1.2 Million PA Trees Lopped Down for Christmas

A fresh report from the Pennsylvania State Data Center reports that in 2007, the most recent year for which data is available, 1.2 million Christmas trees were harvested within the state.

The counties that contributed the most trees to the harvest? Carbon, Lycoming, Schuylkill, and our neighbor, York.

1.2 Million Christmas trees were cut down in PA in 2007.
1.2 Million Christmas trees were cut down in PA in 2007. (click photo to enlarge)

The upside? Since nearly all harvested Christmas trees come from tree farms, it’s likely that as many evergreen trees were planted in Pennsylvania in 2008.

Season’s Greetings from your favorite local-data-providing blog. Thanks for being a reader.

2010 Census Site Unveiled

The U.S. Census Bureau has launched a new website for the 2010 census, 2010.census.gov. According to reporting from USA Today:

Screenshot of 2010.census.govThe website launches an all-out marketing campaign to get people to fill out their Census questionnaires next April. The population is counted every 10 years, and the numbers are used to reapportion seats in Congress and redraw state and local political districts. They also are used to determine where more than $400 billion in federal money should go every year.

The government is bracing for a lower response rate to the questionnaires than in 2000, partly because of a larger and more diverse population. The website is available in Spanish, and sample questionnaires can be viewed in 59 languages.

This effort for Spanish-language inclusion is important to Lancaster city where, according to a December 2007 report from the county Workforce Investment Board, “it is very probably that [by the end of 2022], Latinos will surpass the White non-Latino population.” At the time of the report, 18% of Latinos in the county spoke English “not well or not at all.”

I’ll be following the census effort and the resulting data closely, so if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to receive this blog by e-mail, add the RSS feed to your reader, or bookmark the data and trends page.

Lancaster County births in 2008

According to preliminary reports [pdf] from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 7,229 babies were born in Lancaster County in 2008. Only Philadelphia County, Allegheny County, and Montgomery County had more. There were a total of 148,927 births in PA last year, which means that five percent of children born in Pennsylvania last year were born in Lancaster County. August was the month with the most births (677), which I suppose means parents were feeling both festive and pent-up in December 2007.

Here’s a snapshot of the trending of Lancaster County births since 1994.

Lancaster County, PA birth rate, 1994 through 2008
Lancaster County, PA birth rate, 1994 through 2008

Lancaster County population tops half a million

New data out today from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that Lancaster County’s population officially topped the half-million mark last year. The county grew by 4,415 between July 2007 and July 2008, bumping it from 497,955 residents in 2007 to 502,370 in 2008. The increase is 0.9 percent in one year.

From 2000 to 2008, Lancaster County has grown 6.7 percent. During that time period, Chester (13.4 percent) and York (11.2 percent) were the only Pennsylvania counties to grow faster.

Lancaster’s growth rate this decade has been higher than predicted. The Pennsylvania State Data Center projected Lancaster County’s 2010 population would be just 498,465. New data certainly calls into question the Data Center’s projections for Lancaster County in 2020 (pop. 526,194) and 2030 (pop. 553,293). Is it possible that the county will top 600,000 in the next decade?
Sources: The Pennsylvania State Data Center (pdf) and the U.S. Census Bureau