population density was 132 people per square mile (51/km²). There were 27,733 housing units at an average density of 57 per square mile (22/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.59% White, 0.80% Black or African-American, 0.15% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. 0.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 33.2% were of German, 10.0% American, 9.4% Irish, 8.1% Italian, 6.7% Polish and 6.2% English ancestry.

There were 24,915 households out of which 27.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.80% were married couples living together, 8.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.50% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.80% under the age of 18, 14.30% from 18 to 24, 25.90% from 25 to 44, 23.10% from 45 to 64, and 15.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.80 males.

Metropolitan Statistical Area

The United States Office of Management and Budget[15] has designated Columbia County as the Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 U.S. Census[16] the metropolitan area ranked 20th most populous in the State of Pennsylvania and the 368th most populous in the United States with a population of 82,562. Columbia County is also a part of the larger Bloomsburg-Berwick-Sunbury, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which combines the populations of Columbia County as well as Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union Counties in Pennsylvania. The Combined Statistical Area ranked 8th in the State of Pennsylvania and 115th most populous in the United States with a population of 264,739.

Politics and government

As of November 2011, there are 41,026 registered voters in Columbia County.[17]

While the county registration tends to be evenly matched between Democrats and Republicans, the county trends Republican in statewide elections. While Bob Casey Jr. received 51% of its vote when he unseated incumbent Republican US Senator Rick Santorum and Ed Rendell received 50.6% of the vote against Lynn Swann.

For many years Columbia County was represented in the State House by a conservative Democrat in the 109th district until John Gordner changed parties to Republican in 2001. He was elected to the State Senate in 2003 and succeeded by Republican David R. Millard. Columbia is in the 27th Senate district and 11th Congressional district.

County commissioners

  • David Kovach, Democrat
  • Rich Ridgway, Republican
  • Chris Young, Republican

Other county officials

  • Chief Clerk, Gail Kipp, Democrat
  • Clerk of Courts and Prothonotary, Tami B. Kline, Republican
  • Coroner, Lori Masteller, Republican
  • Judge, Gary Norton, Republican
  • Recorder of Deeds and Register of Wills, Beverly Michael, Democrat
  • Sheriff, Tim Chamberlain, Democrat
  • Treasurer, Shirley Turner, Republican

State Senate

District Senator Party
27 John Gordner Republican

State House of Representatives

District Representative Party
107 Kurt Masser Republican
109 David R. Millard Republican
117 Karen Boback Republican

United States House of Representatives

District Representative Party
11 Lou Barletta Republican Party

United States Senate

Senator Party
Pat Toomey Republican
Bob Casey Democrat


Map of Columbia County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Colleges and universities

Public school districts

Technical school

Charter school

Private schools

  • Bald Hill School - Millville
  • Bloomsburg Christian School - Bloomsburg
  • Bloomsburg University Special Education Institute
  • Columbia Co Christian School - Bloomsburg
  • Greenwood Friends School - Millville
  • Heritage Christian Academy - Berwick
  • Holy Family Consolidate - Berwick
  • Keystone National High School - Bloomsburg
  • New Story - Berwick
  • Pennsylvania Institute For Conservation Education - Bloomsburg
  • Rainbow Hill School - Benton
  • St Columba School - Bloomsburg
  • Saint Matthews - Bloomsburg
  • Turkey Ridge School - Bloomsburg


  • Bloomsburg Public Library
  • Columbia County Traveling Library
  • McBride Memorial Library
  • Orangeville Public Library


Map of Columbia County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Towns and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

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




Census-designated places

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.

Unincorporated communities

See also


  1. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ Topographic Map Summit Features in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, retrieved June 26, 2014 
  7. ^ Topographic Map Ridge Features in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, retrieved December 14, 2014 
  8. ^,PA
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  12. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Voter registration statistics archives".  

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