Introduction to State College, Pennsylvania

State College is a Pennsylvania borough located in Centre County. It is home to the Pennsylvania State University, more often referred to as Penn State, whose influence is greatly felt in State College's economics, demographics, and history. Originally a village, then a township, State College developed around the university (then known as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania) in the mid-1800s. Incorporated as a borough in 1896, the town never really had a name, although several (including "McAllister," "Nittany" and "Irvin," all honoring prominent citizens) were considered. The designation of "State College" finally stuck and remains today.

State College, affectionately referred to as "Happy Valley," is located 42 miles northeast of Altoona, 86 miles northeast of Johnstown, and 90 miles northwest of Harrisburg. The city of Pittsburgh is 136 miles to the west and Philadelphia 193 miles to the east, placing State College roughly in the middle of the state's two most prominent cities. Because of this centralized location, sports rivalries between Pittsburgh teams and Philadelphia teams are most intensely felt here. State College is served by the following highways: Interstate 80, U.S. Route 220, U.S. Route 322, and Pennsylvania State Highways 26 and 45. One of the area's major employers is AccuWeather, the world's largest private weather forecasting service, which originated in State College and is still based there.

State College Points of Interest

There are several things to do and see in and near State College. Following is a partial list:

  • Shaver's Creek Environmental Center: Penn State's nature center, which features hiking trails, picnic areas, a Discovery Room (with snakes, turtles, etc), and a Raptor Center, with twenty birds of prey
  • Penn's Cave: America's only all-water cavern and wildlife park
  • Centre Furnace Mansion and Village: Restored and furnished to reflect the period of residency of ironmaster Moses Thompson and his family (1842 - 1891)
  • Frost Entomological Museum: Houses Penn State's insect and related arthropod collections
  • Matson Museum of Anthropology: Located on the Penn State campus
  • The Arboretum at Penn State
  • Palmer Museum of Art: A free-admission arts resource on the Penn State campus
  • The Pennsylvania Military Museum: Commemorates the men and women of all service branches from the early French and Indian War through more recent conflicts
  • Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum: Celebrates the significant contributions of railroaders to American life and industry
  • Mifflinburg Buggy Museum: An authentic original buggy-making shop with belting and pulleys, tools, machinery and forges
  • Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery

College football fans can stay right at home to see some of the finest teams in the country play the Penn State Nittany Lions, a perennial college football powerhouse. Baseball fans can enjoy the State College Spikes, a class-A (short season) Minor League Baseball team playing in the New York Penn League. The Spikes have been affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, but as of 2007 they will become a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate.

For the price of a short drive, baseball fans have other options too. Altoona, less than an hour away, is home to the Altoona Curve, a class-AA minor league affiliate of the Pirates. The city of Harrisburg, less than two hours away, is home to the Harrisburg Senators, a class-AA minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals.


Total Population 42,129
Male Share of the Population 53.5%
Female Share of the Population 46.5%
Senior Citizens 4.9%
Employed Population 16+ 16,273
Age of the Population 22


% of people married 14.8%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 68.8%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $73,276
% Above Poverty Level 52.7%
% Below Poverty Level 47.3%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 17 minutes
% Working from Home 2.6%
% Walking and Biking to Work 42.8%
% Using Public Transportation 10.2%


People Living Alone 36.7%
Median Gross Rent $967
Median House Value $277,100


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 16.3%
US/American 0%
English 5.8%
Irish 13%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

State College Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 97 miles NW of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (center to center)
Nearest Large City 114 miles E of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
County Centre
Metro Area State College
Standard Zip Codes 16801, 16802, 16803
P.O. Box Zip Codes 16804, 16805
Phone Area Codes 814
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.793
Longitude -77.86

State College Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 0.6 miles
Jan Temp 18 to 33 F
Apr Temp 38 to 58 F
Jul Temp 62 to 81 F
Oct Temp 41 to 60 F
Annual Precip 39.7 inches
Distance 21.2 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 36 F
Apr Temp 38 to 62 F
Jul Temp 61 to 84 F
Oct Temp 40 to 64 F
Annual Precip 40.8 inches
Distance 37.5 miles
Jan Temp 16 to 33 F
Apr Temp 35 to 59 F
Jul Temp 58 to 81 F
Oct Temp 37 to 62 F
Annual Precip 38.5 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, State College, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

University Park (16802)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Bellefonte 6,285 $58,070
Centre Hall 1,244 $61,979

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

State College Public Libraries

Schlow Memorial Library
State College, Pennsylvania
(814) 237-6236
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

State College Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(814) 231-7000
Emergency Service: Yes

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State College High Schools

Serves 2,664 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.9

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