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State of the County Economy: Beaver County

According to data from the US Census Bureau, Beaver County lost 5,797 residents or 3.5 percent of its population between 2010 and 2018 (the most recent year data was available). With the 2020 census approaching, trends suggest that additional population loss may have occurred over the past two years.

The median age of the Beaver County resident is 44.9 which is higher than the state median age of 40.7. The percentage of residents with a high school degree or higher is 92.7 percent, which is higher than the Pennsylvania rate of 89.9 percent.

In Beaver County, the median household income is $53,981, about 5.5 percent lower than the state median household income of $56,951. The poverty rate is 10.8 percent in the county, significantly below the poverty rate of 13.1 percent in Pennsylvania overall.

While median household income is lower in Beaver County than in other parts of Pennsylvania, those engaged in unconventional natural gas development earn much more. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual earnings for a worker engaged in major oil and gas services (NAICS Code 213112), which includes preparing wells for production, maintaining and enhancing the output of producing wells, and exploring wells, was $98,323 in 2018. Data was not available for other areas of oil and gas production.

Furthermore, wages in major oil and gas services has grown by about 17 percent over the past several years. Workers in the shale gas industry earned $63,136 per year on average in 2016 before jumping to $74,043 in 2018.

As the industry changes and works to overcome market headwinds, it is unclear if or how residents of Beaver County will be impacted.

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