In the 1877 Shamokin Uprising, starvation wages and miserable working conditions prompted railroad workers and miners to join the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. Vigilantes gathered by Mayor William Douty shot into a group of strikers, wounding twelve and killing two. Five strikers were jailed for up to eight months for their part in the uprising.
Thomas Edison, briefly a resident of Sunbury, established the Edison Illuminating Company of Shamokin in the fall of 1882. Operation of the Shamokin station (located at the current Independence Street site of Jones Hardware Company) on September 22, 1883, at which time St. Edward's Catholic Church became the first church in the world to have electric lighting.
The National Ticket Company, located in Shamokin from 1907 until 1992, was at one time the largest ticket company in the United States.
Edgewood park also known as Indian Park existed in Shamokin from 1905 through the late 1950s. It consisted of 97 acres including a large pond. The land where the park existed is now where the Shamokin area school district built the Elementary and High school.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,009 people, 3,742 households, and 2,028 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,601.9 people per square mile (3,725.7/km²). There were 4,674 housing units at an average density of 5,603.6/sq mi (2,174.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.84% White, 0.12% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.14% from other races, and 0.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.65% of the population.
There were 3,742 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.8% were non-families. 41.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 86.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,173, and the median income for a family was $30,038. Males had a median income of $28,261 versus $19,120 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,354. About 19.3% of families and 24.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.2% of those under age 18 and 21.3% of those age 65 or over.