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Thank you to the following organizations for their continued support of our research and this Data Dashboard, which is part of Project STIR (Sparking Transformation using Information & Research).

Moses Taylor Foundation
The Robert H. Spitz Foundation
Willary Foundation
Scranton Area Community Foundation
William G. McGowan Charitable Fund
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Civic Engagement

The Civic Engagement section of the report identifies important indicators in Lackawanna County, Luzerne County, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – including nonprofit organizations, library circulation, voter turnout, and veterans.

Nonprofits

The total number of not-for-profit organizations declined slightly in both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties and statewide in 2020. In both counties, the total number of nonprofits decreased to 2,073, and reached its lowest level in the past four years in Lackawanna County. The master file used for this analysis may have missing data on some organizations, so it is difficult to determine the degree to which the trend is driven by dissolution of existing nonprofits versus decreased reporting or other data quality issues.

 

Public charities comprise the majority of nonprofits in the region, accounting for 59 percent of charities in Lackawanna County and 56 percent in Luzerne County. These shares have remained relatively stable in both counties since 2017. Private foundations comprise a relatively small share of all nonprofits, continuing to account for five percent of Lackawanna County nonprofits and four percent of Luzerne County nonprofits.

 

Non-Profit Organizations by Activity Type

The region’s largest share of nonprofits is classified as human services, followed by public and social benefit. Although the number of organizations in these two categories declined regionally from 2019, they still account for nearly half the nonprofit organizations in the two counties.

 

Health organizations were the only type of nonprofit groups in both counties that have experienced growth in their number since 2017. The number of health nonprofits have increased by six percent in Lackawanna County and eight percent in Luzerne County. They account for 153 of the region’s total nonprofits – up from 143 in 2017.

 

All other nonprofit groups remained stable or declined slightly in number from 2017. Environmental groups experienced the largest decline of ten percent in Luzerne County, followed by Human services organizations with a six-percent decline. In Lackawanna County, Public and Social Benefit groups declined by five percent since 2017.

Total Non-Profit Organizations

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Lackawanna County Non-Profits by Category

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Luzerne County Non-Profits by Category

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Lackawanna County
Non-Profits by Activity Type

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Luzerne County
Non-Profits by Activity Type

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Library Circulation

The total number of libraries in Pennsylvania receiving state funding increased slightly in 2019 to 470 following a decline the previous year. The totals remained unchanged in both counties, holding stable at 19 public libraries in the two counties for the duration of the data analyzed. The number of registered patrons among statewide libraries has improved since 2017, however, it is three percent lower than in 2009. In Lackawanna County, the number of registered patrons has steadily declined with the exception of a slight uptick in 2015. Overall, registered patrons have declined 24 percent in the county since 2009, including a decrease of 5.3 percent in 2019. The number of registered patrons in Luzerne County increased dramatically in 2017 following a change in the reported total of registered patrons for the Osterhout Free Library. This may be due to a change in reporting methodology, and should not be compared to prior year totals.

 

The region’s libraries circulated over 1.5 million items in 2019. Although activity increased slightly in Lackawanna County from the previous year, total circulations have been declining historically, and are 25 percent lower than in 2009. In Luzerne County, activity has fluctuated over the timeframe analyzed, including a 23 percent decline in total circulations between 2017 and 2018. Since 2009, total circulations have declined 35 percent in the Luzerne County, with circulation per capita remaining at the lowest level of 1.67 across all years analyzed.

Library Circulation

Source: Pennsylvania State Library

Voter Participation

The number of registered voters on both the state and regional levels has followed a predictable and stable trend since 2000, rising significantly during presidential election years, and rising by smaller amounts during midterm federal election years. Registration often decreases following presidential elections.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic created logistical challenges to voter registration and in-person voting. Despite these challenges, the 2020 election resulted in record voter registration and participation both regionally and statewide. Between 2019 and 2020, voter registration increased six percent in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, and seven percent statewide. There was an increase of over 9,000 registered voters in Lackawanna County in 2020, reaching a total of more than 149,000 registered voters, which was on par with the 2012 election. The number of registered voters in Luzerne County increased by nearly 12,000 in 2020 to almost 221,000 registered voters – the highest point across all years analyzed. Since 2001, Luzerne County has shown stronger growth in voter registration, increasing 12 percent from 2001 to 2020, compared to one percent growth in Lackawanna County.

 

Voter turnout for the 2020 election reached historic levels, with at least seven in ten registered voters participating regionally and statewide. In Lackawanna County, 78 of registered voters participated, while 70 percent participated in Luzerne County. Across the Commonwealth, 76 percent of registered voters participated.

Voter Participation

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State, Lackawanna County Department of Elections

Veterans

The estimated number of veterans in Pennsylvania decreased in 2019 to seven percent of the population. Lackawanna County followed a similar trend, with the number of veterans decreasing from 7.7 percent to 7.5 percent of the population. After declining for several years, the number of veterans in Luzerne County increased in 2019, growing from 8.0 percent to 8.6 percent of the population. There are more than 34,000 veterans in the two-county region, and Luzerne County’s share is significantly higher than the Commonwealth’s share.

Veterans: Percent of Civilian Population 18+

Source: U.S. Census Bureau ACS 1-year estimates