Washington hoped to develop the remainder of Perryopolis, drawing up plans for the streets to be laid out in the shape of a wagon-wheel. Washington's estate sold the land after his death; in 1814 Perryopolis, previously known as New Boston, was officially laid out using Washington's plans and named for Oliver Hazard Perry for his victory on Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
In the late 19th Century, the area around Perryopolis was first mined for coal. Until the 1950s, the coke and coal industries would be the area's primary economic activitiy. However, Perryopolis developed differently than other nearby mining towns. Instead of housing laborers, Perryopolis was mainly inhabited by foreman and white collar workers who were associated with the mining industry.
Perryopolis is the center of the Frazier School District.
There are 798 households out of which 22.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% are married couples living together, 9.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% are non-families. 33.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 20.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.21 and the average family size is 2.81.
In the borough the population is spread out with 17.7% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 24.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 45 years. For every 100 females there are 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 82.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough is $33,092, and the median income for a family is $43,676. Males have a median income of $34,667 versus $23,854 for females. The per capita income for the borough is $17,829. 6.8% of the population and 4.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 7.8% of those under the age of 18 and 5.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.