Connellsville is a city in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA, 57 miles (92 km) southeast of Pittsburgh on the Youghiogheny River, a tributary of the Monongahela River. It is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. In 1890, 5,629 people lived in Connellsville, which was a borough at that time. 7,170 people lived in Connellsville in 1900; 12,845 in the new city of Connellsville in 1910; 13,804 in 1920; and 13,608 in 1940. The population was 9,146 at the 2000 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.1 km²), of which, 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (4.66%) is water.
There were 3,963 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,070, and the median income for a family was $28,105. Males had a median income of $28,942 versus $23,016 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,165. About 22.4% of families and 28.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.5% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.
Coal mining became big business in Connellsville during the later half of the nineteenth century, and the city became the center of the Connellsville coalfield. Heavy industry brought much wealth to the Fayette county region. However, such prosperity remained restricted to a wealthy elite. Many immigrants of Italian and Slavic origins worked the coal mines and coke ovens in a state of poverty.
Connellsville was the home of two prominent athletes of the first half of the 20th century: University of Notre Dame quarterback and 1947 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack and 1936 Olympic 800 meter gold medalist John Woodruff. Displays honoring the two star athletes can be found in Connellsville Area High School. Each year, a 5-kilometer road race is held in Connellsville to honor Woodruff.
As the coal industry faltered in the 1950s, a wave of deindustrialization affected Connellsville, removing the sources of wealth that had sustained it in the past and resulted in a decrease in the city's population. The city remains a railroad junction, and new sources of revenue are becoming available. Recently, modern sewage systems were extended beyond the city limits, providing a draw for large businesses. The city has also promoted its location along the Laurel Highlands as a tourist attraction.