Carbondale, Pennsylvania

Carbondale is a city in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, United States. Carbondale is located approximately 15 miles due NE of the city of Scranton in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The population was 9,804 at the 2000 census.

The land area that became Carbondale was developed by William and Maurice Wurts, the founders of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, during the rise of the anthracite coal mining industry in the early 1800s. Carbondale was the site of the first underground mine in the United States. It was also a major terminal of the Delaware and Hudson Rail Company.

Like many other cities and towns in the region, Carbondale has struggled with the demise of the once-prominent coal mining industry that propelled the region into a haven for Eastern European immigrants seeking work during the late 1800s and early 1900s.


Carbondale is located at (41.572082, -75.500820).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.4 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 9,804 people, 4,084 households, and 2,564 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,027.5 people per square mile (1,168.3/km²). There were 4,527 housing units at an average density of 1,398.0/sq mi (539.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.55% White, 0.23% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.25% from other races, and 0.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.24% of the population.

There were 4,084 households out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 22.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 83.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,574, and the median income for a family was $35,351. Males had a median income of $30,362 versus $21,922 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,914. About 9.2% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.6% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.

Recent history

Over the past few decades, Carbondale has seen its population plummet, due to several factors including urban sprawl with the advent of newer housing developments in neighboring Greenfield Township and Archbald, as well as a lower-than-average birth rate, higher-than-average population of senior citizens, and a flight of young, unemployed professionals to "greener pastures" in more urban areas of the country. Additionally, there is a growing problem of heroin use and other drug problems; one or two calls to the police station is commonplace. Also, there is a litter and vandalism problem in the city; much of the town's buildings, parks, roads, and residential areas are in disrepair or condemned. There are also may problems concerning the economic viability of the dying city.



U.S. Route 6 Business runs down Main Street, Carbondale, as the main highway through the city. Recently-completed after years of anticipation, the four-lane Robert P. Casey Memorial Highway U.S. Route 6 runs from Interstate 81 near Scranton north past Carbondale with interchanges outside, but close to, the city limits.


As the city responsible for the importation of America's first steam locomotive, the Stourbridge Lion in 1829, Carbondale was once a main terminus of the Delaware and Hudson Railway. It was also served by the Erie Railroad and the New York, Ontario and Western Railway.

Today Carbondale is served by the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority and its designated-operator Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad on a single remaining D&H mainline track running to Scranton.

Notable natives

Carbondale in popular culture

  • Carbondale was mentioned in "The Injury", an episode of NBC's television series The Office. "I got your pudding cups at a gas station in Carbondale", says the character Ryan Howard (played by actor B.J. Novak).
  • Carbondale holds an annual festival every summer called Pioneer Nights, in honor of Carbondale's nickname, "The Pioneer City". The festival features local bands, arts and crafts, carnival games, festival food, and a huge fireworks display.


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