Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

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Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Introduction to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Wilkes-Barre is situated in Wyoming Valley in Luzerne County. It's located in Northeastern Pennsylvania near the Pocono Mountains and the Endless Mountains. The Susquehanna River runs through the valley. Planters Peanuts was founded in the city.


The original inhabitants were the Shawwanese and Delaware Indians. In 1769 John Durkee and his party were the first settlers to arrive. The town was named in tribute to John Wilkes and Isaac Barre, who were members of the British Parliament and offered support to colonial America. The original settlers were loyal to the state of Connecticut during a land dispute with the officials of Pennsylvania. The Pennamite Wars involved citizens of Pennsylvania attempting to force out the citizens of Wilkes-Barre. After the American Revolution ended it was decided that the settlers could retain ownership of their acreage by giving their allegiance to the state of Pennsylvania.

Hundreds of thousands of people arrived looking for work in mines after anthracite coal was discovered in the 1800's. Wilkes-Barre became known as the Diamond City. However the vast majority of the coal companies left after World War II was over.


  • The Frederick Stegmaier Mansion.
  • Luzerne County Museum.
  • Wyoming Monument.
  • The Lion Brewery features rustic architecture and provides tours.
  • Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre is one of the oldest community theaters in the country.
  • Nathan Denison House includes furniture and architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
  • Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University offers exhibits of regional, national as well as international artists.
  • F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Luzerne County Courthouse is an impressive structure and offers an illustrated history of the county with mosaics and murals.

Higher Education

Wilkes University, King's College, Misericordia University, Penn State Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County Community College are nearby.


The city is served by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Bus services are provided by the Luzerne County Transportation Authority.

Entertainment and Activities

The Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs offers casino gambling and features a harness racing track. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees baseball team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey team and the Wilkes-Barre /Scranton Pioneers arena football team are popular with the residents. The Pocono International Raceway is nearby. The Kirby Center for the Performing Arts is a popular venue. Residents and visitors enjoy music performed by the Wyoming Valley Band, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Choral Society.

For nightlife, the Cafe Metropolis offers noteworthy music concerts. The Penn State Wilkes-Barre Arts at Hayfield, Fine Arts Fiesta and the Hayfield Poetry Festival are popular events. Skiing and snow boarding opportunities are available at Montage Mountain. Golfing enthusiasts enjoy the beautiful Wilkes-Barre Golf Club. The Susquehanna River Watch Rails with Trails is a notable location for bicycle riding, horseback riding, walking and other activities.

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High Points

Wilkes Barre strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Pennsylvania):

Category Trophy
Low Property Crime
(vs. Peers)
Top 2% trophy Wilkes Barre Low Property Crime
Affordability of Rents
(vs. Peers)
Top 3% trophy Wilkes Barre Affordability of Rents
Low Violent Crime
(vs. Peers)
Top 4% trophy Wilkes Barre Low Violent Crime
Short Commute Times
(vs. State)
Top 11% Wilkes Barre Short Commute Times
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 14% Wilkes Barre Walking and Biking to Work
Racial Diversity
(vs. State)
Top 16% Wilkes Barre Racial Diversity

Comparative Profile of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Comparing Wilkes Barre to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Pennsylvania (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Senior Citizens 10 8
Age of the Population 9 5
Female Share of the Population 6 4
Male Share of the Population 5 7
Well-Paid Single Men 3 5
Racial Diversity 2 9
Children Under 5 Years Old 1 3


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Portion of People Married 1 1
Average Household Size 1 2


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
People Above Poverty 3 2
People in Middle Class or Better 2 2
Median Family Income 2 3
College Educated Adults 2 5

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 9 10
Short Commute Times 9 9
Public Transportation Use 6 8
Working at Home 2 4


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
People Living Alone 10 10
Affordability of Rents 10 7
Affordability of Property Taxes 9 8
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 8 9
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 4 5
Housing Recently Built 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Low Property Crime 10 9
Low Violent Crime 10 9

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Wilkes Barre Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 15 miles SW of Scranton, Pennsylvania (center to center)
Nearest Large City 95 miles W of Newark, New Jersey
County Luzerne
Metro Area Scranton - - Wilkes - Barre - - Hazleton
Standard Zip Codes 18701, 18702, 18704, 18705, 18706, 18707, 18708, 18709, 18711, 18764, 18765, 18766
P.O. Box Zip Codes 18703, 18710, 18773
Company Zip Codes 18762, 18767, 18769
Phone Area Codes 570
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.24
Longitude -75.87

Wilkes Barre Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 9.6 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 34 F
Apr Temp 38 to 59 F
Jul Temp 62 to 83 F
Oct Temp 42 to 61 F
Annual Precip 37.5 inches
Distance 33.2 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 38 F
Apr Temp 38 to 62 F
Jul Temp 62 to 87 F
Oct Temp 41 to 66 F
Annual Precip 43.9 inches
Distance 33.5 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 34 F
Apr Temp 35 to 59 F
Jul Temp 58 to 83 F
Oct Temp 37 to 63 F
Annual Precip 49.7 inches
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Wilkes Barre Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 43,123 100%
Male 20,799 48.2%
Female 22,324 51.8%
Under 18 8,574 19.9%
18+ 34,549 80.1%
65+ 8,884 20.6%
Median Age 38.8
Average Family Size 2.96
White 39,801 92.3%
African-American 2,193 5.1%
Asian 342 0.8%
American Indian & Alaskan 48 0.1%
Other 228 0.5%
Mixed Race 497 1.2%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 683 1.6%

Estimated Wilkes Barre Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 41,337
Growth -1,786
Growth % -4.1%

Wilkes Barre Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
Irish 18.7%
Polish 18.2%
German 12.9%
Italian 11.2%
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 8.2%
Slovak 4.6%
Welsh 3.9%
English 3.6%
US/American 3%
Lithuanian 2.9%
Russian 2.7%
Lebanese 1.2%
Ukrainian 1.1%
Dutch 0.9%
Pennsylvania German 0.9%
Syrian 0.8%
Scottish 0.6%
French (except Basque) 0.6%
Scotch-Irish 0.4%
Greek 0.4%
Swedish 0.3%
Hungarian 0.3%
Austrian 0.3%
African 0.3%
Portuguese 0.2%
European 0.2%
Zairian 0.2%
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Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Wilkes Barre 43,123 $36,630
Ashley 2,866 $37,266
Forty Fort 4,579 $50,667
Kingston 13,855 $45,578
Larksville 4,694 $41,211
Laurel Run 723 $40,455
Pringle 991 $43,750

Wilkes Barre Public Libraries

Osterhout Free Library
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
(570) 823-0156
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Wilkes Barre Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(570) 826-7300
Emergency Service: No

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(570) 826-3100
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(570) 283-7010
Emergency Service: No

Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center
1111 East End Blvd.
(570) 824-3521/(877)928-2621
Emergency Service:

Wal-mart in Wilkes Barre

(As of 2006)
2150 Wilkes Barre Twnsp Mktpl
(570) 821-6180
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Featured Colleges in the Wilkes Barre Area (QuickSchools™)

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Wilkes Barre High Schools (2004)

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 855 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.4

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Limit Results to One State?

City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Hazleton, Pennsylvania 89.1   37.4% 22.2% 11.5% 18 $37,093 5.1% 5.3% 23,329 14.2% 20.7 0.5% 1.3
2. Milton, Pennsylvania 87.4   32.6% 18.9% 13.9% 19 $38,438 5.9% 5.2% 6,650 13.5% 13.2 0.4% 1.5
3. Rome, New York 86.3   33.3% 17.2% 15.7% 19 $42,928 5.9% 12.1% 34,950 15% 20.1 0.2% 1.4
4. Williston, North Dakota 77.1   34% 16.8% 18.7% 14 $38,713 6.1% 6.3% 12,512 13.4% 18 0.5% 1.3
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