Meadville is the county seat of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, United States. The city is generally considered part of the Pittsburgh Tri-State and is within 40 miles of Erie, Pennsylvania. It was the first permanent settlement in northwest Pennsylvania. The population was recorded as 13,685 in the 2000 census.
The neighboring Iroquois and Lenape befriended the isolated settlement, but their enemies, including the Wyandots, were not so amiable. The threat of their attacks caused the settlement to be evacuated for a time in 1791.
Around 1800, many of the settlers to the Meadville area came after receiving land bounties for service in the Revolutionary War. Allegheny College, the second oldest college west of the Allegheny Mountains, was founded in Meadville in 1815 and is the oldest college west of the Allegheny Mountains that has kept the same name from when it was founded. Meadville became an important transportation center after construction of the French Creek Feeder Canal in 1837 and of the Beaver and Erie Canal it connected to at Conneaut Lake and subsequent railroad development.
By the late 19th century, Meadville's economy was also driven by logging, agriculture, and iron production. The Talon Corporation, headquartered in Meadville, played a major role in the development of the zipper. Since the clothing industry was largely unaffected by the Great Depression, the community saw a population boom at that time. During World War II, the nearby Keystone Ordnance plant brought additional jobs to the area.
After the war, Meadville's industrial growth continued. Talon remained a major employer, along with the railroad industry, American Viscose (later known as Avtex Fibers), Channellock tools, and Dad's Pet Food. In the 1980s, the Great Lakes region saw a decline in heavy industry. By the early 1990s, Channellock and Dad's were the only large companies operating in Meadville. This blow to the local economy was softened by subsequent surge in light industry, mainly tool and die machine shops, earning Meadville the nickname Tool City, USA. The area has seen growth in the 1990s and 2000s.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.3 km²), all of it land.
There were 5,436 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.5% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.8% were non-families. 38.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the city the population was spread out with 19.4% under the age of 18, 20.0% from 18 to 24, 22.0% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 81.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,402, and the median income for a family was $38,227. Males had a median income of $32,813 versus $22,579 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,290. About 13.7% of families and 22.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.3% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.