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State of the County Economy: Butler County

According to data from the US Census Bureau, Butler County gained 4,026 residents or 2 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 gain may have occurred over the past two years.

The median age of the Butler County resident is 4.31which is higher than the state median age of 40.7. The percentage of residents with a high school degree or higher is 94.1 percent, which is higher than the Pennsylvania rate of 89.9 percent.

In Butler County, the median household income is $66,037, about 13.8 percent higher than the state median household income of $56,951. The poverty rate is 8.4 percent in the county, significantly below the poverty rate of 13.1 percent in Pennsylvania overall.

While median household income is higher in Butler 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 33% percent over the past several years. Workers in the shale gas industry earned $81,932 per year on average in 2016 before jumping to $108,702 in 2018.

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

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